“Nothing will happen to me. I am fine and will continue to be fine.” My husband recited his well-worn mantra to me when I pointed towards his protruding belly, and suggested that he start exercising every day. Where my doubter instinct led me towards probable disastrous health situations, my husband’s believer instinct told him very firmly that he was quite all right. His confidence in his health is what he had programmed himself to work with. In other words, he had affirmed himself into a firm belief over his health.
An affirmation is a program then…
And our brain, the computer system into which we code the program. Except that this technology called the human brain is not just any computer, it is a super conscious, thoroughly active, high on speed, and frustratingly stubborn system.
Don’t believe me? The brain is constantly learning. It does not sleep even when we do. Our thoughts are faster than the speed of light. And habits once formed are very, very hard to change.
And affirmations encourage habits
Growing up as a sickly child, who was also bullied, I always thought that I could never amount to anything, and that I would remain worthless. The idea of worthlessness was programmed into my brain when I was in my primary classes, during the time when I was bullied. It has taken me close to thirty years to break this primary code.
The idea that I was good-for-nothing was a code that I did not program into my mind. It was an affirmation that was thrust into me from someone else.
You see, because our brain is always learning, it is also constantly affirming thoughts, both consciously and sub-consciously. Everything from the knowledge of the multiplication table, to the belief of an existence in God, is the result of an affirmation.
So, affirmations are repetitions
Have you noticed how some thoughts come repeatedly into your mind? Our body is full of genetics which by themselves are repetitions. Cells are repetitions. We are a factor made up of multiples. So, yes, we have a pathological, primordial habit of repeating.
Is this why you keep repeating yourself in some posts?
Affirmations lead to strong neural connections. To the common man, strong neural connections are called “beliefs.” We work, or as in my case, don’t work, because of our beliefs, the affirmations that we have embedded into ourselves. Until we don’t.
The Emperor, in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” had gotten into the habit of wearing a new dress every day, and that was why he believed his tailor’s words when the other man showed him nothing and instead, claimed that this nothing was a piece of cloth. The Emperor wore his “new clothes” until he realized he didn’t.
Likewise with our affirmations and consecutive beliefs.
I told myself that I was useless until I showed myself that I was not.
Are you trying to say that who we think we are is not who we are?
Who we think we are is who we are, until we unthink our idea of ourselves. A small habit of walking can break a pattern of ill-health that has settled itself into our body and mind. The habit of writing broke the pattern of uselessness inside my head. It takes one habit to break another. Our brain, being plastic and all that, is malleable, after all. Unscientifically, it is very, very possible to shift from a limiting belief to a growth belief.
The challenge lies in getting ourselves to sustain a new habit
I am currently undergoing a second turn at walking. I broke my first turn at fitness when I took a break and refused to get back into the healthy habit. It has taken the imagination of a health disaster and the freak of fear to get me back on track.
Why did I get to that place, you ask.
We all live in our little bubbles, whether it is that of satisfaction or depression, up until the bubble breaks. And every bubble is designed to break – it is the way of life.
Even as the seed is getting ready to break into a growth pattern, a part of it is also getting ready to wither away. As is the case with our brain. Even as it does its best to grow us through life, it is also getting ready to take us into the journey called the afterlife. The brain is pre-programed to lose its consciousness. And that too, is the way of life.
How we grow and how we die though, is all in our hands, and I don’t want to die a painful death. Rather, I wish to live a beautiful life, my beauty, thriving through my well-being. And that, is the affirmation that I have been coding into myself lately.
I am guessing this this is point where we get to how we create sustainable affirmations
I wish to die peacefully. And to die peacefully, I need to lead a satisfactory life. To reach my states of satisfaction, I need to remain healthy of body, mind and soul. That is why I always begin with the end in mind. What is the idea of your ending? The base for our affirmations is laid here, in our death-bed.
I stay grounded. There are things that I can do, and things that I can’t do, even though they are things that I want to do, or think that I can do. The infinite mind and the finite body need to bring themselves to the point where they listen to each other. It is sheer stupidity to push ourselves to work all the time, when we know that this push is also going to pull us down. Staying honest and realistic to ourselves is the key to making affirmations work.
I make a visualization board. In my imagination, I have already written several best-selling novels. My head used to get stuck in this space, and very little actually got done, until I created a visualization board for myself. The point of a visualization board is to remind us about the endings that we have created for ourselves inside our head, so we get off the couch to make those endings happen. So, get some images to go with your affirmation, visualize it, and get it out of your head.
I journal. My journaling habit helps me keep track of small changes that I notice within me. Because growth does not take place overnight, we tend to run out of patience while waiting for growth to happen. This will, unfortunately, take us back to where we were before we tried to shift our habits through our affirmations. You don’t have to journal. All you need to do is, take time to slow down every day. When we slow down, we breathe better, and when we breather better, we also think better. Affirm yourself into slowing down to affirm yourself into growth.
I believe in myself. At the root of every conscious affirmation aimed at development, resides a deep desire for growth, a feeling of “I am, and I can.” For the greatest and strongest affirmation of them all, is the belief and faith that we have in ourselves.
Here’s to healing ourselves through the right kind of affirmations! Here’s to believing ourselves into growth!