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The Science beneath Positive Affirmations Part 2 of 2

This article is a continuation of Part 1 which appeared last week.

What Are Affirmations that Actually Work?

Modern studies have shown that people with an elevated self-esteem tend to make positive affirmations all the time, without struggling to do so, it just comes natural to them. Regrettably, when people with low-esteem are forced into making positive affirmations, the response is negative, triggering a wave of unlikable connotations.

For instance, a lady who feels good about her looks thinks “I am gorgeous”, and this makes her more self-confident, and consequently more attractive. That is, ideally, the way positive affirmations ought to work. If a woman who is not at ease with her appearance is instructed to think “I am attractive”, she instinctively follows the statement with a succession of “buts” – “but I could still drop a few kilograms”, “but I’m not clothed for the occasion”, “but I’m not as attractive as others in this room”. In a best-case scenario, the affirmation simply does not work; in worst-case scenarios, it does more damage than good. (Bear in mind that this is not associated to how the person actually looks, but to how she perceives herself – and these are two very dissimilar aspects.)

This is one of the least understood aspects of optimistic affirmations: if you don’t comprehend the science behind them, you can actually do more harm than good by attempting to use them indiscriminately. That is not to say that you need a degree in psychology in order to harness the supremacy of positive thinking, but you do need to be acquainted with yourself – something that can be a lot more tricky to accomplish than any scientific degree.

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How to Make Positive Affirmations Work for You.

Begin by determining the long-term goal. For this example, let’s say that the goal is to discover true love, maybe even settle down and establish a family. Evidently, saying “I will find love” is not good enough, so focus on what you’re doing right now to accomplish your goal. Say things like “I am ready for love”, “I am prepared to commit”, “I have a lot to offer in a relationship”. Scrutinize each of these affirmations, to see if they carry any negative feelings. For example, when you say “I have a lot to offer”, does that make you feel like people in general do not value you, do not see your individuality?

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Pick the positive affirmation that has no such negative connotations. That is plainly the one statement that puts a grin on your face, and makes you feel naturally good, because you recognize it to be true. In the interim, you can work on a process of acceptance and healing, in order to get rid of the negative connotations from other affirmations, and use them when you’re ready.

Once you’ve become familiar with the science of positive thinking, and you can self-assuredly answer the questions “what are positive affirmations?” and “how can you use them effectively?”, you can switch to more sophisticated techniques, such as integrating them in a daily meditation session. Do not be disenchanted if you do not see results within a week – it’s a long progression, so consistency is the key to long-term success. Remember, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”.