Amazing Parents

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Affirmations for Regulation

One of the resources I’ve been experimenting with lately is affirmations. My friends at the Consciously Parenting Project have challenged me to see if I can help my son turn off his amygdala using affirmations. It has turned into quite the experiment.

In the beginning of my parenting journey, I was very, very skeptical of this kind of thing. I knew people who used them and they all seemed a little bit “out there” for me. When I heard my first parenting affirmation, visions of Stuart Smally from Saturday Night Live would pop into my head, making me snicker out loud. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And gosh darnit, people like me.” Right?

Ok, ok. I know. You think affirmations are dorky. They seem silly. You’d be embarrassed to be caught repeating them. A year ago I would have, and indeed did, feel the exact same way. But what I’ve learned is that affirmations can be a dynamic resource.

There is a book called “Your Body is Talking – Are you Listening?“, which was written by Dr. Art Martin. Dr. Martin (who by the way is not the black boot with yellow string guy as far as I know) is a little “out there”. He is. He promotes many ideas that the average person might find difficult to digest, and I am not promoting those ideas. However, he is a brilliant man. And his formula for affirmations is very powerful.

Basically there are three steps to creating a personal affirmation:

1) Identify the belief

2) Delete the old belief

3) Create a new belief

I have been using an affirmation with my son based on this formula. It is intended to help reprogram some of his deeply ingrained negative self-beliefs. Although this is not the actual affirmation that we use, it is a fair example of how one would sound. Here is that example:

When I was a baby
my mother did not feed me
I was tiny and helpless
I needed her
But she did not help me
I began to believe I was a bad baby
I began to believe I was not good enough
Sometimes I still feel like I’m that tiny, helpless baby
Sometimes I still feel like I’m never good enough
But that’s not true
I realize now that I was a good baby
It was not my fault that my mother did not help me
I realize now that I am a good boy
I can accomplish any goal I want
I am good enough
I have always been good enough
Today I am very powerful and healthy
Today I feel love for myself
I can feel love from my toes
all the way to my forehead
Because I love myself
Other people love me too
I am good enough
Today I love who I am

An affirmation like this should be repeated daily for 21 repetitions. That will allow the brain to begin to accept the new “program”. I challenge you to create one for yourself and see if you can stick with it for three weeks straight. Don’t forget, if you miss a day, you start all the way over at number 1! So be focused and be 100% committed to changing an old belief that has always bugged you about yourself. See if you can notice the difference at the end of the goal period. And check back with me and let me know how you did. And in the meantime, my son and I will be plugging away at our own.

“….and gosh darnit, people like me….”

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July 31, 2008 - Posted by | Soap Box

4 Comments »

  1. To affirm means to confirm the truth. Affirmations are not some kind of covert flattery to oneself or others. I’ve tried to use affirmations in some of my relationships, as well as in my own life in recent years. Although this sort of thing does seem “out there”, I remind myself that I am simply repeating the truth to myself.

    Comment by connie | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  2. I LOVE affirmations. I really do. I’m fully committed to the idea that change can occur with intent. Norman Vincent Peale hit the nail on the head all those years ago with concept of ‘the power of positive thinking’. It’s the same if you are sending that affirmation out into the world or digesting it internally. I applaud you for using affirmations to help re-program those negative beliefs that your son owns even though he is of no fault.

    I hadn’t heard that it needs to be repeated for 21 days. I will remember that when I do mine. After all these years, I can honestly say (and know it) that I am smart enough and people do like me. 🙂

    Comment by Jolie | August 1, 2008 | Reply

  3. Although they aren’t sticks, stones nor lack the power to break bones, words are powerful. Verbalized fears often come true. To this day I can relate negative comments made to me from YEARS ago. Imagined words of Jules Vernes and H.G. Wells become reality. We used to believe that spoken words could be spells and many still believe in the power of prayer. Is it so much of a leap then to try affirmations to improve our mental health and patterns?
    (Loved this post btw- if you couldn’t tell from the empassioned response above!)

    Comment by Danny | August 1, 2008 | Reply

  4. I think the difference with the Art Martin style affirmations is that you actually have to delete the old/negative belief and then reinstall a new, more positive one. The affirmations I’ve heard before don’t do that.

    Comment by amazingparents | August 2, 2008 | Reply


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