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Positive Affirmations - Do They Really Work?

Aug 17, 2007
I will explain why positive affirmations work for some people sometimes, and why it doesn't for some other people, some other times. I will also introduce a powerful new alternative twist to positive affirmations that works - almost as instantaneously or quicker than what mere repetition of traditional positive affirmations can do for you.

The Missing Link in Positive Affirmations.

It happens almost every time, to almost every person who has at least tried a positive affirmations technique before.

You repeat to yourself, over and over again, "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better".

Or maybe, if you're looking to lose weight (I'm looking to gain weight. Wait till you see how small my body is), you try this affirmation, "I am getting thinner every day".

Or even worse, this, "I am a thin and beautiful person". No, you don't want to! Believe me! Alright, weight-loss is not the topic of this article. Let me get to the point.

What do you see in common with the 3 examples of positive affirmations above?

ONE: These positive affirmations are extremely vague, abstract.

The statements you see above, which most of you (who are into the positive affirmations thing) repeat to yourself every day, have no specific, tangible value attached to it to make it progress-oriented.

Just look at the first one (invented by Emile Coue), "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better". Getting better and better at what? Fooling yourself? Messing yourself up? Sorry, friend, "... in every way ...", to your notorious subconscious mind may include the two negative things mentioned earlier.

Or the "I am getting thinner every day" affirmation. Thinner in what way? In bone size? In brain matter size? The word "thinner" itself subliminally suggests lack, which is the opposite of abundance.

To make your positive affirmations more effective, you need a specific, tangible value to it. Such as, "Every day, in every positive beneficial area of my life, I am increasing my effectiveness, productivity and efficiency by 1%". 1% improvement may be small, but it is workable.

But this is only one stage of the journey. As you read on, you will witness the evolution of this positive affirmation.

TWO: These positive affirmations are expressing something which is far from the truth right now.

Let's say you have acne. I have acne. I still have after I've tried numerous prescriptions, from Proactiv to Oxy to what-have-yous. But fortunately, my condition is improving.

But let's say you have really bad acne, like I once did when I was 15. Really, really bad acne. Scars, blackheads, whiteheads, red spots, rough, dry, itchy skin, with oily patches. Eugh... Sorry, I just had to implant the image into your mind to make you understand better.

And since you want to try this positive affirmations thingy, you say to yourself, "I have a clean and clear skin", or "My skin is becoming cleaner and clearer every day".

Now try saying that straight-faced to your friend... (Beat) I rest my case.

What's wrong with these affirmations?

Number one, "I have a clean and clear skin" is one heck of an outright, outrageous, big, fat, ugly lie to say to yourself if you really have that bad case of acne described above!

And who is any worse to lie to than your good, old, beloved Self?

Number two, if you're just going to stop at affirmations, and not do anything about your condition, you're obviously not going to get anywhere!

What's the missing ingredient here? Action. Which is what I'll address in point number...

THREE: These positive affirmations are not action-oriented.

Every great achievement that has ever been accomplished in this world has been accomplished by action. Don't go believing in the New Age "Zen"-ish "Go with the Flow" concept - even that requires action.

If you want to "go with the flow", isn't that an action in itself? "GO" is an action, isn't it?

What's the use if you only stop at dreaming (or the more constructive form, Creative Visualization), or doing positive affirmations, and not do anything to attain your desires?

Besides making your positive affirmations specific and more "truthful", you can add an action-oriented dimension to it by suggesting what you're going to do to get your desired results and affirming that you're doing it well.

This may seem like making an initially short and simple affirmation into a prolonged and complicated one. You can break that one affirmation into many, if you like.

For instance, if you wish to gain weight, you'd say, "Every day, in every way, I am taking proactive steps towards achieving my ideal, healthy weight in a motivated and effective manner".

The difference between "I am at my ideal weight" or "I am gaining weight every day" and the above is that the previous two do not deal with what you're going to do to achieve your ideal weight and with the current reality (I'm all skin and bones) while the latter tells your subconscious mind everything (almost) it needs to know.

FOUR: These positive affirmations are not "Editor-Proof".

What I mean by the Editor in "Editor-Proof" is the little voice in your head that you sometimes - no, constantly - hear.

You say, "I am getting better every day". Your Editor says, "Yeah, right."

You affirm to yourself, "I am opening myself to wealth and abundance around me". Your Editor retaliates with, "What are you going to do about it?"

These kinds of attacks can weaken the power of your positive affirmations if they're not made "Editor-Proof".

Sometimes, your Editor can come up with a "pre-emptive strike" (ring a bell?) in the forms of negative self-statements like, "I'm a good for nothing. Nothing I can do to improve my condition will work anyway, so why bother?" or "I've failed many times before, I'll surely fail again. I should just move on".

While this Editor may be useful in some ways sometimes, like pulling you back to reality after a bout of unconstructive fantasising, you can reduce its hold over you if you want to get something out of your positive affirmations.

First, see your Editor as a friend, not your enemy. Albeit, a mere good friend, but not certainly your BEST friend. Approach your Editor as you would approach someone you're not afraid of, someone you can easily deal with and influence, not an authoritarian figure.

