Many already know what an affirmation is; a statement affirming something to be true or a belief. Some even know how to use them. But there are plenty of people who have no idea what an affirmation even is, let alone how to use one.  In 2008 I was one of those people. 

I was in the midst of undergoing IVF in an effort to get pregnant and trying every technique I came across that might help. I had a friend who told me she could do Reiki for me. I had already heard a little about Reiki being a type of energy healing but knew very little at the time. I was open to the idea and desperate for something to work so I jumped on it. 

For those new to what Reiki is it might be hard to explain but I'll try a brief summery.  We all have energy flowing through our bodies and sometimes those energies can get stuck and become troublesome for our health and mind.  A Reiki practitioner is trained to assist in helping you get your energy flowing better by means of channeling good energy through you.  By having good energy flowing it opens the body up to better healing and peace of mind. 

Anyhow, one of the first things my beautiful and very gifted friend did was hand me a piece of paper and said "Here is your affirmation."  I had zero clue what an affirmation was.  I looked at the paper and it said "I am able to create and sustain a life in my body".  I could have easily just asked her what one was but I didn't want to look foolish. Luckily I sort of figured it out, that I should be thinking or saying this to myself.  I had already worked a little on some visualization work so I figured it was similar, which it is. I laugh a little when I think back on my visualization work because I kept trying to picture my stomach big and all I accomplished with that was getting fat.  Later, I actually made sure I visualized a baby inside.

So armed with my affirmation I repeated it to myself and even altered it to say "I am able to create and sustain lives in my body" so that I wasn't limiting myself to just one life. 

I still can't tell you which technique or what belief in me changed things or why I finally got pregnant but I can say that on my last round my frame of mind was much different and in a better space then previous attempts.

Later, after all the many complications I had with my pregnancy and birth of my son I would find myself in place of loathing and self punishment (I'll save those details for a future blog) but I would start looking for ways to get out of my funk and stumble upon that word affirmations again.  I remember affirmations, I used them during Reiki.  Well, if you google the word affirmations one of the first things that comes up is Louise Hay.  "Who is this Louise Hay?" I thought.  She has books on affirmations and loving yourself...sounds like what I might need.  Even better she had Audiobooks.  As a working Mom with a new born who required so many extra doctors appointments there was no time for reading, but I had a long commute. 

I started listening to her audio tapes that explained how affirmations can help the body heal from many diseases and emotional problems. One of the biggest things I learned was that I was not really doing my affirmations correctly before. The thing with Affirmations is you need to get yourself to a place where you believe what you are saying. Saying them with feeling and conviction sure give them more power. I felt awfully silly saying positive things about myself out loud and would shake my head at how untrue what I was saying was. I stuck with it though, determined to feel better about myself. Eventually I felt less silly and started to agree with some of the affirmations. Now when I listen I get filled with love and really remind myself of how worthy of love I am. I learned affirmations can have a very powerful affect on your life if done correctly, consistently and with the belief that they will work.

Many people think affirmations work like a magic spell. You say them and then poof it happens. So when they attempt affirmations and what they say didn't happen or change right away they stop using them thinking they don't work. Affirmations are a bit of magic but they take time and belief. You have to do the inner work. When saying an affirmation you have to feel what you are saying. Feel it as if it is already true. You may feel like I did and think it's foolish to think saying something out loud to yourself will change your own thinking or make something true but if you keep your heart open to the possibility that you can change your own life by changing what you believe and using affirmations to help change those will be amazed.

So let's see how one might work.  Let's say you don't like your eyes. You're not happy with the color or the little wrinkles at the corner. Saying an affirmation like "I have beautiful eyes, my eyes show me the beauty of the world." Saying this isn't going to change your eye color or get rid of any wrinkles. What it will do over time is show you the beauty in those wrinkles or in that color. You might find yourself thinking, I do have some interesting flecks of color in there or my eyelashes do have a nice curl to them and the shape is pretty nice. Oh and at this angle I look really sassy. Hey, my eyes are kind of nice and beautiful in their own unique way. My eyes ARE beautiful.

I still work on my affirmations all the time and I see a big difference in my life when I do or don't use them; When I let my mind slip back into old beliefs, bad habits and start beating myself up (I am only human after all) versus the days I truly love who I am and see beauty all around me. 

Here are five affirmations that I use most often....

I am strong - I am loved - I am healthy - I am safe - I am divinely guided and protected

For me affirmations are a tool.  A very important tool to remind myself that I have a lot of love for the world and for myself. That this life is too amazing to remain asleep.

I invite you to use some affirmations in your own life and see what it awakens in you.