Affirmation of the Week
Introduction to Affirmations
The Engine of Growth
What Affirmations Do
Why Affirmations Work
Affirmations as Power
Discovering What to Say
Creating Your Own Practice
Creating an Affirmation Journal
My Journey with Affirmations
Advanced Techniques
Guidelines for Affirmations
An Invitation
Weekly Affirmation Archive
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My Journey with Affirmations

I was able to take control and free myself from feelings of guilt and shame.

My own discovery of affirmations first began at the age of nineteen, when I read the books "When I say no, I feel guilty" by Manuel J. Smith and "Your Erroneous Zones" by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Both books are were important to me. In "When I say no, I feel guilty," the idea of not only changing my feelings about another person's behavior but actually modifying his or her behavior though specific verbal responses opened my eyes to a new possibility of interacting with people, and specifically, my relationships with the people in my life. Whereas in the past, I had no way to deal with criticism or manipulative verbal behaviors, I felt with the techniques in the book I was able to take control and free myself from feelings of guilt and shame. It was one of the first steps in my growth process.

The second eye-opener for me was reading Dr. Dyer's book "Your Erroneous Zones." The book is based on a simple premise that I believe to this day: That all feelings come from thoughts, and a person can change the way he or she feels by changing his or her thoughts. The idea seemed so simple yet so powerful to me. The book was a great inspiration to me and gave me a sense of hope that I could change the feelings I was experiencing at the time.

As inspiring as Dr. Dyer's book was, as the newness of the ideas in the book wore off, I was still left with the same problem: how to control my thoughts and feelings. It seemed that while intellectually I may have known that a person rejecting me or being critical of me was not personal to me, but a reflection of how that person felt about himself or herself, my reaction of being hurt persisted just the same.

Then, a couple of years later, in a magazine, in a small article, I read about the idea of affirmations. It was a huge revelation to me; the idea that repeating a phrase with positive intentions could change a person's feelings tied into the ideas of Dr. Dyer's book. For me, affirmations were the mechanics that could make his ideas work.

My use of affirmations was very limited for the next 20 years. After a number of relationships that seemed to have the same unhealthy dynamic, seeing the same unhealthy pattern over and over again, I reached a crisis. I was very unhappy with how my life had been.

I knew I had to stop the negative thoughts I was having.

I was watching a local television show one night in Los Angeles called "Straight from the Heart," hosted by Sheri Meyers Gantman, and saw an author being interviewed for a book she had just written, "Fearless Loving." I didn't catch the beginning of the show, but the author, Rhonda Britten, was talking about affirmations. I liked the idea that she was using affirmations and what she was saying. I bought her book, started reading it and doing the exercises outlined in the book. That process got me to look at my own beliefs about love. More importantly in got me in the habit of journaling; writing down my feelings about what was going on in my life and what was happening in my relationships.

One day as I was writing about my relationships and my responsibility for what had happened in them, I discovered how critical and negative I was with myself; how that I had been that way for many years. Then something happened in me. Maybe it was a self-preservation instinct, maybe it was divine intervention or maybe it was just my life experiences coming together at that moment, but I knew I could not go on thinking of myself the way I had. I wrote down affirmations that were the exact opposite of my negative thoughts and started saying them out loud. It was difficult to hear myself say the words that went against how I felt because I had been thinking, feeling and believing the same way for many years. My mind was fighting it. As I said each affirmation I could hear another voice inside saying the old negative thought, but I just kept saying the affirmation over and over again, saying each one, as if to erase the negative thoughts from my mind.

I no longer felt I was at the mercy of my emotions.

I'm not sure how I felt after that. It's like I had just done battle with my own mind. I knew I couldn't go on thinking and feeling the way I had; I had to stop the negative thoughts I was having. Even though the affirmations went against how I felt, I knew the feelings I had didn't serve me. In the following days I did more exercises in Rhonda Britten's book and as I journaled I continued to uncover more negative thoughts and beliefs I had about myself. For every negative thought or belief, I created an affirmation to counter it. Each day, I would say them out loud, over and over. I was determined to remove the negative thoughts from my mind. Some were more powerful than others, some created more resistance in me than others. There were many times I found myself emotionally overwhelmed as I said an affirmation. The act of saying them was healing me in a very deep and profound way.

As I said my affirmations daily, I found many of my negative feelings started to diminish. When a negative thought would enter my mind, the affirmation would automatically come to mind as well, reminding of the new way I wanted to think and feel. The sense of control, relief and change was powerful. I no longer felt at the mercy of my emotions and with time, equally as important, I was no longer at the mercy of another person's behavior or feelings. I found I could alter my reactions to other people's behavior with affirmations as well.

For me, the process is ongoing. I continue to journal and while I continue to find negative thoughts, beliefs and behaviors about myself that still surprise me, I continue to create affirmations to replace those unhealthy thoughts, beliefs and behaviors with healthy ones.

My hope is that you find the process I have gone through and continue to go through useful in your personal growth as well.

copyright 2004 affirming love