What Do Affirmations Do For Us?


Research indicates up to 80% of all self talk is at least somewhat negative. Values and beliefs are imprinted upon us at a very early age. Both limiting and empowering beliefs tend to be expressed as belief statements in our heads. Apparently, everyone has voices in their heads. Some people have trouble differentiating the voices and the beliefs they express from their own identity although many of these voices are actually injunctions spoken to them from influential figures in their early lives.  In moments of frustration or anger, Dad may have said, “You’re not good.” or “You’ll never amount to anything,” and a child can take the injunction as if it had been his own thought.

Since we believe these injunctions are our own thoughts, we believe them.  A pattern of mind talk is set up.  Thoughts such as “I’m no good,” “I can’t do anything right,” “Life is hard,” “I am stupid (not smart),” or “People are not trustworthy” may cross our minds so frequently that we begin to interact with the beliefs as if they are  facts and we no longer question the possibility that things could be different.

The word ‘affirmation comes from the Latin affirmare, “to strengthen and make steady.”  Affirmation statements are intended to counteract the unresourceful beliefs.  When consistently repeated, we begin to affirm the opposite of the limiting belief is true for the person saying them.  The purpose of positive affirmations is to shift belief even if the belief doesn’t seem true already.

Positive affirmations have the power to transform lives. They work best when consciously remembered over and over through the day.  In keeping with George Sperling’s 1956 paper and subsequent studies, people can pay attention to only 7 + or – 2 bits of information at one time in conscious awareness.  When positive affirmations fill up awareness; there’s no more room for negative thoughts.  With time, new beliefs can take hold and become a steady state we live our life from.  Here’s are useful life affirmations:

1. I am worthy of love, happiness, and fulfillment.

2. I am whole, healed, and complete, just as I am.

3. I have all the resources necessary to achieve any outcome I congruently desire.

4. Everything happens for a purpose and a reason and it serves me.

This affirmations tend to boost self-esteem and helps in building healthy ego boundaries.  Some of these affirmation statements are considered so fundamental that Neuro Linguistic Practitioners include them as some of  the presuppositions of NLP.  They are simply useful belief systems.

Can you think of other affirmations?  What’s your favorite?  Respond with your comments here.

  1. Fundukian, L. J., Ed. (2011). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. In The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Vol. 2, 4th ed. (pp. 1061–1064). Detroit, MI: Gale
  2. Harra, C. (2013, July 6). 35 Affirmations That Will Change Your Life. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-carmen-harra/affirmations_b_3527028.html
  3. Hay, Louise L. (2010, June). How to use affirmations. Going bonkers, Vol. 4, Issue 3, 58–61.
  4. Hill, N. (1987). Think and grow rich. New York: Fawcett Books.
  5. Maxwell, C. (2014, October 6). Self-Talk: Shifting Negative Thoughts to Positive.
  6. Miller, G. A. (1956). “The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information”. Psychological Review. 63 (2): 81–97.
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