The Power of Affirmations
Do affirmations work? How can you unlock the power of affirmations, shifting your own life in a direction that brings greater happiness and appreciation?
I remember times from my childhoods days when I heard my older siblings talk about thinking positively. That “positive talk” was always focused on something they didn’t have, or didn’t like, something they wanted to change.
Years later I dabbled in my own power of affirmations. Once again, the affirmation was focused on something I felt was lacking. Even now I can feel the energy of one such memory, a time of “wanting” that happened many years ago. The agonizing feeling of want, without really knowing what would bring me happiness. It felt as though I was holding a hornets nest, and I was already experiencing the sting of my anticipated outcome.
I did what I could, at that time, to reach beyond my feeling that something was wrong with my life. I did not have the self-inspiring, energy-changing tools I have today, but then even if I did have those skills at that time would I have used those “tools”?
Something out of reach
Affirmations: they are not something tangible. Affirmations are always a thought, intended to shift attention and energy in a chosen direction. Can an affirmation be pictured? Let’s see! I turned to wikimedia to see of the word “affirmations” would lead me to an interesting photo.
The results were less than impressive, but that’s also what I expected. You can photograph an object, but not the desire that lead you to that place. Then I thought of one of my favorite writers, a predecessor to our more modern practice of the power of affirmations. Florence Scovel Shinn wrote a collection of books dating back to 1925 starting with the book “The game of life”. Now her affirmation teachings are available under one cover in The Complete Works of Florence Scovel Shinn. I highly recommend this collection of small books.
I found this image, drawn by the author. It reminds me of my interactions with my own siblings. As I looked at this image again and again I realized that there were many times when something was out of my reach, or not allowed. Bottom line: it sucks being the youngest. being told I couldn’t do something that the other kids were allowed to do.
The Power of Affirmations
As I reflect back to that time in my early 20’s. I see myself sitting alone in my shared apartment, isolated within my thoughts. My first impression was the emotional energy that was clearly still locked in place, even after all these years. It took a little while to realize that I could do something right now through the power of affirmations.
What would I do for my younger self? As I reach out to her, to offer the wisdom and skills that I’ve since developed, I realize she cannot understand what I offer to her. She’s young, but I don’t say that in a negative way. As I watch her I can see her powerful gift of insight, an unstoppable desire to have a deep, intuitive understanding of life. I’ve always loved this about her.
I pondered all the things I could do for her. I could kick away that hornets nest, help her free herself of the pain. No, that would not have helped in any way, in fact it would have taken her away from practicing her intuitive skills. What if I gave her the tools I have today? No, she already has what she needs, the strength of her soul and her own presence. She has her own “greater good”, as author Florence Skovel Shinn had called it. No one can deny another’s greater good, or hold it out of reach. Somehow you and I manage to follow a path that serves us, even if we do not realize it at the time.
What could I give to that younger me?
Love, acceptance, and appreciation. She is the one who lead me to where I am today. It is through her willingness to delve deeply into self awareness that I have what I have today. Then I realized: some days I look at that hornet’s nest I am holding, giving that perspective the drama lead. All the things in life that you and I create are how we exercise our ability to manage our own power. It’s only during those times when we make a moment in our lives bigger than we are that we feel the sting. Can I pause this just long enough to see the strength and daringness she had, being bold enough to even hold that hornets nest? Yes, but only for a moment, and then it’s back to the story of the girl with the hornet’s nest in her hands.
Do affirmations work? Sometimes. What is the secret to affirmations, how can you make them work? It’s simple, but not always the easiest way out of a feeling or place that we want to change. The power of affirmations is found in the definition, affirming what is, giving emotional support or encouragement.
Florence Scovel Shinn shared with us the idea of asking for whatever serves your “greater good”, not just asking for something you think you want. I carry it to a different level, to a place where you can see the value and power found right where you are. Change your own world, and the world around you will change, without effort. The power of affirmations is not about what you want, something that is currently out of reach. The true power of affirmations is strongest when used to refocus your attention back to your own abilities and strengths.
The Power of Affirmations © 2013 Estee Taschereau. About the author: My greatest love is assisting others shift into the comfort of acceptance and appreciation. This relational, open-hearted energy carries into my many interests: photography, symbiotic gardening, long walks, and enjoying nature. Ready for a shift in your own world? Sessions available by appt.
image credits: Florence Scovil Shinn (1869-1940) “Lemme hold the muff“.