Second, try to listen to what your Editor says in rebuttal to your positive statements. Write them down and think of re-writing your affirmations to evade the Editor.

A good way to do this, that is, to evade the Editor is to turn your positive affirmations into questions.

For example, if you are affirming, "I am at my ideal weight", turn it into a couple of constructive, effective questions like:

"Why is it important that I must be at my ideal weight?"

"How can I achieve my ideal weight?"

"What must I do to achieve my ideal weight?"

"What would it be like, feel like, when I have achieved my ideal weight?"

Questions tend to shift your mind's attention away from the possible blocks to your goals and focus instead on what proactive steps to do to achieve it.

Questions are like swords (because of their sharp, focused nature) to help you defend yourself against the Editor's attacks.

FIVE: These positive affirmations do not address what I call the "3-Person Subconscious Truth-Verifier" concept.

The 3-Person Subconscious Truth-Verifier is simply stating your affirmations in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person all at once.

Instead of just, "Every day, in every positive beneficial area of my life, I am increasing my effectiveness, productivity and efficiency by 1%", you can also state -

"Every day, in every positive beneficial area of your life, you are increasing your effectiveness, productivity and efficiency by 1%", and -

"Every day, in every positive beneficial area of his (or you can place your name here) life, he is increasing his effectiveness, productivity and efficiency by 1%"

What this does is to attack the problem 3-fold.

One, when you state the affirmation in the 1st person, you are affirming something which you yourself know to be true.

Two, when you state the affirmation in the 2nd person, you are feeding that part of your mind which needs outside opinion to help form what you see yourself as. A part of us needs someone to verify our worth, to praise us, to confirm outside what we believe inside. This helps to fill that need.

Three, when you state the affirmation in the 3rd person, you are also still feeding that need mentioned above, but taken to another level. This time, it's as if we are eavesdropping on other people's opinions about us.

It's a little tricky to explain. But this is the best attempt I can come up with. All you have to do is try it!

Hence, these 5 points form the missing link in positive affirmations. Next, let me introduce a powerful new alternative twist to positive affirmations that will work wonders for you.

A Powerful New Alternative Twist to Positive Affirmations.

As I've explained above, one of the major obstructions to the effectiveness of positive affirmations is the Editor which constantly rebuts you with negative or sceptical statements.

To evade the Editor's attacks, one can turn to questions. Why questions? That is a good question.

Questions are the laser of your mind. They help you focus, keep your mind's attention on one and only one thing - the answer.

It was Einstein who said that if he were to be killed, and had only 1 hour to figure out how to save his own life, he would devote 55 minutes into finding the right question. Then, he said, finding the answer would only take 5 minutes.

Even self-help guru Anthony Robbins described about the power of questions in affecting our lives.

But still, I haven't answered the question of how and why questions can evade the Editor and help bring about the transformation that positive affirmations are supposed to effect.

You see, what we focus on, consistently, and attach importance and energy to (whether willingly or not), we get.

And since questions that are constructive, goal-oriented, proactive, and hence, effective shift our focus from the problem that the Editor may pose to the solution, we get the results of that solution.

It doesn't matter whether or not we immediately know the solution to our question. Our subconscious minds will surely find a way, if you pose the question to it clearly enough.

Like I said above, a question that is sharp and precise enough is like a sword that will cut through the depths of your subconscious mind right to the core, wherein lies your answer.

Compare this to the loosely crafted positive affirmations that do not address the 5 missing links above. Before these affirmations can reach deep enough inside the subconscious mind, they're attacked, stripped, torn apart by the malicious negative statements of the Editor.

Alright, here's how you go about the Effective Questioning technique.

One, consider those 5 missing links written above before you create your affirmation.

Two, create your affirmation. It must be:

- As specific as possible,

- As close to the truth as possible,

- Action-oriented,

- Editor-Proof,

- Stated in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd persons simultaneously.

Three, using only the affirmation stated in the 1st person, turn it into a question.

- Make a "Why" question from it. A "Why" question confirms your purpose, your reason, the motivating reason why you must have this outcome you want.

- A "How" question focuses your mind on the course of action you need to take to achieve that outcome. It focuses on the solutions.

- A "What if" question engages your imagination to foresee the benefits you'll gain from the achievement of your outcome. This question focuses you on the goal.

- Once you've prepared the 3 "I-You-He/She/Your Name" affirmation statements as well as the 3 "Why-How-What if" questions by writing them down on paper, you can put them to good use by either writing them down 15 times a day or repeating them to yourself while in a relaxed, alert state.

I urge you to really take some time each day, with a pen and paper in hand, and try this method. If possible, record any noticeable changes in your thinking, in your moods, in your behaviours and even in your life.

Because if you mould your thoughts, you will surely most effectively mould your life as well. It's a ripple effect.
About the Author
Mohamad Latiff is the Author of the Ultimate Secrets of Success Blog where you can learn 40 of the Most Zealously-Guarded Ultimate Success Secrets of all Time.
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