“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it people like me.” – Stuart Smalley

When someone mentions affirmations, the first thing I think about is Al Franken’s emotionally fragile character Stuart Smalley, on Saturday Night Live. Although Franken’s character is hilarious, the stigma it helped perpetuate towards those who use affirmations, has not been very positive. Not because affirmations don’t work, but because people associate it with being – well….emotionally fragile. These days, with authors such as Louise Hay and many others, affirmations have made a comeback and you’ll find a section dedicated to the practice in many self-help books.

Affirmations are important, because what we say to ourselves/our self-talk, is indicative of the way we feel about ourselves.

Have you ever stopped to think about how many thoughts run through your mind on a daily basis? Would it surprise you if the number was ten thousand – or more?

A better question would be, what are the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself that pop up automatically? When you walk past a mirror do you say, “Ewwww, you’re so gross? Or,” I hate that?” Or do you refuse to even look at yourself? What about when you say or do something you think is stupid or wrong? What thoughts are rushing to your brain?

We can tell our core beliefs about ourselves pretty quickly when we monitor our thoughts. One of my favorite Wayne Dyer quotes is, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” And he’s 100% right.  Affirmations are the perfect starting place for people who are on the journey toward radical self-love, who have developed harmful and untrue beliefs about themselves and their abilities.

An affirmation is an assertion that we make to ourselves that something is true. It’s a statement that we repeat to ourselves in the hopes that we will stop participating in negative thought patterns and instead create positive ones, much the same way a hypnotist uses suggestion to send a message to their patient’s subconscious mind.

For an affirmation to work effectively it has to be 1. Repeated frequently. 2. Be in the present tense. 3. Specific to your goal and positive.

The purpose of affirmations is to stop those seemingly automatic negative thoughts from appearing in our minds and to create new thoughts – new pathways that lead to new ways of thinking.  As you continue to repeat these positive words your mind begins to absorb them – the more repetition we have, the stronger the neural pathway gets. The stronger and more frequently we use a positive thought, the stronger it becomes and because we are not using the contrasting negative pathway, it begins to diminish and when we stop using it, it begins to dismantle altogether and then those positive thoughts become our automatic response, instead of the negative ones we’ve been using in the past.

“It is impossible to really love yourself unless you have self-approval and self-acceptance.” -Louise Hay

The Mirror Technique

I have a friend that oozes confidence. Not feigned confidence, but real honest to God confidence. He oozes it so much that people notice, in a good way. It just sort of radiates out of him and people just sort of gravitate to him, both women and men. Sure he’s attractive enough; he’s always the life of the party, never lacking for company, always got a smile on his face and quick with a joke. His personality fills a room and he knows it. I often bounce thoughts and ideas off of him, because his attitude is always positive and to me he is the epitome of what a healthy self-esteem looks like. Even when things don’t go his way, which is rare, he never gets too down and a minute later he’s his happy old self again. So I asked him what his self-talk was like. He gave me a sideways glance and after I explained what it was, he said, “I always say good things to myself. When I come out of the shower and I pass the big mirror in my room, I do the Captain Morgan pose and I always say, look at you, you sexy son of a bitch.” I had to laugh, but I could really see him doing it. But it was proof positive that without even knowing it, my friend was doing mirror techniques that further strengthened his positive beliefs about himself.

Quite simply the mirror technique is getting in front of a mirror, a good mirror where you have a good close up view of your eyes and simply repeating positive versus to ourselves several times per day. For many it is very difficult to look at themselves, let alone say nice things.  It  may seem like a lie at first, but if you try and you keep trying, it will get easier and you will start to feel good about yourself. Consistent repetition is the key to creating and strengthening those neural pathways.

Affirmations by Louise Hay from You Can Heal Your Life

I move forward free from the past. I am safe. I am free.

I create only peace and harmony in myself and my environment. I deserve to feel good.

I lovingly forgive and release the past. I chose to fill my world with joy. I love and approve of myelf.

I create only joyful experiences in my loving world.

I now choose to create a life that is joyous and abundant. I am at ease

Life is eternal and filled with joy. I look forward to every moment.

I am one with all life. The Universe totally supports me. All is well.

I love and approve of myself. No person place or thing has any power over me. I am free.

The Relaxation Technique

The relaxation technique is simply getting yourself into a comfortable state of relaxation and listening to all the positive messages that are coming at us. Ideally we want to be in the Theta wave frequency, which is the state just before we fall asleep. As a hypnotist I favor this technique, because it is given when our subconscious mind is the most susceptible to positive suggestions.  It’s easy and simple to do, with little effort. Affirmations just feel good. They put us in a good mood. They make us feel hopeful and optimistic. The one drawback is that for some reason people just don’t do it, they may feel silly, or think it won’t help, so I’ve recorded a very short video on affirmations, which is now up on Youtube, to make it easy for everyone, so get comfortable, relax and get ready to feel good.

In the infinity of life where I am

all is perfect, whole and complete.

I am one with the power that created me.

I am totally open and receptive to the abundant flow of prosperity

that the Universe offers.

All of my needs are met before I even ask.

I am divinely guided and protected,

and I make choices that are beneficial for me.

I rejoice in other’s successes because I know there is plenty for us all.

I am increasing my conscious awareness of abundance,

and this reflects in a constantly increasing income.

My good comes from everywhere and everyone.

All is well in my world.

-Louise Hay

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Written by Savannah Grey

Savannah Grey is a Freelance Writer, a Hypnotherapist, Consultant, Sports Fanatic, and Philosopher and has a degree in Psychology. She is the founder of www.esteemology.com, a website dedicated to educating and healing survivors of abusive relationships.