If you’ve been following my column so far you’ll already be aware, from issue one, of the ‘inner critic’ living inside your head and how to begin to control it with the ‘Thought Stopping Exercise’. In issue 2, you’ll have learned that we are not born with any fears or anxieties – apart from loud noises and falling – but the negative messages that are passed onto us during childhood, programme our minds and lead us to develop limiting beliefs.
These beliefs cause us to hold back, doubt ourselves, compare ourselves to others, and develop feelings of not being good enough; our subconscious inner dialogue is created and then continues to reinforce these feelings. Once you realise that you’ve been operating on ‘autopilot’ all these years, it’s time to switch it off, create a new flight plan and change direction so your life can go where you want it to – onwards and upwards!
The words that you say to yourself are the most powerful words you hear, so it makes sense to be sure that those words are positive, affirming ones. In the words of Henry Ford,
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.
So, having become aware of and silenced your inner critic, the next step is to replace it with an inner friend who loves you unconditionally and tells you throughout the day how worthy, loveable and capable you are, by repeating positive affirmations.
Now, when you first start to use affirmations, you may well find (or have found in the past) that the positive words you say to yourself are hard to accept – especially after all the years spent doing just the opposite. If you’ve been feeling inferior, a failure, or unlovable for most of your life, suddenly saying things like “I’m amazing”, “I can achieve whatever I put my mind to” or “I love myself just as I am” – wonderfully positive statements though they are – they’re just not going to cut it!
It’s much easier to accept positive suggestions when you preceed them with the words “I choose”, for example, “I choose to know that I’m amazing”, “I choose to believe I can achieve whatever I put my mind to”, “I choose to love myself unconditionally”. Provided they’re things that you do choose to think, feel, believe or know, then you’re speaking the truth and your mind will be open to accepting those statements. There’s also something very empowering about saying “I choose”. You’re telling yourself that you are taking control and giving yourself permission to make positive choices and changes.
It’s important to always state your affirmations in positive terms, saying what you want, rather than saying what you don’t want. When you say things like I don’t want to fail or I don’t want to feel nervous, your mind doesn’t pick up on the don’t, it just processes fail, or feel nervous. What you put your attention on becomes bigger and stronger so it’s important to focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
Create some affirmations that feel right for you and start using them straight away. Repeat them to yourself throughout the day as often as possible and when you’re in a private place try saying them aloud and with feeling so that they’re more believable. The more often you repeat them, the sooner they’ll become embedded into your subconscious mind and the sooner you’ll start to value, respect and ultimately love yourself.
Remember the acronym F.L.Y. from issue one? First Love Yourself. Until you learn to do that, it’s very difficult to attract value, respect or love from anyone else.