Changing the way you think is a process that requires the progressive build-up of positive expressions to reprogram what is no longer wanted. Mental healing requires both the perseverance and patience to shift. Transitioning to a positive way of thinking increases your vibration, which means you just feel better! Positive affirmations are a key aspect to changing the mental patterns you no longer want and are one of those tools that just take time to feel the result.
My own spiritual journey with positive affirmation began in my late twenties. My key source of learning how to think positively began with Louise Hay’s You can Heal Your Life. I vividly remember my first exercise of standing in front of a mirror, trying to tell myself “I love you”. It took a few tries and many tears to finally mumble the words. With practice, over a period of a few weeks, the saying got easier and easier. Eventually, I was able to smile at myself in the mirror, while I said “Leah, I love you”.
Because of this intense beginning with that single positive affirmation, I have always found them to be a powerful tool for me. With time, I moved on to other positive affirmations; always bearing in mind that I needed to say them in the mirror at least once a day, and usually before bed. For about 5 years, my repertoire of positive affirmations grew exponentially. I learned how to craft them from additional sources, such as Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention, Louise Hay’s The Power is within You, and Guy Finley’s The Secret of Letting Go. Looking back at my journals of this period, I found some very beautiful affirmations.
- “I enjoy new ways of thinking.”
- “I believe in my strength in all its forms.”
- “I am the living, loving, joyous expression of life.”
- “I thank my mind and body for healing and repairing itself every day.”
- “I choose the direction of my life and I trust the Universe to make it reality.”
How often and where I said them expanded over time. I would often say them in a mirror; write them in my journal; doodle them during a meeting; place them in my agenda, so I could glance at them while I worked; repeat them in my head while I walked; and practiced them on the ride to and from work. Because I was very shy, I never placed them where others could easily see; it always had to be in a book that I could shut, or, if said out loud, in the privacy of my bathroom or bedroom.
What was important in practicing my positive affirmations was the feeling behind what I was saying. Often, before I began, I made sure that I felt good. I would often practice gratitude for what I had, especially when I first woke up in the morning. So, as I looked in the mirror, like when I brushed my hair, and trained myself what to think, it was from a positive feeling or vibrational state.
Initially, positive affirmations increased my self love. With practice, self love grew into greater self confidence. With further practice, the way I think began to change. I would notice when I was saying negative things and stop myself, then replace them with a positive affirmation. As a side note, at first, every time I caught myself thinking a thought I didn’t like, I would chastise myself for thinking it. But over time, as self compassion bloomed, I stopped being so hard on myself and viewed the processes as uncovering unwanted patterns and replacing them with what I wanted. So now, every time I catch myself thinking or repeating an unwanted pattern, I congratulate myself on recognizing this and, then, I construct the positive affirmation to replace it.
Altogether, it took about 8 years of almost daily practice of positive affirmations to get to a space or place in which I felt comfortable with the majority of the thoughts going through my head and not frustrated by the negative ones still trickling in. It was a struggle for many of those years, but, my perseverance to continue was fueled by my desire to feel better. So, for me it was well worth repeating my positive affirmations in the mirror daily for so long. Sometimes you need to get to a higher vibration in order for a more powerful technique to show itself.