Arachnae's Metaphysics

Why do Affirmations Work?

Affirmations are easy to lampoon. Many people's first exposure to affirmations was Al Franken's Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley, chirping "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it - People LIKE me!"

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror and telling yourself you're healthy, wealthy and/or happy may seem ridiculous to some - surely just saying something over and over doesn't make it so. Can it really work?

No one denies negative affirmations work

Everyone has heard that a parent can damage a child by continually telling them they're stupid, lazy, worthless or ugly. If you hear negative things about yourself from someone you love and trust, of course you start to believe them. Undoing the damage of these early messages keep any number of psychiatrists in business.

So why is it so hard to believe that positive affirmations can work as well?

It's just programming

Many affirmations are simply people's attempts to undo the early negative programming that is effecting their lives. "I am so pretty!" or "I'm important to people who matter" is just one way of trying to overcome the effects of bad programming.

But often, people set themselves up to fail by how they use affirmations.

Positive, present-tense statements

For affirmations to be effective, they must be couched in positive language, and in the present-tense, even if the present-tense statement is not yet true. It's easy for negative language to creep in, so write your potential affirmation down and study it to make sure you don't have a hidden negative in there.

"I'm losing weight" - the verb is 'lose', which is a negative. Change to "I'm increasing muscle mass" or "my stamina and endurance is increasing every day" or "I'm gaining healthy eating habits."

"I don't crave chocolate" - the verb is 'crave' and 'crave chocolate' is what your mind is going to latch on to. Change to "I crave fresh fruit and crunchy veggies."

Good affirmations:

  • "I am energetic and productive."
  • "My work is admired by everyone who sees it."
  • "I am a good friend and a wonderful parent."
  • "I am surrounded by people who love me."

Select the affirmation(s) you want to concentrate on. Write them down and keep them near you. Say them, either silently or aloud, several times in the morning. Repeat them before you go to sleep. Chant them while alone driving in your car. You may find yourself 'arguing' with your affirmations. "I am surrounded by people who love me... oh yeah? then why do those kids sass me back every chance they get?" and so on. Silence your inner critic by saying your affirmation louder. Shout it if you have to, to get the critic that lives inside all of us to shut up.

You can change your life by changing your attitude about yourself. But what about changing your place in the universe? That's the subject of my next article: Affirmations for Wealth and other Tangible Things.