Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How to Create Your Own Affirmations, in 12 Easy Steps:

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Louise Hay, author of the groundbreaking book, You Can Heal Your Life. When I picked up her book in 1994, she showed me what a powerful tool my mind is, and how that power can be harnessed for good or ill. Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way also showed me how important it is to clear out our mental blocks in order to achieve our full human potential.

I have been creating my own personalized affirmations for nearly 15 years, and have found this to be an amazingly effective process for transforming your health and life, and want to share it with everyone. Here’s how:

Everything we do, we do by choice. What we put into our bodies, with whom we maintain relationships, and how we spend each day, are all up to us. Sometimes, however, our choices are made subconsciously, and sometimes those choices are based on fear, anger, pain, and negative past experiences, which have created negative beliefs about ourselves, others, or life itself. A common underlying belief, for example, is “I don’t deserve it (anything positive).” Others are “life’s not fair” or “that will never work.” These beliefs shape the choices we make.

Emotions also shape our choices. Fear, especially – fear of success, fear of failure, fear of making a mistake – can paralyze us and prevent us from making any choice at all. Once we become aware of what our negative emotions and beliefs are – our “negative self-talk” – we gain the power to change them. Transforming negative beliefs and feelings by counteracting them with affirmations frees us to make new, healthier choices. This freedom has the power to transform our health and our lives in a positive way. Self-awareness of the motives behind our choices, and a sincere willingness to change, make anything possible.

What would you like to change about yourself? How would you like to be healthier? Identify the health condition or behavior you are trying to change – for example, “I want to be free of pain,” or “I want to stop eating junk food” – and write it clearly at the top of a page. The most effective affirmations are those you create yourself, customized to directly counteract your negative self-talk. Here’s how to create your own powerful, healing affirmations:

1) On a left-hand page of a notebook, write out all of your negative beliefs surrounding the behavior you want to change. You might declare aloud, “I am _________ (what you want to become)” and notice what negative thoughts and emotions appear in your mind. For example, if I said, “I am perfectly healthy,” my mind would shout, “I’m a mess! I’m sick all the time! I am totally unhealthy! I hate myself.” Write all that mind-garbage down.

2) Enter a state of relaxation, using meditation or yoga techniques if you know them. Or simply close your eyes for a few minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, and relax all the parts of your body, one by one, as you allow yourself to feel lighter, quieter, and calmer. Center yourself in mindfulness, stepping outside of your unquiet mind to observe your thoughts and emotions.

3) One by one, state aloud the beliefs on your list and take note of memories and feelings that come up, and write those down on the left-hand page, below the beliefs from step #1. Following the above example, when I meditate on the above mind-garbage, I picture myself as a sickly child, home sick from school for the umpteenth time, excused from recess and too weak for sports. I feel worthless and weak as I remember.

4) Be willing to release any and all of the past habit patterns that created your unhealthy beliefs. (Please do not skip this important step!)

5) Declare aloud “I hereby release any and all resistance to change. I am ready, willing, and able to change. I hereby release the memories (state them) and the feelings (state them) which created my unhealthy beliefs.” Visualize letting the past go.

6) On the right-hand page of the notebook, create an exact opposite to counteract each statement of negativity. Create a positive, present-tense, active-verb, I-statement – which directly counteracts the mind-garbage from steps #1 and #3. These are your affirmations. In our example, I would write, “I am well. My health is improving every day. I love and accept myself exactly as I am. I am no longer a sad, weak child; I am now a strong, happy adult capable of a full, rewarding life.”

7) One by one, declare out loud your new beliefs from step #6, and as you do, notice any tension, fear, grief, anger, or memories that come up, allow your feelings and let them go. Declare again, “I hereby release any and all resistance to change. I am ready, willing, and able to change. I hereby release any and all memories and feelings which created my unhealthy beliefs.”

8) Every day, when you wake up, and again just before you go to sleep, recite your list of affirmations from step #6. You may notice new negative self-talk emerging as you say your daily affirmations. If this happens, simply repeat steps #1 – 8 to clear the rest of your related mind-garbage.

9) Continue this routine daily until you can recite your affirmations easily without any internal resistance, emotions, or memories getting in the way. Your affirmations are now your new beliefs. You did it!

10)In celebration, shred your list of mind-garbage. If possible, create a ritual to dispose of it, such as safely burning the paper as you declare, “Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, I am transformed!”

11)Post your list of positive affirmations where you can see it every day, as a reminder to yourself.

12)Praise yourself for your efforts and give yourself a nice reward – you just transformed your life!

The 12-step process above has been a tremendously powerful healing tool in my life. Try it yourself and see…
and please do let me know how this works for you!
Wishing you all healing, peace, and joy!

May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you be free from suffering
May you dwell in peace.

Blessed Be.


Anonymous said...

I never thought affirmations would work for me because I am a pretty realistic person and not that optimistic. I am not pessimistic either, but that is because I consider myself very lucky and sometimes base the outcome of a situation on my luck. Moreover, having been raised to be humble, I feel very selfish and conceited to say about myself: "I am worthy," "I deserve good things happening to me," "I am beautiful," "I am intelligent," "I am a good friend/wife/relative." In other words, I would feel like I am either lying to myself or being selfish if I thought such positive things about me.

However, I have been able to notice the outcome of various situations in my life based on how I approached them. There have been instances on which I look back now and have no idea how I succeeded considering the difficulty of the situation. And yet, at those times, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be incapable of accomplishing what was needed. I was more than capable and I succeeded. At other times, however, although I feel like a situation is under my control and I should be able to handle it accordingly, I feel like I am doubting myself in the back of my mind. Although everything around me is pointing to say "you can do this! you have all it takes!"...something from within me is telling me "you don't deserve this"/"you are not focused enough and so you will fail"/"your knowledge is only superficial and your holes will show"/"you are going to make a fool out of yourself"/"nobody wants you to succeed" etc.

Thus, I do recognize the need for creating affirmations. To me, affirmations mean re-educating myself in a way in which my thinking does not punish my being. They also mean heightening my awareness to a point where there are no punishing thoughts running anywhere in the back of my mind. There are plenty external harms surrounding our being--the inside shouldn't harm it as well; it should be the shelter from harm that we need sometimes.

More than anything, I really wish to learn to let go. :)

Anonymous said...

Good Easy steps on Affirmations.

karim - Positive thinking