“What You Think of Yourself Is Much More Important than What Others Think of You.” Seneca
The default setting of our mind is to assume the worst and harbor negative thoughts – of others as well as ourselves. Switching this to a positive mindset is hard work all the way.
The good news is there are ways to achieve this.
Most of us understand the value of confidence and self-esteem. We know that when we are overflowing with confidence, we are happier and more resilient. We feel as if we are capable of meeting any challenges life throws at us. As if we are saying, “Bring it on!”.
Knowing something is good for us and working towards getting it are worlds apart. The same is true in the case of confidence. We know we need to improve our confidence and self-esteem but do nothing. The reason for this inaction can be numerous – ignorance, confusion, or just simple laziness.
There is this impression that to achieve something good and positive, you have to work really hard. It need not always be true. As in the case of positive affirmations for confidence. Easy to include in your daily routine, positive affirmations offer amazing benefits in a short time. No wonder they are called shortcuts to a positive lifestyle.
Let us understand what affirmations are, how they work, how to use them, how to make them more effective, when they might not work, and more.
What is a positive affirmation for confidence?
A confidence affirmation is a strategy to help yourself gain confidence and raise your self-worth. Without being aware of it or its importance as a self-help technique, we have often used it. How many times have we told ourselves “I can do this” or “I am happy” or “I will succeed”?
Positive thinking is ingrained in our brains to help us overcome obstacles in life. We can tap the potential of this powerful thought process within us and build on it to make it work better. This is exactly what confidence affirmations do.
These positive statements may look and sound too simple and innocuous but they have proved to be deceivingly powerful in shifting the focus from negative to positive thinking. Repeating affirmations can take our mind away from thoughts of shortcomings and failures and shift the focus to our strengths and achievements.
Call it hypnosis or brainwashing, repeating affirmations tend to instill a sense of hope and confidence in us. Often a shift in focus is all that is required to set us on the path to success.
How do affirmations work?
The million-dollar question is – Do affirmations actually work? Yes and no. It kind of works.
A definite answer to the above question is not possible as the success of affirmations depends mostly on the practitioner and how it is practiced. Do it with belief and full dedication and it works.
Our brain is a highly complex organ capable of handling intricate and difficult maneuvers that we are not aware of. It is capable of achieving the most daunting of tasks if only we give it a chance.
Our brain is always adapting to new circumstances and challenges, helping the body rise to the occasion. Affirmations use this attribute of the brain to alter your way of thinking.
At times, the line separating reality and imagination is blurred for the brain. It reacts in a similar way to real-life situations as well as those imagined by us.
Creating a mental image of positive situations and emotions can deceive the brain into thinking of them as real. As a result, the brain will trigger actions and thoughts that would set us on a path to success.
Let us understand this using an example. When you are faced with a daunting task that you have failed before, it is natural for you to feel apprehensive about it. Your thoughts would be like “I have failed before and I am going to fail again” or “I am not capable of doing this”.
Repeating affirmations like “I can do this” and “I am capable of doing this”, you are creating a positive image in your brain. It may not have anything to do with reality or drawn from past experiences. But as long as your brain considers it as the truth, it is. It will work towards making the illusion a reality.
You may not be trying hard enough or using your skills and strengths efficiently because of your negative attitude. The positivity instilled by affirmations will help you to overcome these hurdles you created in your mind.
This is essentially how affirmations work their magic. It seems magical but it is more sensible and logical.
How to practice affirmations?
The first step is to shortlist affirmations that you want to repeat every day. You may choose from existing affirmations or write them yourself. The chosen affirmations must resonate with you, your needs, and your thinking. You may select 5-10 affirmations depending on the time available.
Once you have the affirmations ready, you need to find the time for repeating them. Mornings and just before bedtime are considered ideal for practicing affirmations. Your mind will be calmer and more impressionable at these hours.
You may affirm anytime during the day as long as you have time to spare without disturbance.
Practicing affirmations is usually done by repeating them aloud 5 – 10 times each. Or you may repeat them in the mind or write them in a dedicated journal. You may also listen to a recording or watch a video of the affirmations. You may include the affirmations in a Vision Board and hang it where it catches your attention repeatedly.
With most people spending the bulk of the waking hours in front of the laptop or their cell phones, the Vision Board’s electronic version is a good idea. Save them on your devices for easy retrieval.
How to get the maximum out of affirmations?
Repeating affirmations can help you feel more motivated and boost your confidence levels but you need supportive actions to make them work for you. Practicing affirmations is similar to preparing yourself for a change. The change will materialize only if you take constructive action.
Consider this scenario. You are feeling apprehensive about the imminent exams. You can use affirmations to boost your confidence and help with positive thinking. However, to succeed in the exams you do have to study well.
Affirmations by themselves cannot bring about the change you want but when coupled with appropriate action, the effect is nothing short of magical. Again, affirmations do offer a starting point; they do set the stage for the manifestation of the goal,
Affirmations can help in rewiring the brain and get you going on the right path. But their efficacy depends on how they are utilized. From the affirmations you choose to how they are practiced, it matters every step of the way.
Let us take a look at how to make the best of affirmations.
1. Use present tense
Even when you are wishing for something in the future, you should frame affirmations in the present tense. That is as if you have already accomplished the goal.
You do this to take advantage of the loophole in the working of the brain. As it cannot distinguish between the imaginary and reality, acting as if you have already succeeded, helps to switch to positive thinking.
