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What exactly is an affirmation?
To keep things simple, an affirmation is a statement—a word, phrase, sentence, or even several sentences—that you speak to yourself to ingrain a belief where one is absent or one needs confirmation.
An affirmation can sound like this: if you’re encountering a difficult situation where you feel stumped and unable to move forward even though you have been in a similar situation before and you’ve gotten by just fine, you use an affirmation to ground your thoughts and remind yourself of your capabilities.
For example, you can say to yourself, “I am capable” or “I have been here before, and I had similar doubts, but I am capable of rising above these doubts again.”
Affirmations act as an anchor for your awareness when your attention is frazzled by persistent doubt.
When you’re in your head, it can be difficult to quiet your thoughts despite knowing that they are just thoughts, defense mechanisms, or habitual doubts coming from a skewed belief. Affirmations help you pause and rise above these thoughts.
You can bring yourself fully into the present moment in that pause and make a choice about what you believe.
Affirmations can be looked at as mental anchors: mental anchor = awareness + choice of belief
Why Would You Use an Affirmation?
As mentioned above, affirmations work on our belief systems, and as humans, we know that what we believe creates our reality.
Our belief systems are everything ingrained in our subconscious minds about ourselves, others, and the world from the day we were born. Some beliefs are explicit; for example, at some point in your life someone tells you, “you are not important” and you believe it. Other beliefs are non-explicit; for example, in a school project when you were young, no one picked you to be their partner, so you think to yourself that you must be unimportant.
Both types of beliefs govern the way we see ourselves in the world, and we behave and think accordingly.
What an affirmation does is take off the goggles of your perception and allows you to firstly, see the present moment objectively without any reference to past perceptions. And secondly, it allows you to choose what you believe from that space of objectivity.
Affirmations can help you reprogram your whole belief system to shed away any past conditioning about how you see yourself, others, and the world, and they allow you to create a reality you consciously choose.
How to Use Affirmations to Eliminate Doubt
Psychology research states that on any day, the thoughts we think are, on average, 90 percent the same thoughts we thought the prior day. If that proves anything about habitual thinking, it proves that the subconscious mind—where your belief systems are located—creates 90 percent of your thoughts. That is, until you are aware of your thinking patterns.
Awareness brings thoughts from a subconscious space into a conscious one. Consciousness is where choice is. You don’t choose 90 percent of your thoughts (i.e. beliefs)—they are automated by your belief system. The only way to choose more of what you think and believe is to be aware of what you think and believe.
The way to do that is to interrupt that subconscious automation by the simple questioning of your thoughts.
Why do I believe I am unimportant?
At this moment, do I actually believe I am unimportant, or is it a thought pattern based on a stale belief?
Here, affirmations help reprogram the beliefs you no longer resonate with. Much of what we believe was ingrained into our subconscious below the radar of our awareness. By bringing awareness into the equation, the opportunity to choose your beliefs opens up. And from here you get to reprogram your belief systems and liberate your mind from the tenacious loop of deceiving and limiting beliefs.
Self-doubts basically live within and thrive on your limiting beliefs.
Affirmations are one way to help yourself get unstuck where your subconscious beliefs once had you stuck—allowing you to step beyond your doubts.