Self-Affirmations to Improve Your Self-Esteem
Do they work?
If you have realistic expectations, then yes, self-affirmations can be helpful! They absolutely will not fix everything that’s wrong in your world, so don’t expect that. And they cannot make profound changes in your life without you putting in the work and effort as well. However, they can help you to change your thinking patterns which can be a very powerful thing when wanting to make changes in your self-esteem. If you have noticed a pattern of negative thinking within yourself, self-affirmations might be helpful as a part of the solution.
How do they Work?
Self-affirmations work on the process of neuroplasticity. This is the idea that the brain is capable of changing and adapting according to what it is exposed to. For example, in studies of musical conductors, it has been noted that the portion of their brains that is able to detect small changes in tone is larger than the average because the brain has changed in response to the needs of the job’s demands.
In the instance of self-affirmations, you can trick the brain into believing what you want it to by repeating the positive thoughts over and over again. When you repeat a particular thought like this, you activate the brain pathways that would be activated if it were true. The brain essentially is tricked into believing that this is in fact reality.
What are self-affirmations?
Simply put, self-affirmations are statements of what you’re hoping for in the future. If for example, you’re having difficulty asking your boss for a raise, you might practice the self-affirmation, “I can calmly ask for things I want and deserve”. This may give you more confidence and self-assurance, but you will still need to take the steps to go and ask your boss for the raise. In other words, although affirmations can be a very useful tool to use, you still will need to do the work necessary to get what you want.
Characteristics of a Good Self-Affirmation
The best self-affirmation is one that you’ve made up yourself customized to your particular situation. Put some time and thought into what it is that you’d like to see happen or improved in your future, then you can form an affirmation based on this.
It is also helpful if you place your affirmation in the present, rather than in the past or future. This goes along with the idea that you are trying to utilize the principles of neuroplasticity to trick your brain into believing what you want it to believe is already fact. In essence, you talk as if it is already true so your brain will believe it to be so.
Thirdly, remember to keep your affirmations achievable. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter how many affirmations you say or how much real effort you put towards your goal, it will not happen. For instance, if you want to be a commercial pilot, but you have poor eyesight, no amount of saying self-affirmations or hard work will overcome that for you.
Along this same line, your affirmations need to be believable to you. A lot of times people are tempted to be overly positive. This doesn’t usually work because it’s not believable to you. If you have a poor body image and are using the self-affirmation “I am the most beautiful woman here”, this may not work if you can’t believe that you are that beautiful. It might be more helpful to use an affirmation such as “My body and mind are strong”, “I accept and love myself as I am”, or “I am getting stronger and healthier every day”.
So definitely use self-affirmations as a tool to aid you in improving your self-esteem. But please don’t expect it to solve all your problems. You still will need to work towards your goals to achieve what you want. And don’t forget that if you need help, please contact me for self-esteem treatment.