“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” – Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
The origin of affirmations
When I went began to discover the power of affirmations many years ago I was intrigued by the origin of the autosuggestion or positive affirmations and how they came to be in existence. I did what most others do and consulted the Oracle (Google). As usual, it gave me a lame and completely inadequate reference to a Wikipedia link about a man whos is said to be the “Father of the Positive Affirmation.” His name is Emile` Coue`, a French psychologist who believed in positive autosuggestion and is said to have pioneered the self-improvement movement.
This is ridiculous of course, as we know such works as, “The Master Key” by Charles Haanel was penned in the early 1900s and before him, “Phineas Quimby” who created the “New Thought” movement in the early 1800s. Don’t forget James Allen of “As a Man Thinketh” fame either. All of these men where published philosophers employing this process before any of Emile` Coue`’s work. But I digress.
The fact is affirmations have been around for centuries and most likely a millennium. One could even argue that the “Sermon on the Mount” by Jesus himself was of the first affirmations ever heard, setting forth a set of beliefs or standards for one to model his or her daily life. Affirming that purpose was real and that one’s destiny was to fulfill it. Regardless of who originated or when it happened, affirmations have played a tremendous roll in personal development. Reminding yourself that things are ok and that you can handle them, get through the adversity, and even thrive despite difficulties you encounter is a staple in actually doing it.
How many times have we seen and heard a not so convinced hero depicted in the movies as needing to jack him or herself up by rattling off a set of affirmations like “I can do this,” or some other phrase to persuade his inner psyche to step into the danger he is about to encounter? Our culture is infused with this understanding and it has been since the beginning of time. The fact that no one knows where, when, or how it started is evidence that it most likely started in our hearts and minds individually. It is a form of human nature that use to get through whatever it is we need to. I would even hasten to say that even the caveman was telling himself this Saber Tooth Tiger ain’t all that bad.
I think although it is an interesting exercise in trying to research and discover where the origins of affirmations came from, it doesn’t matter. Even those who make fun of certain affirmations at some point in their life has used them I guarantee it. Most of us know the importance of using them and will continue to do so.
Affirmations are not only important, they are essential
What if you walked around all day but had no clue where you were going, what you were going to do next, and on the chance that you do figure that out, how you were going to get from here to there? Most would think you an imbecile or worse a psychotic. The truth is basic affirmations are essential. Affirmations are nothing more than asserting something you know to be right, believe in, or generally accepted, therefore to get around, have something to do, actually do it, we need to utilize affirmations. In that regard, we are using them every minute of every day whether we choose to be aware of it or not.
If this is the case why not be aware of them and even take it one step further. If you were to be conscious of the affirmations you use daily to the extent that you spice them up a bit, you might just change the way you perceive the world a bit. For instance, you could affirm that you are going to go to the store today, or you could go to the store and affirm that you are going to give at least one person a nice complement as well. You could even affirm that you are going to buy nothing but healthy food today when you go to the store.
What I am getting at is affirmations are not just goal setting positive statements geared toward getting you into some sort of heightened state of emotion. They certainly are that but they also can be so much more on a more detailed and intimate level and this level is what makes them essential. I call these task affirmations. The kind of affirmations that help you achieve certain tasks that you have set out for yourself during your day, week, month, or year. I have to get to the store today is an affirmation, a task affirmation.
You see, going to the store and affirming you are only going to buy healthy food today is a nice sentiment. However, would if you said I am going to affirm the same thing tomorrow and the next day? Before you know it you have created a habit of buying mostly healthy food and it all started with that first affirmation on that first trip to the store.
All habits begin with a thought of how you would like to do something or be someway. That thought is then transformed into an affirmation. From what I would like to be or do to I am going to be or do something in a certain way. The thought can never become manifest if not developed into an affirmation that instructs an action continually until it becomes an automatic habit. Believe it or not, these are the most essential affirmations of all. Telling yourself you can be great every day is great and I would never discourage it but affirming a task to step you in the direction of being great is what gets it done.
