Self-talk has definite power to affect personal situations and outcomes. Such self-talk, when not purposefully directed, is little more than mental chatter to us, but when it is purposefully and intentionally directed, it is able to affect energies that will build up to the point that they can cause the outcomes that reflect one’s thoughts.
As we have already discussed in previous chapters, whatever we might think in our minds has an effect on our external reality through the subconscious connection we have with everything else. It is therefore of vital importance that we are always careful of our ongoing mental dialogue, and that we learn to direct its content as much as possible to reflect the expression of desired outcomes, and not undesirable ones. In order to do so, it is very helpful to use what are known as self-affirmations. These are nothing more than short, purposefully directed statements that reflect a desired situation or outcome. They are very powerful when properly applied. In most religions, this mental force is directed through prayer, which has the same effect, although the guidelines for the most effectual results are often not understood or followed, and so the results are often ineffectual or misdirected.
The guidelines listed below should therefore be followed when using self-affirmations in order to gain the best results from your efforts in using them:
- They should be as concise as possible. A short and precise sentence is more direct and understandable than one that is long and convaluted with detail. This is because self-affirmations are meant to speak to the subconscious, and the subconscious doesn’t use analytical processes, which are the domain of the conscious mind and therefore should be kept out of the whole process as much as possible. A short sentence that rolls off the tongue nicely, when repeated over and over, will work well in tapping into the subconscious mind as you implant your instructions. If you can’t keep your affirmation short, consider making it in two or three separate sentences that can either be said one after the other with a short pause between each, or individually at different times of the day.
- They should be worded in the positive sense. This means that you should avoid use of the words ‘no’, ‘not’, ‘never’, etc. The idea is to establish positive, creative energy, which is important in manifesting equally positive outcomes.
- They should be stated in the present tense whenever possible. Use the word ‘is’ or ‘can’ rather than ‘will’, etc. This establishes in the subconscious a certain sense of immediacy, and keeps it engaged in fulfilling its instructions during the moments that the conscious mind is active with other things and the subconscious is free to work in the background.
- They become more powerful the more often they are repeated. Repetition is a part of the language of the subconscious. By using your affirmations like a rhythmic mantra, you tap the subconscious mind and put it in a more suggestible state. As you repeat your affirmation over and over, you’ll learn to keep it going in the background of your mind while you do other things. If you do this ritually, you’ll eventually be able to hold your full attention on other thoughts while still repeating your affirmation. This doesn’t mean that you must repeat the affirmation until you’re exhausted. In fact, it’s only necessary to spend a lot of time repeating an affirmation at first, in order to initiate a good connection with the subconscious and establish the instructions you want it to carry out, but once that connection is established, you only need to spend from a few minutes to no more than an hour each day repeating a particular affirmation. After the subconscious has clearly received its instructions, it only needs regular reinforcement. In the end, however, more repetition means more attention given by the subconscious to any particular instruction.
- They are more powerful when combined with corresponding physical or mental images. Images are another part of the language of the subconscious. Any sensory input you can give to the subconscious that helps to reflect what you want will also help in making your instructions clear. This can be done with photographs or anything else that symbolically reflects your desired outcome.
- They should only be applied with positive intentions. It is recommended that you always apply self-affirmations towards positive goals. This is for the same reason that it is important that they are positive in the way they are worded. Negative intentions are disharmonic, and will have an equally negative effect on the amount of power the subconscious has in fulfilling your goal.
Self-affirmations are goal oriented, and yet, because they operate at a subconscious level, there is no need to be consciously concerned with how those goals might manifest themselves. It simply needs to be consciously accepted that the power of the subconscious is able to affect events at a deeper level than we are consciously aware of, and let it do its work.
Having doubt in the power of the subconscious is debilitating to the suggestive power of self-affirmations, and will counter the effects because it is itself a form of instruction to the subconscious.
The subconscious acts like a computer in that it takes instructions from the operator and fulfills them without question, providing output that correlates with the instructions given to it. Like a computer, this process can be almost instantaneous for simpler instructions, or it may require some time for more complex instructions. Once it is given its instructions, it works in the background to generate results.
When you give a computer an instruction to do an operation, such as sorting a list of words into alphabetical order, it will begin to follow those instructions exactly. But if, while it is performing those instructions, you interrupt it with new instructions to randomize that same list, it will stop sorting and thenceforth begin randomizing. This is analogous to what happens when you first apply a self-affirmation and then counter it with doubtful thoughts. The subconscious takes all conscious thoughts and self-talk as instructions and tries to fulfill them as they are given. For this reason it is important to overpower any doubtful thoughts you may have regarding the goals your self-affirmations are designed to achieve. Positive and negative thoughts have equal but opposing power, and so it is important to be sure that any thoughts that are negative to achieving your goal must be outweighed by positive thoughts to achieving it. This is why the repetition of affirmations makes them more powerful. You add weight to them with each repetition. Therefore, for every thought that is negative to your desired outcome, you must apply a greater amount of positive thoughts to compensate.
It should be noted that there is a direct relationship between the repetition of thoughts and the repetition of actions that develop into habits (as discussed in previous chapters). In both cases, the repetition directs the subconscious to automate a response to the given stimulus. With habitual actions, we learn to make them without conscious direction. In the same way, our habitual thoughts tend to arise without conscious direction, and this causes us to learn self-defeating attitudes if we are not careful. This negative and self-defeating attitude has come to afflict each of us more than we realize, and only when we begin to consider the contents of our habitual self-talk and how it tends to defeat us can we begin to see how much we limit our own potential.
I will give an actual example of my first attempt to use a self-affirmation, and the success that resulted. There was a certain young lady from my past who I hadn’t seen or heard from in more than two years, and I was interested in seeing her again, just to settle my mind that she was still alive and doing well. I was curious about the power of using affirmations at this time, and so I decided to put it to use to see what results I might get. So, for the next few weeks, as I strolled around town in my leisure time, I repeated an affirmation that instructed my subconscious to allow me to see her again. I did this each evening, repeating the affirmation over and over to myself as I walked about. Then one evening while I was doing this I looked across the street, and there was my lady friend, who smiled and waved at me. I was dumb-struck. I had no idea that I would actually run into her, and so I had not been prepared to approach her when I saw her. The best that I could do was to wave back as I continued on my stroll. But I was very convinced that this was more than just a coincidence because it was the only time I have ever run into her and several years have since passed in which I still frequent the same area but have never seen her again.