When I was in college my mom bought me a kitschy little pack of Gift of the Goddess Affirmation Cards for Christmas. The cards had phrases written on them such as, “I have the power to transform my life”. The idea being that if you repeat the phrases to yourself and affirm them in your mind, they will manifest in reality.
Now, there are those in life who love this type of thing and those who find it to be a hoax. I am learning that whether it is the goddess, the universe, or a neurological process to credit, affirmations are actually a practical strategy for achieving one’s goals. Sports psychologists have shown that athletes who envision their success are more likely to achieve it. This makes sense because once an outcome is in sight it is much easier to move toward. The idea of the affirmation can also be compared to the sketch an artist draws prior to painting on a canvas. As per the affirmation written above, if you envision yourself with the power to transform your life, you are more able to understand how to acquire power and use it to serve your needs.
Affirmations can also be outlandish and fun, like a game between the mind and body where both parties win in the end. That is to say, they don’t have to be practical to be useful. I enjoy this game when I am practicing yoga because the type of yoga I practice is designed to test ones physical and mental strength. It takes place in a room heated to 105 degrees that is packed wall to wall with other sweaty practitioners. The teacher dictates the postures and determines the pace at which the class moves through the series. On any given day just breathing can be a challenge, compounded by muscle soreness, heat exhaustion, and the distractions of those around you. The hardest part for me is during a series meant to strengthen the back. I am exhausted, hot, achy, red in the face, and feeling somewhat trapped. Of course, this is all part of the practice; success is measured by the ability to overcome these barriers and stay with the class. So, despite that every logical bone in my body is telling me to leave the room, I affirm to myself, “I love the back series...this is, by far, the best part of my day…I can’t think of anything I’d like to be doing more right now than lifting my limbs of the ground using only the strength of my spine…” and so on and so forth; the more elaborate the better. The crazy thing is that the spine series truly becomes fun. By affirming my attitude, I transform my mentality toward the situation. Often a smile appears on my face and the pain I was enduring minutes before gives way to a feeling of frivolous joy. Rather than deteriorating, my postures improve.
Affirmations come in all shapes and sizes. They can be general or specific, a vision or a word, a one-time phrase or a life-long mantra. What ever it is, the power comes from the belief in one’s ability to achieve his or her hopes and dreams. After all these years, I have yet to lose track of the Gift of the Goddess Affirmation Cards. Silly as the phrases may be, they have proven to be quite useful and have inspired a whole new wave of affirmations to behold.
If you'd like to test out the affirmation for yourself, then today, as you go about your business, take a second to say one in your mind. It can be anything at all, playful or serious. If nothing else, it will bring a smile to your face. Mark my words!