The Healing Power & Magic of Affirmations

(Excerpt from Affirmations for Empaths: A Year of Guided Journaling by Judith Orloff MD)

I ADORE AFFIRMATIONS because they are simple, quick, and effective ways to stay in your best self and reframe unproductive thoughts. I use them personally and recommend them to my patients. Affirmations are potent tools that can radically enhance the quality of your life.

I consider affirmations friends whom I can call upon when I need to regain my center, reinforce my strengths, or compassionately adjust my attitude. For empaths and all caring people, they are a crucial element of self-care. Affirmations will help you manage the challenges of being sensitive, such as taking on other people’s stress and over-giving, and to embrace the gifts, such as intuition and the joyfulness of connection.

Affirmations are not meant to “emotionally bypass” difficult feelings or sugarcoat hurt with inspiring words. They are positive statements to counter fears, self-doubts, anxieties, and negative stories that replay in your mind. Affirmations help you reprogram outdated beliefs—and they are energy shifters. Words and beliefs contain emotional energy. Affirmations let you say “no” to any thoughts and energies that don’t serve you and help you say “yes” to a new mindset.

As a psychiatrist, I know how vital it is to heal emotional wounds with the proper therapeutic support. However, I also realize that much of suffering is amplified by a lack of self-love. Affirmations let you gently shift the beliefs that keep you from lovingly accepting yourself and others.

When you regularly use affirmations, you can replace shame-based notions such as “I’m too sensitive” with “I am proud of my empathy.” This kind of deceptively simple turnabout in how you view yourself can liberate positive energy and relieve tension you may not even realize that you had.

This book’s central message is: “You are an empathic, talented person. You are ‘enough’ right now, and always have been.” Still, be prepared: A critical voice within will be quick to argue and offer a string of examples to inflame your self-doubts. You might ask this voice, “Really? Will I ever be enough?” Its ultimate answer, no matter how many “improvements” it suggests, is “never.” I profoundly reject this notion. I hope you do, too.

I invite you to set aside all the disempowering stories others have told you about yourself and commit to solidifying your own authentic voice. Of course, in life you’ll have healing challenges of all shapes and sizes, but you are whole and courageous enough to handle them. Let these affirmations strengthen this knowing.

You can apply affirmations in different ways.

  • To reinforce a positive belief you already possess
  • To solidify a shaky belief or behavior
  • To create an entirely new belief that you don’t have yet but long to make your own

If an affirmation is currently more of a goal than where you are actually at now, repeat it anyway. Think of this stage of change as a rehearsal. Sometimes “acting as if” sets more productive patterns into action. For instance, you can affirm “I am enough” or “It is not healthy to take on other people’s suffering” even though you might not fully believe it yet. Your willingness to change is sufficient to set the power of the affirmation in motion.

A key to an affirmation’s success is repetition—this moves a belief from your conscious to your subconscious mind. If you keep hearing a message, it’s more likely to sink in. Repetition lets you practice a skill so it becomes easier. When you stop reinforcing dysfunctional habits, updated healthy ones can replace them.

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Author Information

Dr. Judith Orloff

Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty.

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