The Collins English Dictionary defines affirmation as: “A statement of the truth of something; assertion.”
Affirmations are a powerful ingredient in positive thinking. They are not statements that you wish to be true; they are statements that you must believe are true.
Affirmations are positive statements describing a desired condition in your life. That condition may not yet exist, but the affirmation is spoken as though it does. A simple example might be: “I am at peace with my life.” This is repeated several times on a daily basis, out loud or mentally, the aim being to program the subconscious mind into producing the desired outcome. They must be sincerely felt, and spoken in the present tense with conviction and enthusiasm.
We carry out such mental programming every day whether we know it or not; the trick is to make this programming conscious and positive. The alternative is to be unaware that we are issuing negative affirmations to ourselves. If you have ever made a mistake and muttered “I am such an idiot”, you have given yourself a negative affirmation. The problem is that any negative affirmation you give enters your subconscious mind and has a harmful effect – it creates your reality.
Positive thinking as a popular psychology can be traced back to 1937, with Napoleon Hill’s bestselling Think and Grow Rich. This book remains important today, although there have been countless similar guides written in the years since on the subject of positive thinking for personal success.
Many books on positive thinking, like Think and Grow Rich, focus mainly on the financial benefits to be gained from altering your thoughts. The reason for this is obvious: it taps into the desire of so many people to become wealthy. Whilst this may be geared to capturing the public imagination, it may also give doubters and newcomers the wrong impression. People buy these books expecting some incredible revelation, and do not expect to be told that all they have to do is start thinking positively.