I learned of the power of affirmation when I was sixteen years old from a teacher who taught me the power of positive thinking. Edna had a smile as wide as the Niagara Falls and an enthusiasm and fire that have never diminished in her – not in all the 34 years I’ve known her. We’re still friends today. “What you say matters,” she said. “Believe it.” I didn’t but look at the evidence:
One highly accomplished athlete, musician, actor, inventor, philanthropist, author, scientist, doctor, engineer, aid worker, leader, (fill in the blank) after another states that it was the power of belief that got the person to the pinnacle of success.
“I believed I could.”
“I’m already there.” (in my mind and thus in life)
“I’m good enough.”
“I can do it.”
What you put into your mind matters, and this is why self help books like psychologist Carol Dweck‘s Mindset (here’s a 4 minute book summary that is fabulous!) remain important tools in the personal growth of human beings. We read for ideas, learn them and repeat those ideas. Thoughts become stuck in our heads. We start to act as if those ideas are true and we take bigger risks. Life rises up to meet us because we rise up to life. That’s a lyrical way of saying that affirmations give us the strength to challenge ourselves in life.
Transcript for TED Talk below:
Dr. Joe Dispenza researched this phenomenon in a way that particularly interests me, as I have undertaken my own experiments in the power of the mind to heal the body and psyche/soul.
Dispenza’s research has led him to write many books about this – get this one on audio (as there’s a lot of research to digest), or just YouTube him and his argument: YOU ARE THE PLACEBO. The point? You are the factor that gives you the leg up in life. People who think they are stronger, better, capable of healing and capable of surviving and fighting against terrible things like diseases…recover more, survive and live longer, overcome great odds and sometimes or many times experience miracles. It has been scientifically verified over and over that our own thoughts influence our health outcomes.
Back to athletes and highly accomplished individuals. If we imagine for a moment that they filled their heads with ideas like: “I’m not capable of this. I’m an idiot. I can’t do this. I will never do this. It’s too hard.” it becomes clear that negative thinking can have dire consequences in depressing our capacity to work hard.
And it is that hard work that helps us to accomplish our goals. We know this now.
Thus, thanks to the plethora of positive affirmations that exist in many places on the planet, including in the media, as social messaging does attempt to bring us to the awareness that we have a personal obligation to believe in ourselves, to grow, to contribute…I believe most of us as humans have a survival instinct that can help us to turn negative and self-defeatist thinking around. Barring that, I happen to think that music helps. Bless the songwriters of happy songs in this world.
This is how I power through my own negative and self defeating thoughts. I follow the advice I was given years ago and have been given time and again…
I acknowledge that I have a unique contribution to make in this world. When the glass is half empty, it’s actually also half full. Whatever my ‘failures’, the truth is there are more successes than failures. This is how I begin to turn my tendency to frame everything as a potential failure into – in fact – a success.
We are successful for trying.
We are successful for achieving ALL of the things we achieve.
What we fail to do is irrelevant.
If we look at our lives wholistically we actually are the masters of a great many things we never stop to give ourselves credit for.
We love some even if not all.
We accomplish much even if not everything.
The perfectionist in us is the critic and this voice in our heads leads us nowhere good.
Take that person by the proverbial hand, that little part of yourself that’s talking, and soothe and comfort that despair with a soft and self compassionate other voice.
The words of this song say it all.
We are wonderful. Just as we are.
Believe it until you know it.
To your success and happiness,
PS. These are all beautiful versions of this song. The symphony orchestra indicates what magic can come if only we try. I’m sure Gary Go when he wrote this song never expected one day to perform it with a symphony. Makes me smile. 🙂
The person that you were has died You’ve lost the sparkle in your eyes You fell for life – into its traps Now you wanna bridge the gaps
Now you wanna bridge the gaps Now you want that person back And all your ammunition’s gone Run out of fuel to carry on
You don’t know what you wanna do Cause what you want does not want you If what you want does not want you You’ve got no pull to pull you through
Say “I am” Say “I am” Say “I am wonderful”
Say “I am” Say “I am” Say “I am wonderful”
If what you’ve lost cannot be found And the weight of the world weighs you down No longer with the will to fly You stop to let it pass you by
Don’t stop to let it pass you by You’ve gotta look yourself in the eye