Framing affirmations in the present tense can help in creating an illusion that you have manifested the goal.
2. Choose ones that resonate
The best affirmations are the ones you write yourself keeping your goal, your mental blocks, and your weaknesses in mind. You may also use the stock affirmations provided you choose them with care. It is vital that the affirmations chosen resonate with your way of thinking, your goals, and would help you to get what you want in life.
Most of the stock affirmations available are general. They help you improve your confidence and self-esteem in a broader way, not specific to the situation you are facing. You may use them as guidelines and tweak them to suit your requirement. Or better still write some on your own.
For example, you may use a stock affirmation like “I am so happy and grateful to own a car” and tweak it to read “I am happily cruising along Route 66 in Missouri in my brand-new Porsche 718 Cayman”.
The idea is to be more specific and tailoring them to your wishes.
3. Keep it realistic
Affirmations are found to have a higher success rate when they are framed in a realistic sense. That is closer to your present position and not overly ambitious.
The issue with over-the-top affirmations is that they may not be achievable and would end up in disappointment. You are more likely to lose your faith in the power of affirmations in bringing about the change you wish in your life.
For example, “I am so happy and grateful to earn $10,000 a month” seems implausible for someone who is struggling to pay bills now. A more realistic amount can help avoid heartbreaks and loss of faith.
Again, for those trying to lose weight, affirming “I am happy that I have lost 50 pounds in a week” maybe going overboard. Scale it down to realistic levels.
Keeping it more real and achievable is found to work better.
4. Be regular
One of the basic rules to follow is to be consistent. Start by setting aside fixed times for the task every day; preferably 2 -3 times a day. Slowly weave it into your daily routine and make it a habit.
Affirmations may change once you have realized the goal you have set for yourself. Continue the practice with a new set of affirmations. When you do not have any specific goal to accomplish, go for general affirmations for confidence, happiness, or peace of mind.
Practicing affirmations in steps
You may follow these steps if you are a beginner.
- Start with 5 – 10 minutes for affirmations in the morning right after waking up and just before falling asleep.
- Repeat each one of the affirmations 5 – 10 times. By keeping them concise, you can fit in more affirmations within a limited time.
- Listen to yourself and focus on your goal when saying the affirmations aloud. Your belief in the affirmations is the key to their success.
- You may rope in a loved one to hold you accountable – that you are following the routine you have set for yourself. When your belief or commitment is wavering, they can help to bring you back on track.
- Be consistent in practicing affirmations. Don’t allow yourself cheat days. It is easy to break the spell but hard to retrieve it.
- Be patient and don’t lose heart. Your goal may not manifest as fast as you expected. Sometimes these things take their own time to work. Remember that you are throwing away your chance by abandoning. By sticking with it, rest assured, you will find success.
Do affirmations always work?
Not exactly. Manifesting goals is a complex process that involves the synchronized application of various techniques of which affirmation is one. It also involves eliminating limiting beliefs and maintaining a steadfast faith in the process.
The presence of limiting beliefs plays a huge role in the failure of your manifestation attempt. Without getting rid of them at the beginning itself, the whole endeavor is bound to fail.
When you want to have something in your life but believe in your heart of hearts that you are not capable of achieving it or you don’t deserve it, you are headed for failure for sure. All the hours of practicing affirmations cannot help in negating the effects of limiting beliefs.
And, for the failure of the mission, it would be unfair to blame affirmations.
To give affirmations a chance to help you succeed, you should set the stage well by eliminating everything that can prevent you from succeeding.
30 powerful positive affirmations for confidence to get you started
- Mistakes are stepping stones to success.
- I believe in my abilities and skills.
- I deserve all the good things in my life.
- I am confident of my success.
- I am letting go of the negative feelings and limiting beliefs.
- My decisions are sound and well-reasoned and I stand by them.
- I continue to learn and grow, changing for the better.
- I am smart, talented, and competent.
- I have a positive mindset and strive to spread joy and cheer willingly.
- There are no hurdles that I cannot overcome.
- I see challenges as opportunities to improve and grow.
- I make a difference in this world with my talent, dedication, and determination.
- Nothing is impossible, everything is possible.
- I am braver and stronger than perceived.
- I am becoming a better version of myself every day.
- I love myself unconditionally.
- Life is the most beautiful gift.
- Success is my birthright.
- Success and confidence come naturally to me.
- I feel confident to stand by my beliefs and stand up for myself.
- I love and respect myself.
- I am in charge of my happiness and life.
- I am not seeking validation from others.
- I am successful in everything I attempt.
- I am loved and respected.
- I am living my best life.
- My imperfections make me unique.
- I am a magnet for success.
- I can achieve anything I set my heart on.
- I am capable of doing the most incredible things.
Practicing affirmations is one of the tools for confidence-building – an important one at that. Use it wisely in conjunction with others and you will find yourself on the path to success – slowly maybe but surely. You may also want to take a look at our guide on positive affirmation activities for adults.
Improving confidence and self-esteem is not an overnight job; it requires hard work. It involves acquiring and sustaining better emotional habits. Affirmations can make the task a tad easier and simpler.
You may also want to take a look at our guide on examples of self-limiting beliefs and how to overcome them.
Practicing daily affirmations is a strong and steady step in the right direction for self-improvement.
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