Re-Creating Your Self by Christopher Stone
“Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” That’s the world’s best known affirmation, composed by Emile Coue (1857-1926), a French pharmacist turned psychotherapist, and a champion of personal development and self-help.
An affirmation is a positive declaration about your self, others, or the world in general, `stated as fact. Affirmations have long been a staple of self-help books, personal improvement techniques and inspirational sermons. As regards Re-Creating Your Self, they join Thinking for Your Self and Falling in Love with Your Self, as an important tool for personal change. Affirming your new self, as outlined in Your Blueprint for Personal Change, will assist you in reversing false, limiting and negative thought patterns, thereby helping you to accept expansive, positive and true beliefs.
For example, if your thoughts automatically and regularly tell you, “My life is becoming more unbearable every day, using the affirmation, “Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better,” can help you to break that automatic, negative thinking and introduce a fresh point of view.
Though affirming your new self is an effective tool for personal change, the power of affirmations has largely been exaggerated and misunderstood. Too frequently, motivators suggest that these positive declarations are a virtual cure-all for personal problems, which they aren’t. You will better use this tool if you understand what affirming your new self can accomplish, as well as what it can’t.
FIRST, THE BAD NEWS
Many highly successful authors have glorified positive thinking and affirmations. This author is not among them. I’m pointing out their inherent limitations.
A young woman met with me about the Re-Creating Your Self process. She had read several best-selling books that advocated positive thinking as a panacea for personal problems. Having subsequently practiced what those books preached, she was disappointed with the results. What’s more, she now was skeptical of all self-improvement philosophies.
As she put it, “I tried positive thinking for months! I repeated those damned affirmations till I was hoarse, and nothing changed except my voice.”
“Did you come to believe the ideas your affirmations suggested?” I asked.
“No,” she answered.
“In addition to repeating affirmations, what else did you do to help you change your negative attitudes?”
“Nothing much,” she replied. “The books claimed that positive thinking alone would work.”
I explained patiently that positive thinking alone couldn’t transform her, not for as long as she clung to false, limiting and outdated beliefs. “Take two affirmations and call me in the morning,” isn’t a successful prescription for personal change, I told her. Positive thinking and affirmations are tools for personal change; they’re not a panacea. Because your beliefs generate the thoughts you have, and not the other way around, the real power for change is in a positive belief system that reflects the truth of existence.
My peeved positive thinker could have repeated her affirmations till she had no voice, but if she didn’t come to accept the beliefs behind her positive thoughts, she’d remain disappointed with the results.
Quite simply, you can’t just affirm, “I am good and deserving,” and expect your self to accept that positive attitude if, in fact, you believe, “I’m an unworthy sinner.” Without a helping hand from the other tools for change,” affirmations and positive thinking won’t change long-held false, limiting and outdated beliefs.
NOW, THE GOOD NEWS
Once you know that the real power is in holding true beliefs, then affirmations – used in tandem with the other tools for personal change – can become efficient helpers. Affirming your new self means saying “yes” to becoming the person you want to be, living the life you desire.
In an earlier column, I pointed out that you can identify additional beliefs by paying careful attention to your thoughts, and by listening to the mental conversations you have with your self, throughout the day. These thoughts and inner dialogues support your beliefs and help form your experiences. They strongly influence the way you feel about your self, others and the world in general.
Affirmations are thought conditioners. Affirming your new self can reverse those thoughts that reinforce the negative beliefs you want to discard. For example, if you believe you are an unlovable person, an examination of your thoughts will reveal that they automatically and repeatedly support that negative belief. Introducing and repeating an affirmation such as, “I’m naturally lovable and I attract loving people into my life,” can help you to break the negative thinking habit and also give you a new attitude about your self to consider. Each time you affirm your new self, the negative thought pattern becomes less powerful and automatic.
Affirming your new self doesn’t mean that you should dislike the person you are right now. On the contrary, an important part of Re-Creating Your Self is appreciating your now self even as you create your new self. Affirming your new self isn’t meant to be a method for suppressing negative feelings and thoughts. It’s important that you experience all of your thoughts and feelings, including the negative ones. Without disliking your self or denying your feelings, affirming your new self is a very good way of giving “equal time” to the positive beliefs you aspire to accept.
A Re-Creating Your Self Thought: As well as using appropriate affirmations created by others, custom-create affirmations for your self. For example, if you’re impoverished and wanting to change that condition, you might self-create an affirmation similar to this: “Inside me, there is only room for prosperity!”
Nest time: More about Affirming Your New Self.
Have a Re-Creating Your Self comment, observation, or a question? Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2009 by Christopher Stone