I've never been a fan of standard positive affirmations; my clients are always shocked when I tell them this. In fact, for some people, not only do affirmations not work, but they can also make things worse. I know this may be a little surprising after reading pretty much everywhere that if we just repeat positive things, our lives will turn to glitter and gold.
Affirmations are not bad, but we are all different, and affirmations work best when they are made specifically for each of us based on our needs.
Why Most Affirmations Backfire
The idea behind an affirmation, whether it's in the form of a verbal statement or visualization (which is really an affirmation, too), is that you are affirming positive thoughts or images—things with which you'd like to be in alignment. What often happens, though, when you focus on something positive that doesn't feel true to you in any sense is that the opposite thought or image comes up. This is common, and often subconscious. These are what I refer to as a "Yeah, but …" statement that automatically get triggered when something feels very far from your current reality or truth.
For example, let's take the affirmation, "I am in perfect health." While this is obviously a very positive statement, it is typical, if you are not feeling this way, to have an automatic internal response of, "Yeah, but I'm sick!" This may be conscious or subconscious response. In this case, along with that affirmation, you would actually be repeating (even if just at a subconscious level) the negative statement of, "I'm sick!" as many times a day as you repeat your affirmation. Yikes, right? It's most likely too far a reach from where you currently are, or you probably wouldn't even be trying to use an affirmation like this in the first place, right?
How You Can Create Affirmations That Work
During my own healing, I read so many positive healing affirmation books that ended up in a pile on the floor. While I liked the idea of them and every guru from here to the moon was professing they were the cure-all, the suggested affirmations being taught were just too "out there" and unattainable for me.
All hope is not lost, though. Affirmations will be very effective when they hold some type of truth or resonance for you. In order to make affirmations successful, we need a way to baby-step our way to believing what we are saying. We need to make sure we don't have those, "Yeah, buts…" that might end up sabotaging our efforts.
I'm going to each you exactly how to find affirmations that will work. Remember, if you repeat an affirmation such as, "I am perfect, happy, and healthy," but you are not feeling that way, it’s likely to backfire. However, you can make it work for you by revising that affirmation to something like, "I am excited to feel perfect, happy, and healthy." This statement is positive and could still feel true for you. There is no risk of accidental negative affirmations getting attached.
Examples of Effective Affirmations
You are probably familiar by now with the standard affirmations out there. Now, I'm going to share some alternatives to those. Here are some great examples of effective affirmations that may be more effective for you:
- I am willing to believe in my ability to create healing and happiness.
- I allow myself to believe I deserve to heal.
- I allow myself to believe I can be content in this moment.
- I allow my body to become an environment for health and healing.
- I am able to process, metabolize, and release all emotions that do not serve me.
- It is time to heal!
- I choose to be in alignment with my body's way of healing.
- I am able to see the good in myself.
- My health is moving in the right direction.
- I have everything I need.
Affirmations like these are not likely to cause an unintended opposite reaction, because they are subtle. As you feel better about yourself, and your health, you can continue to revise them so they are more and more positive, as long as they still resonate with you.
Quick Tips For Creating Effective Affirmations
Making your own affirmations can be very effective, and also fun! The key is to create affirmations that feel good to you. These affirmations will ideally be something that feels possible for you—maybe not in the moment, but in the near future. It is best when it's something you can relate to, understand, and appreciate the importance of in relationship to your own journey. Some helpful tips for creating effective affirmations are: <ul
- Use words like "choose," "time," "allow," and "willing" so they imply a decision made by you (it's very hard to resist our own decisions).
- Make sure they are believable to you at some level.
- Make sure you use only positive words—no words with negative connotations (like illness, stress, etc.).
- You can write them on a sticky note and tape them to your bathroom mirror, jot them down in a journal, or put them in another obvious place so you are reminded to say them every time you see them.
When and How To Use Affirmations
There are no rules for when, how, or how often to say them. For clients who want to use affirmations, I typically recommend saying them a few times a day on a regular basis and tied in with daily routines. For example, when you brush your teeth in the morning and at night. You might say each affirmation a couple of times before or after that activity. When you state the affirmation, state it "loud and proud!" Put some emphasis on it and try to get energetic about feeling that way. This will help activate the emotion behind it, which will help you more easily manifest it.
Now that you understand the components of a really effective affirmation, you can revise affirmations that you already use to be more specific to you. Or, even better, have fun creating your very own that you love!