It’s a known fact that people learn by repetition–that repeating information in the conscious state programs that information into the subconscious mind. This isn’t just about remembering a bus number for the rest of your life, or memorizing math facts, or important dates in history though. It’s about having the ability to self-program–to choose–what information becomes part of your subconscious mind–whether it’s a mundane fact or a deeper intention like a mantra or positive thought programming affirmation.
Why is this important? The subconscious mind–the one that performs functions, acts on impulses, and makes decisions that we’d attribute to instinct or intuition rather than conscious choice– actually governs 90% of our conscious thought processes and behaviors. Did you know that? So, by choosing our thoughts and setting intentions on the conscious level, we essentially program how our subconscious minds direct us in our thoughts, actions, and reactions. Sometimes these thoughts, actions, and reactions stay within the realm of our own personal thoughts and emotions, and other times they manifest physically as behaviors or even physical conditions. Thoughts create reality, and affirmations are a powerful tool to help make sure your thoughts create a positive reality.
What are affirmations and how do they work?
An affirmation is a positive sentence or phrase that you repeat to yourself aloud several times throughout the day which states clearly that what you want is already yours. It can be done as part of a meditation or it can be a simple pause in your day where you take a deep breath, simply read or repeat it to yourself, and carry on. While at first it might seem silly, corny, or even a little bit delusional, if you keep it up you’ll then begin to believe that your desired results and feelings are already so. And when you add gratitude to the mix–give thanks for what’s already yours–it magnifies the positive vibrations even more.
How affirmations work has a great deal to do with metaphysics and The Law of Attraction–what you put out energetically is what you get back. Everything that is and ever was is made of energy whether it’s something physical that you can see and touch or whether it’s a thought. Science has already proven that different thought patterns–negative and positive–vibrate at different energetic frequencies. These energetic frequencies are attracted to each other (like attracts like). If your thoughts are negative, then what manifests in your reality will be negative in turn.
This affects everything–stress, relationships with others and how they see you, your levels of satisfaction at your job, your finances, your appearance and your health. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. If your thoughts and intentions are positive, then what manifests in your reality will also be positive. It’s not a fluke that people with consistently positive mindsets are happier, healthier, and more successful. They created that for themselves.
Many believe (and that’s often because society conditions us to believe) that positive people are successful because they are healthy, wealthy, lucky, etc. That happiness and positivity is the byproduct of circumstance, not something that was chosen by conscious action. These same people also believe that people who have a negative outlook on life do so because they’ve had challenges in life–issues in family, trauma, financial difficulty, health issues, etc.
As difficult as it is to believe, life doesn’t have to be a product of circumstance. Society conditions us to react positively to positive influences and to react negatively to negative influences–but unlike multiplication, two negatives don’t equal a positive. They only attract more negativity. The way to stop this pattern in its tracks is to learn to react positively to negative influences. I know it seems counterintuitive, but it’s easier than it seems.
According to Dr. Paul Leon Masters, founder of the International Metaphysical Ministry and University of Metaphysics, “to react is human, to control is divine.” Reactions are governed by the subconscious mind, but with practice through mindfulness, meditation, and by repeating positive affirmations consciously, we can program the subconscious mind to reactive positively to negative influences or circumstances.
These concepts aren’t just teachings of metaphysics–Eastern philosophies that utilize mantras have been doing this for millennia. Even Western prayer-based religions believe in the practice of repetition for a specific goal whether it’s out of devotion, to be one with the Divine, for forgiveness, or salvation. These practices aren’t just for spiritual practice though, they benefit us in everyday life and improve everyday concerns too.
How can affirmations heal your skin?
As I’ve written in previous posts, I view the skin not only as the covering of the internal organs and systems of the body, but as something very spiritual indeed. For people with acne, rosacea, eczema, or other skin conditions, the appearance of the skin governs how they feel about themselves, the words they use to think about and talk about themselves, and how they relate to others.
I remember when I was in holistic nutrition school, one of the teachers, the glorious Iyanla Vanzant, gave a lecture that included a section about the importance of the words we choose to describe ourselves or direct towards ourselves. I don’t remember her exact words but she said something like “you are the first person to hear the words in your head before they even come out of your own mouth, so they’d better be positive.”
I remember when I used to look at myself in the mirror and think to myself “You’re fat.” “You’re ugly.” “You’re flawed.” And those thoughts set the tone of my mood about myself and towards others that day; and if those thoughts happened at night, they often disturbed my sleep and carried over into the next morning, when I’d look in the mirror again and re-confirm those same thoughts. It was a vicious cycle, and the only way out of it was to break it.
Another poignant memory I took from nutrition school was a lesson from Geneen Roth. Again, the topic had to do with the effect of one’s thoughts about oneself, and she offered a question to ask yourself whenever you catch yourself talking smack to yourself in the mirror or thinking negative thoughts about yourself in your mind. Three words: “Is that true?” Whoa. When I started practicing that, it occurred to me that most of what I was saying to myself in my mind in essence had no basis in reality–it was the power it had over me in my thoughts that made it real.
The only way to break that cycle of negativity was to choose to think positively instead, as unnatural and weird as it felt for me to do so. I began replacing those old negative phrases with kind, compassionate, and loving ones. I also began to understand that the power to heal was already within me–I’d already begun changing my diet, lifestyle, and skincare regimen and if I could change a physical routine I certainly could change a mental/emotional/spiritual one.
So I started writing little phrases down on pieces of paper that I’d keep in my purse, car, at my desk, etc. It started out simply with phrases like “You’re beautiful,” or “You’re whole,” or “You’re already perfect just as you are.” It then evolved into full-fledged affirmations which included goals and feelings. It’s a practice I still keep to this day. My skin’s not only clearer, but I now think I’m pretty awesome. Are there still physical things about my body that aren’t “perfect?” Sure. But I no longer care, because there’s much more to me than a dimple here or a scar there–and I know it sounds cliche, but every dimple and scar tells a story, and those stories are a part of who I am. Affirmations changed my life.
Don’t believe me? Try it. You’ve got nothing to lose.
I’ve been practicing affirmations for several years now, and I’ve been incorporating them into my holistic health and image coaching programs for nearly as long as that. I often create customized affirmations for my clients that they can write on an index card, or post as a sticky note on their desktop so that it’s always handy. They work with that affirmation for one month, and then we revisit it and see what progress has been made. Sometimes they stick with the same affirmation for another month, other times we create a new one together. I call these Spiritual Skincare Affirmations.
You can create your own, or if you’d like, I can create one for you–either way, choose to make it a practice every day.
Leave a reply in the comments below and tell me how you’ve used affirmations to heal your skin and how this has changed your life 🙂