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Affirmations – Why They Work

by Dee Harris

   I’m a strong believer in affirmations.  The affirmation I made up in morning meditation when I was in a 28-day alcohol treatment program I would have never thought I would still be saying today, and so grateful to have something positive coming out of my mouth about myself until I could finally believe it in myself.


   So just what is an affirmation?  An affirmation is a positive statement used for emotional support or encouragement.  And if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk as we are at negative self-talk, we shall notice an enormous change.  I  know I did.

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  Our brain filters out what matters to us based on our goals, needs, interests and desires.  When you say an affirmation over and over again, a couple of things happen. One is that it sends a very clear message to your brain that this is important to you. When you do that, it gets busy noticing ways to help you achieve your goals.


   The other way affirmations work is that they create a dynamic tension in our beings. If what I am saying is at a higher vibration that what I perceive the truth to be, the dynamic tension is uncomfortable.  A painful incongruence is felt between what I perceive the truth to be and what I am saying. Since this is uncomfortable, we want to rid ourselves of the tension. There are only two ways to do that: one is to stop saying the affirmation; the other is to raise the bar on reality by making the affirmation and reality match.

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   So what makes an effective affirmation? First, determine what kind of transformation you want to bring about in yourself—a goal or intention.  Second, if it fits, add an emotion to the mix or a word that qualities the statement. For instance, I am joyfully at my ideal weight of 125. Or, I’m happily living in my own home.  Third, make it positive vs. negative: “I am healthy and fit” rather than “I am no longer fat.”   


   Some say it takes 21 days of repetition for an affirmation to make its mark on your psyche, so aim to keep your affirmation going for at least a month. Our Censors loathe anything that sounds like real self-worth.  They immediately start up with the imposter routine:  “Who do you think you are?”

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   So just try picking an affirmation.  Write it 10 times in a row.  While you are busy doing that, something very interesting will happen.  Your Censor will start to object.  “Hey, wait a minute.  You can’t say all that positive stuff around me.”   


   Listen to the objections.  You will be amazed at the rotten things your subconscious will blurt out.  Write them down.  These blurts flag your personal negative core beliefs.  They hold the key to your freedom in their ugly little claws.

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   So list your personal blurts.  Where do they come from?  Mom?  Dad?  Teachers?  One effective way to locate the sources is to time-travel.  Once you bring your monsters up from the depths, you could begin to work with them.  Each one of your blurts must be  dissolved.

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   My personal affirmation I came up with in rehab was, “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  Take it from me, when I made this up I felt anything but good or whole.  I loathed and hated myself for the predicament I had put myself in and for being weak and lacking self-control.     


   As I started my life in recovery with the new knowledge about alcoholism I had learned in rehab and the suggestions given me in AA, I still felt so uncomfortable in my skin.  I didn’t know how to live without drinking; my life revolved around drinking up to this point.  Every holiday, every event, everyday getting off work had drinking involved.  But one day at a time I started to gain a bit of clarity.  I was amazed to have not picked up a drink that day when I had tried every way possible which seemed like forever to go just one day without drinking.  I couldn’t do it.

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   “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  Everyday.  Along with making up a Power Greater Than Myself over to whom I could turn my will and my life, I worked the 12 Steps of AA with a trusted sponsor and got to uncover where my ugly negative blurts  came from.    

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   So now come up with an affirmation that negates a blurt.  Positive affirmations may feel very uncomfortable at first, but they will rapidly allow you a new freedom once you  begin to believe in yourself.

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   Thank you for being on my journey with me.  I look forward to being part of yours, so please contact me anytime so that we can be the best we can be…anytime…all the  time…at this very moment!

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With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

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The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

Affirmations: Why They Work & How to Use Them, by Eve Hogan