We each are a composite of positive and negative beliefs about ourselves. While part of these beliefs may lie in our subconscious, they still have the power to manifest in our bodies, our actions, and our health. When we use positive affirmations to change the negative things we believe about ourselves, and free ourselves from the limiters we have placed on ourselves, it can change our lives in some pretty amazing ways.

How do we acquire negative beliefs about ourselves?

Most negative beliefs are assimilated during our formative years. According to UNICEF, from birth to 8 years of age is the time we develop a basis for our intelligence, our social behavior and our personality. This is also the time we take in and store deep within us the negative things that are said about us. Based on these negative ideas we are given about ourselves, we then place limiters on ourselves that hamper us from living life to our fullest capacity.

A common example of a negative message that turns into a limiter is the child whose drawing of something such as a tree does not conform to his teacher’s idea of what a tree looks like. We live in a shame-based society, so most teachers use shaming terms to disparage the child’s drawing. The idea this child internalizes from this type of negative criticism is that he cannot draw. Thus, he limits his creativity to exclude any attempt at drawing, painting, or creative endeavors of that sort for the rest of his life.

An example of how negative messages we receive as a child can impact our health is the baby who was told she was ‘bad’ for messing her diaper. She likely will grow up to have health issues with her digestive and elimination systems. What negative messages about yourself did you receive as a child?

How to get past the negative messages that affect you physically

Motivational author Louise Hay feels the physical ills we have are based on the attitudes we hold. By reversing these attitudes with the corresponding positive affirmations, we can dramatically improve our health. Her book Heal Your Body offers positive affirmations for a wide variety of physically maladies.

How to change your behavior with positive affirmations

For behavioral traits you want to change in your life, you can easily create your own positive affirmations using this guide:

  1. Make a list of your limiters and negative ideas you have about yourself. Most limiters begin with the phrase “I can’t” such as “I can’t draw.” Negative ideas involve ways in which we feel bad about ourselves like “I am a procrastinator.”
  2. Make a second list of what you want in your life instead of these limiters and bad feelings about yourself. (If you are a procrastinator, you want to do things in a timely manner.)
  3. Create a positive affirmation about each change you want to make. State your positive affirmation as if you already own the behavior using the present tense.

For example, if you want to change the fact that you see yourself as a procrastinator:

  • Don’t say – I will not put things off any more anymore. (Uses a negative.)
  • Don’t say – I will do things in a timely manner. (Sets it in the future rather than in the now.)
  • DO SAY – I do everything in a timely manner, or I joyously perform every task in my life in a timely manner.

Next, record your affirmations in your own voice, play them back three times daily, and as you listen, visualize yourself owning the behavior you want to achieve. Your mind cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy when you challenge it like this. You will begin to see your behavior changing in roughly three weeks’ time. Through the use of positive affirmations, you really do have the power to change your life!