"Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. Self-affirmation may also help to mitigate the effects of stress" (mindtools.com).
With regular practice of positive affirmations, you will see they help to shift thoughts and focus to desirable outcomes. While positive affirmations (if you believe them) can lead to personal growth and positive results, if you allow them, they can also lead you to address the negative or irrational beliefs you hold for yourself. For someone not used to using positive self-affirmations, beginning can be awkward and inconsistent. It is important that if you truly desire to work through negative or irrational self-talk/beliefs, that you allow yourself patience to work through the awkwardness, inconsistency and doubt. It is amazing how someone may want to have a lot of money, but not believe they are worthy of having a lot of money. Or, someone may want to start a non-profit while simultaneously thinking or believing their talents will not positively impact the world.
So on the road to using positive self-affirmations, you will possibly find yourself not only repeating positive statements, but working through the irrational conscious/subconscious beliefs that feeds negative self-talk. Like, you can't want positive outcomes with negative thinking. Warning-- addressing negative beliefs about yourself may not feel good, and you may or will become afraid of what you may see. It is important that you utilize or seek support(s) to help you process your metamorphosis.
A way to look at using positive self-affirmations, is not focusing on the outcome or results; not doing your affirmations, but becoming your affirmations.
An exercise you can try:
1. Take some time to just observe your thoughts-- become aware (or more aware) of any beliefs or thoughts about yourself that may not be serving you.
2. Explore your belief-- identify how this belief may be triggering other beliefs and behaviors; identify if this belief was formed from a core belief that you hold.
3. Identify an opposite but self-serving statement that can help you to start shifting in to a thought/statement that is self-empowering.
4. Practice this thought/statement: take some time (may be at the same time of day for at least 4 out of 7 days) to repeat this thought/statement out loud to yourself-- may be while looking at yourself in the mirror. Or you can find a quiet place and silently repeat this thought/statement to yourself, while focusing on your breathing.
5. Do this for a minimum of 21 days.
Please remember, utilize your support(s), it can be helpful to share your process with a trusted friend/family member.