Affirmations are part of a creative visualization technique that helps you visualize the way you want things to be. According to Shakti Gawain’s book, Creative Visualization, “an affirmation is a strong, positive statement that something is already so. It is a way of ‘making firm’ that which you are imaging.” If you want to build your self-confidence, you can meditate and repeat “I am confident.” The idea is that affirmations can help you defeat the negative self-talk that holds you back from achieving your goals.
Gawain recommends that any affirmation be phrased in the present tense rather than the future tense. You want to feel that what you visualize is real in the present rather than some far off dream. When thinking of affirmations, Gawain writes that it is important to make positive statements. You don’t want to undermine yourself with an affirmation. For example, say something like “I speak up confidently in business meetings” instead of “I will quit being a wimp in meetings.” The former statement emphasizes a positive change while the latter statement emphasizes that you are a wimp.
While the use of affirmations has been ridiculed on popular television shows like “Friends” and “Saturday Night Live” over the years, there is evidence that affirmations do work. For reasonably well-adjusted people, affirmations can be a valuable confidence builder and act as a pep talk. According to a Psychology Today article, “new research from Carnegie Mellon University provides the first evidence that self-affirmation can protect against the damaging effects of stress on problem-solving performance” The article also points to evidence that affirmations can help under-achieving school kids get better grades. However, other research suggests that people with serious mental health issues may need therapy to overcome some of the things that are blocking them before succeeding with affirmations.
To increase your self-confidence, you’ll want to generate affirmations that feel right and will help you. Gawain recommends that you keep them short for more impact.
Some examples of confidence-building affirmations might be:
- I am confident.
- I am assertive.
- I dress well and look good.
- I can handle any situation.
For business professionals, affirmations might be tailored to specific business situations.
- I speak up in meetings.
- I surface my ideas.
- I have valuable ideas.
- I close deals and make sales.
Whether you want confidence to become a leader in business or to be more confident and successful socially, affirmations can be a useful tool for changing your own psychology. You simply take a little time each day to find some inner peace and say your affirmations. In combination with meditation and other creative visualization techniques you can improve your level of self-confidence.
Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want In Your Life, New World Library, Novato, California, 2002.
Ray B. Williams “Do Self-Affirmations Work? A Revisit” Psychology Today. May 5, 2013