Affirming yourself and others, too, with positive words

We affirm something when we state it strongly and confidently. It means we are choosing to believe it. Good parents affirm their love for their children every day. Good students affirm that they are good students who know how to learn, remember, analyze and synthesize. Good teachers may think, “The kids in our classroom are infinitely more significant than the subject matter we’re teaching them.” (Meladee McCarty)

Back in the 1970s, Dr. O. Carl Simonton discovered that patients given the same dose of radiation for their cancers had different outcomes. When he researched it, he found out that those who had a more positive attitude generally live longer and had fewer side effects. Affirmations create positive attitudes. His research is now commonly accepted by professionals in all fields.

Affirmations are all over the place! “In God we Trust,” “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Gandhi) “I can do this!” “I am healthy, and my body is responsive.” 

“I am a love millionaire. I never run out of love.” Affirmations must be spoken in the present. If I say, “I will be prosperous soon.” It means that I will have to wait to be prosperous. Claim instead, “I have all that I need, and some to spare.”

Positive thinking and using affirmations are the opposite of negative thinking. Psychologists have found out that negative thinking causes the negative thing we’re thinking about to be more likely to occur. “I can’t do this.” “No one understands me.” “Everything I eat turns to fat,” are all examples of negative thinking, and begin to manifest that world for the thinker. It’s good to change that thinking right away! Thinking, “Nothing good happens to me,” can be changed to “Once you (I) make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It helps to have these positive affirmations to lean on when the going gets rough. My friends and I make up our own affirmations … specific directions for our lives. So can you. But some good ones can be found all over the internet. I seem to get and pass on several every week on Facebook. Google “positive affirmations.” You’ll have about 3,480,000 choices to choose from. There are even visual images to go with the affirmations at some sites, and you tube videos which give information about the power of affirmations too. You can print these out, and put them in a place you go to often so that you can see them, like on the refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, or the inside flap of your notebook. The idea is that you are programming your subconscious mind to think in a positive way, and it takes some repetition.

One of my favorite affirmations is from a French Psychologist Emile Coue, who lived in the 1800s. He’d say, “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote the book, “The Power of Positive Thinking” which has sold millions of copies, and been translated into several languages. Some of his great quotations are:

w “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

w “The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.” 

w “Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” These can be changed into affirmations: “I change my thoughts and create the world I love,” and “I repeat positive thoughts and see them manifest its goodness in my life,” etc.

It’s also good to affirm things we like that other people do. One of the easiest gifts to give, and the most appreciated, is your praise. We like to get compliments and positive reinforcement, but it is also important to give it. It doesn’t cost anything and it helps shape the behavior of the people you give the praise to, at least when they’re around you. That’s why some kids are different in school than they are at home or on a sports team.

Remember the last time you got a compliment? How did it make you feel? It’s been said that we sometimes forget what people say, but we never forget what they make us feel. Let your life be one of creating kindness and joy in other peoples’ lives by giving praise.

Look around you. Are the happy folks the ones who interact with others in a positive way, or ones who keep to themselves, and don’t say much to anyone. You can create a habit of saying kind things to people, including saying, “Thanks!” when someone does something nice for you. Don’t force it though, or it will sound phony. But if you catch yourself thinking, “Gee that person’s hair looks great today,” go ahead and let him or her know. If you saw someone being kind to another, tell them that you noticed and that it made you feel good.

At the very least you can smile at another person. People are more comfortable with people who smile at them than with those who look away from them, or who don’t smile at them. Be the scientist. Learn about people by watching them. Then interact with them, applying what you’ve learned, and see what happens.

“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.” — Norman Vincent Peale

Questions?

Hale `Opio Kaua’i convened a support group of adults in our Kaua’i community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org

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