In most Law of Attraction circles affirmations are recommended for manifesting. But how do they actually work? Why are affirmations so powerful? Can you create the things your desire just by repeating a statement over and over?
The benefits of affirmations are multiple. They create positive emotions inside us and make us feel confident and motivated. They keep us centered to our goal and assist us in persisting.
But most importantly, affirmations can help change the beliefs we hold about ourselves, our experience in the world, our relationships with the people and things that surround us.
Read on to find out more and discover how affirmations change beliefs.
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If you are familiar with the Law of Attraction you’ve probably already heard that the things we focus on, whether positive or negative, are the ones that appear in our 3D reality. It is very likely that you’ve noticed in your own life and in the lives of those who surround you, that when people focus on gratitude and positivity they experience success, love and growth, and when they focus on fear and insecurities they experience lack and loss.
Affirmations are statements that we repeat either silently in our head or out loud. By repeating them many times we allow our subconscious time to focus on them and on the positive feelings of hope and fulfillment instead of on our negative habitual thought patterns. Most people internally “self-talk”, that is, the things we say to ourselves when we let our mind run free. Many people’s self talk has been conditioned to be negative, full of worry and self-deprecating.
When you get a negative thought about yourself, the way you relate to your surroundings and the way the world works, take a few moments to examine the deeper founded belief behind that thought. Once you identify it, you can flip it and start affirming the opposite. For example if you catch yourself fearing that you won’t get a promotion, you may identify the more general belief behind this as “I am not good enough”, and replace it with the affirmation “I am good enough”.
When you say the affirmation, it is important to try and feel the emotion when you allow yourself to really believe the new positive statement. Let it flow into you, it is the emotion that accelerates the manifestation, not just the words.
You can follow Louise Hay’s method for self love and healing called “mirror work” for confidence and self-esteem. Mirror work means simply that you repeat your affirmations while staring at your reflection in the mirror, overpowering your negative self talk with the flow of positive feelings of love and appreciation that you direct to yourself. It might feel a bit funny and odd in the beginning, but don’t give up. Look at the person staring back at you. Repeat your affirmations for self-love and gratitude until you can really feel them. Try to give yourself the love you’ve been giving everyone else. You are the only person you need to become better for.
“I say “Out” to every negative thought that comes to my mind. No person, place, or thing has any power over me, for I am the only thinker in my mind. I create my own reality and everyone in it.”
Your reflection will help you become aware of the beliefs which are deeply rooted inside you and are directing your life. When you identify the repetitive patterns of your self talk, you can play with them and turn them aournd into something positive, so reflect who you truly want to be : a loving, grateful being, aware of your power to create your life.
Of course, affirmations don’t work if we repeat them for five minutes and then spend the rest of our day focusing on the complete opposite thoughts, feelings and actions. Consistency is necessary and the work we must do is much deeper. Affirmations can be used to replace our problematic subconscious beliefs. To achieve that you can try to back them up with visualizations or scripting.
One of the most significant manifesting masters, Neville Goddard, emphasized the power of the statements beginning with “I am”. By saying “I am” followed by whatever we believe characterizes us, we enter into a state of being that person with that belief who has that thing. When we say “I am alone”, we enter the state of solitude and manifest accordingly without any effort. When we say “I am love” we enter the state of being in love, and we manifest situations that make us feel love and loving. We can’t manifest anything else if we are in a state of love. Everything contrary to that is an illusion.
According to Neville Goddard: “A state is an attitude of mind, a state of experience with a body of beliefs which you live by. Always expressing a state, you identify yourself with it by saying: “I am poor or I am rich. I am known or I am unknown. I am wanted or I am unwanted.”
This is why affirmations starting with “I am” have so much power, to change our beliefs about ourselves: because they state something about who we believe we are to our very core. That is the person we continuously become, and that person can only experience things which their consciousness, that “I-Am-ness” can conceive of.
When it comes to the way beliefs become established in our brains there is both good news and bad news. Both have to do with the formation of habits. The bad news is that, if you find yourself unable to manifest what you desire, it probably has to do with negative beliefs that you hold in your subconscious mind towards that thin/person/situation that feels unattainable to you. Chances are you’ve held those beliefs for so long that they’ve formed a habitual thought pattern inside you, and these are not always easy to break. They become subconscious and we cannot change a thing we are not aware of.
Having a habitual thought pattern means that your brain has been conditioned to automatically respond a certain way to a specific trigger, in the same way that Pavlov trained his dog to automatically think of food when hearing a bell ring. For example, if a person you’re interested in doesn’t immediately respond to your text, your brain may have been conditioned by previous negative experiences in relationships which result from the belief “I am not good enough”, to immediately jump to the conclusion that you are unwanted, you are not good enough, your relationship is facing problems etc. These assumptions may be false and the truth might be simply that your person of interest is busy and will respond to you later.
The good news is that you can actually break that habit. Our brains have an ability that is called neuroplasticity. It means that the neural connections that have been established and lead to a certain reaction following a specific trigger, can be reorganized in order to create a new reaction as a response to the same trigger. Neuroscientists have discovered that it is possible to rewire our brains to form new habits that serve us better than past ones.
According to neuroscientist Richard Davidson: “You can sculpt your brain just as you’d sculpt your muscles if you went to the gym. Our brains are continuously being sculpted, whether you like it or not, wittingly or unwittingly.”
Affirmations can help us train our minds to respond with new, positive automatic thoughts to certain triggers. Through shifting the habitual ways in which our minds respond to specific events – material or mental – we can change those subconscious beliefs that affect our manifesting.
The process of rewiring our brains to form new habits is described in Charles Duhigg’s fascinating book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. It’s a read I definitely recommend if you want to discover the scientific basis of habit formation processes.
While some habitual thought patterns are easy to shift, that is not the case for what we call core beliefs. Some negative beliefs have been repeatedly enforced with such intensity and persistence, and for such a long time that they’ve shaped your very perception of yourself. These beliefs might take more time to be identified and changed, but worry not! That doesn’t mean that they are unchangeable.
Sometimes affirmations might not be enough when you want to change your core beliefs. When it comes to beliefs which you realize feel difficult to shake off, it is usually helpful to talk about them to a friend or to a professional, to journal, ask yourself questions, and try to find the root of their formation. It is very important to realize that you are not these beliefs. You can start noticing them without identifying with them. Affirmations can help only after you manage to dis-identify from those statements.
The beliefs you have nurtured for so many years won’t all change overnight and that’s okay. Give yourself the time you need to make the necessary shifts, to train those mental muscles. Affirmations are a great exercise for the mind to think and therefore create differently, even if it doesn’t fully believe them in the beginning!
Don’t be harsh on yourself if you see old beliefs resurface, the same way you wouldn’t punish yourself for not being immediately capable of lifting 100kg when you first hit the gym. Be patient. Remind yourself that you’re making progress every day, and that’s more than enough! Soon you’ll be able to harvest the fruits of your efforts!
Watch one of our mind movies to change to a more positive belief system.