Q. What do you mean by “affirmation” and how is it powerful?
A. According to the dictionary, the word affirm means to validate and to state positively. Practically, this defines a nurturing communications style; one in which you talk to yourself and to others in a positive manner. In general, “positives” are more powerful than “negatives.” Positives are a one-step process that creates a picture that you want the brain to follow. Negatives, on the other hand, require a two-step process. Words such as don’t are meant to convey do the opposite of the picture that was just created in the brain. This is often difficult for a mature brain to figure out and may be virtually impossible for the immature brain to compute.
Some have said that by the time the average child reaches adulthood, most have heard between seven and nine negative comments for every positive. Consequently, it is no wonder that many people have no idea how to practice the art of affirmation successfully. In fact, they tend to reinforce unhelpful behaviors by speaking in a negative style (e.g., don’t, can’t, won’t, shouldn’t).
If your parents and other caregivers learned the art and science of affirmation from their ancestors, they likely would role model to the next generation. If not, they likely did not because you can only teach what you know.
In order to successfully validate and encourage others, you need to begin with you—because people tend to speak to and treat others in the same way they speak to and treat themselves. With some informed effort, you can learn how to speak to yourself confidently in a positive communication style; you can incorporate affirmation into your life on a daily basis; and learn to pass along the gift to others.
My brain’s opinion is that developing and consistently implementing an affirming communication style is absolutely essential. All human beings thrive with encouragement. The consistent use of affirmations is a practical and empowering way to encourage yourself and others.