Certainly, we can conclude that affirmations are not only important but essential. If you are aware of the affirmations you utilize then you can make them better, more efficient, and more productive to your overall goals.
Affirmations are mission thoughts
As we discussed in the previous paragraph, affirmations are both small and large. They are emotional statements as well as tasks and todo lists.
We talked about the essential affirmations that get you through your day and give you the direction and motivation to get you where you want to go and do it with a smile. They set you up for a purposeful and productive day and let you rest peacefully when you retire for the evening.
Now let’s talk about those affirmations which set your mission goals and control your behavior and attitude. These are the ones that call you to greatness to achieve things you have no idea how to accomplish. Let’s talk about the affirmations that set you apart from the average person. The person who gets up each day and goes about life in a robotic, drone-like state as if he were remotely controlled.
I have a morning routine. In that morning routine, I have a set of affirmations that set the tone for the day, week, month, and any other time frame that lies ahead of me. I read them every day. I listen to what they speak to my heart. It creates a sense of mission and purpose and is the catalyst for inspiring me to become what I know I can become. I know what I can become because during my affirmations I remind my self again and again. They are not thoughtless, highfalutin, and presumptuous phrases made up to make me feel superior. They are personal truths that come from my core beliefs and reinforce my purpose every day.
These affirmations are what I like to refer to as mission thoughts or mission affirmations. Unlike task affirmations discussed earlier, mission affirmations take on a more conceptual approach. We are not talking about a specific task or goal we are trying to accomplish we are affirming more of a concept that sets the standard for our attitude and behavior. Most of the time these affirmations can be applied to all of your task affirmations. For instance, “Never Give up” would be a good example of a mission affirmation. If applied consistently it will develop an attitude that creates behavior that will affect all your choices as it pertains to your mission tasks. In other words, if you work hard at this mission affirmation the odds of you ever giving up on a mission task are slim to none.
Abundance affirmations keep your focus positive
To create success, productivity, and progress in your life using both task and mission affirmations you want to make sure you are using them in a positive, uplifting, and abundant way. If you want to be technical about it even, “Never give up” is not the correct way to approach that affirmation concept. You should flip it around and say, “Always keep going. Cognitive Momentum has a tagline and it reads “Keep Life Moving.” In a sense, you can never really move backward if you are constantly moving in any direction. Even mistakes help you learn what not to do and hence keep you moving forward. Abundance affirmations are a good way to remind yourself that you can keep life moving and in such a way that you grow and are rewarded for it. Don’t say, “I need more money.” Say, “More money flows to me all the time.”
Life without affirming statements leaves an open door to personal contempt
I once had a high school English teacher who used to say if you’re not moving forward you are moving backward or if you’re not growing you are degrading; something like that. For years I never understood what he meant until I did. The concept of the “Gray Area” is one that man has labeled anything that cannot be decided. So if you are there is no gray area per se only people who can’t make a decision or choose to make an excuse not to make a decision. There certainly is no gray area when it comes to affirmations. If you are not reassuring yourself that the decisions you make and the actions you take as a result are the best ones you can then you are letting someone or something else do it for you.
We need to constantly affirm that we are making the right choices every day. We need to affirm that they are our choices and that no one is making them for us. Choices like, “I can get this done,” or ” I have the courage to take the next step,” have to be reiterated all the time to ourselves by ourselves because no one is going to do it for us except maybe our moms and they are not going to be around all the time and certainly not forever.
If these abundance affirmations, whether they be task or mission, are not learned, practiced, and developed, then all kinds of chaos will creep into our psyche. We will easily be swayed by a lack of principles because we didn’t establish a set of them with this practice. We will be at the whim of all discouragement, condemnation, and criticism dished out to those who would rather see us fail, and even those who think they have our best interest at heart. We must build a lining of confidence that not only can we get done whatever it is we want to get done but we are confident that it is the right thing to do for us. We must make decisions, affirm them daily, put them into practice, assess and reassess, and learn and correct ourselves for the next evolution in our growth. If we do this consistently we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We will begin to accomplish things that were once just a dream, and we will grow our confidence from those accomplishments by leaps and bounds.