The Collins English Dictionary defines affirmation as: A statement of the truth of something; assertion. Affirmations are a powerful ingredient in positive thinking. They are not statements that you wish to be true; they are statements that you must believe are true. Affirmations are positive statements describing a desired condition in your life. That condition may not yet exist, but the affirmation is spoken as though it does. A simple example might be: I am at peace with my life. This is repeated several times on a daily basis, out loud or mentally, the aim being to program the subconscious mind into producing the desired outcome. They must be sincerely felt, and spoken in the present tense with conviction and enthusiasm. We carry out such mental programming every day whether we know it or not; the trick is to make this programming conscious and positive. The alternative is to be unaware that we are issuing negative affirmations to ourselves. If you have ever made a mistake and muttered I am such an idiot, you have given yourself a negative affirmation. The problem is that any negative affirmation you give enters your subconscious mind and has a harmful effect it creates your reality. Positive thinking as a popular psychology can be traced back to 1937, with Napoleon Hills bestselling Think and Grow Rich. This book remains important today, although there have been countless similar guides written in the years since on the subject of positive thinking for personal success. Many books on positive thinking, like Think and Grow Rich, focus mainly on the financial benefits to be gained from altering your thoughts. The reason for this is obvious: it taps into the desire of so many people to become wealthy. Whilst this may be geared to capturing the public imagination, it may also give doubters and newcomers the wrong impression. People buy these books expecting some incredible revelation, and do not expect to be told that all they have to do is start thinking positively. The answer is so simple it is easy to dismiss it, but simple does not always mean easy. Reprogramming a mind that has suffered negative thoughts and affirmations for years can be tough. Despite the plethora of Think and Grow Rich-type books, positive thinking is infinitely more than trying to make yourself rich. The people most likely to get rich off such financially-oriented books on positive thinking are the authors. The rest of us can be left feeling a little cheated, and therefore disillusioned with the whole notion. This is a great shame, because positive thinking has the power to transform your life, and affirmations are the cornerstone of beginning and maintaining this successful transformation.
Positive affirmations are made because you want to achieve something. That may be more money, a new car, a bigger house, a better job, more success, or, on a more personal level, love, health, happiness or peace. We all have such desires we would be strange if we didnt. But these outcomes can sometimes seem so far beyond our grasp that we do not really dare to think that they could be ours for the asking. Instead, we focus on how far away from our desired outcomes we are, and negative affirmations become our mantra. We desire to be wealthy, so we think: Im never going to be rich. We want that promotion, so we think: Its bound to go to someone else. We want love in our life, so we think: No ones going to love me.
We are thinking about the things we want, but from a negative perspective. If this is true, then there should be no doubt as to why it is a good idea to flip the coin and start talking positively. It is not as though we are being forced to start doing something we arent doing already, or that is in any way laborious. How much effort does it take to say one sentence to yourself? And wouldnt it be nice to speak to yourself in positive terms for a change? You will doubtless have heard this saying in the past. In full, it says: Be careful what you wish for; you may just get it. This may appear an odd saying, because who in their right mind would wish for negative things to happen? Unfortunately, too many of us are thinking negative thoughts every day. Look at the examples above how it is so easy to have a positive desire that is expressed in a negative way. Take the example of your desire for a promotion. Instead of repeating to yourself: The promotion is mine, you think: Its bound to go to someone else. Perhaps this is a means of protecting yourself from disappointment, but what you are actually doing is repeating a negative affirmation. Your subconscious is receiving the message that you will not be promoted, and it interprets this as an order. You may think that your subconscious cannot affect the decision made by your boss, but your negativity comes through loud and clear. Your boss may be looking at you and feel reluctant to promote you because they sense you are not the positive person they want in a position of increased power. So you fail to win the promotion largely because you have been thinking you wont, and your boss has picked up on something negative that they dont like. Although you didnt actually wish that you would fail, you helped make it happen because failure was the dominant thought in your mind. The above saying may speak of wishes, but it more correctly refers to thoughts that are uppermost in your mind for the majority of the time. In other words: Be careful what you think of; you may just get it. The results that are manifested in your life can be directly affected by the thoughts in your head, and the affirmations you give to yourself.
Another good reason to create positive affirmations for yourself is because it is so simple to do. As already mentioned, that does not mean it is necessarily an easy process to carry out which will be dealt with in the next chapter but it is certainly a simple process to understand. In positive thinking, your mental attitude is often referred to as a coin. Its an apt description. You have two forms of mental attitude: a positive mental attitude (PMA), and a negative mental attitude (NMA). Just like the heads and tails of a coin. And just like a coin, it can be flipped very easily and it will never come to rest on its edge. This means there is no third option of a neutral mental attitude. It is either positive or it is negative. When something is so easy to understand, there is very little reason to simply stare at your coin and leave it lying there with its NMA side upwards. Whenever you notice that you are feeling negative, or you catch yourself making a negative comment to yourself, make a conscious effort to flip the coin to its PMA side, and counter the negative thought with a positive affirmation. As wonderfully complex as your mind is, it does not have the capability to focus on more than one thought at any one time. If you are thinking a negative thought, you can instantly dismiss it by bringing a positive thought to mind.