Affirmations have been around forever, but I recently discovered some info about French psychologist Émile Coué, who knew how to make affirmations into a powerful and effective magical tool.
What's an affirmation?
Basically, an affirmation is a sentence you say out loud to yourself frequently. The idea is that if you say something often enough, eventually, your brain accepts it as truth. And since your reality is based on what you believe, if you can change your beliefs, you can change your life.
The problem is, you already have some pretty solidly ingrained beliefs. No matter how many times I say, outloud, “I look just like Cindy Crawford,” I know it’s not true. I can say it all day, and it’s not gonna be any more true. If I said it while strapped to a lie detector, it would register as a lie. All my physiological responses would be lie responses, because I’m saying something I perceive to be untrue.
How to change that
That’s the first problem of affirmations, saying something you know to be untrue doesn’t work. Instead, say something that could be true.
“I grow more beautiful every day,” would be a far better choice of words. I could very well be getting prettier every day, and furthermore, I can probably look into a mirror and see signs that it’s actually happening. And if I see so much as one improvement, my belief becomes stronger, and my affirmation, more powerful.
See the difference?
The perfect affirmation
According to Coué, the perfect affirmation is, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.” He didn’t think anything more specific was necessary, since better and better is whatever you want it to be.
I like a little more detail, and furthermore, I adhere to the stansa from The Rede of the Wiccae by Lady Gwyneth Thompson, as given to her by her grandmother, Adrianna Porter. “To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be spake in rhyme.”
Is an affirmation a spell? You’re darn right, it is.
I also prefer “I am” to “I am getting.” “I am” seems more immediate and real, to me. It’s more like acknowledging what I have, than asking for what I don’t yet have. And if you’ve been reading me at all, you can recognize the power in that. Not to mention, the words “I am” are the most powerful magic words you can utter.
So my affirmation would be:
Every day in every way, I am better and better
Healthier and wealthier,
leaner and stronger,
my lifetime is lasting
long, long and still longer.”
The final touch
This part of Coué’s method had not yet occurred to me and it makes perfect sense. He recommended that you say your affirmation out loud to yourself just before you fall asleep at night. Those twilight moments, when you’re just drifting off, are times when our conscious minds are relaxed and malleable, wide open to suggestion.
At first, when I read that, I thought, well if I wait until I’m falling alseep, I’ll only get a couple of repetitions out. Émile recommends 20! But I decided to try it anyway. I waited until I’d turned off the TV and settled down to sleep. Conversations were over, the lights off, the dogs already snoring. And then I began repeating my charm, counting on my fingers. I did not say it aloud. I said it inside my head. I’m considering recording myself saying it, and then listening on earbuds as I drift off to sleep, but so far, I’ve only used this method.
How it went
I got to 18 before falling sound asleep that first night, and I think that’s pretty darn good. Side bonus: It’s an excellent way to shut off the mind chatter so I can fall asleep! But I’ve had varying degrees of success. Sometimes I drift off after 3 reps, then wake up. I just start over when that happens. When I wake up in the middle of the night, which happens a lot, I start again, and it puts me right back to sleep. Normally, I’d lie awake for an hour or more during those nocturnal rousings.
I’ve been at it a week, and I feel physically better, my writing seems to be going even better than before, and finances are steadily improving. I think it’s having an impact.
Not just for bedtime
Émile Coué recommended not just doing this practice at bedtime, but also when you first wake in the morning, before stirring or getting out of bed. He said another good time is during or right after meditation, when the mind is in that same, ultra-relaxed, ultra-receptive state.
Try this out, see how it works for you! And be sure to let me know how it goes!