Affirmations – how to become your own best friend!


If we all spoke to those around us the way we speak to ourselves, how long do you think you’d keep your friends for? If it’s so wrong to talk to others that way, what makes us think it’s acceptable to call ourselves an ‘idiot’ (or worse! – even if we feel it’s justified at times)?

Also, do you honestly feel that not saying it out loud means the effect is any less? In truth, the most powerful hypnotist in the world is our own inner voice and what we say to ourselves instantly changes the way we feel, impacts on the choices we make in life and how successful we are. What starts on the inside determines what happens on the outside.

The good news is that having unhelpful dialogue isn’t your fault (you weren’t born with it, you’ve just taken on board things people have said to you along the way) and it’s easy to change, once we know it’s there and we have the motivation. Any resistance you experience represents an opportunity for growth, and will get easier and easier as this new empowering habit becomes the norm.

The process itself

The first step is awareness, until we know what we’re saying to ourselves we can’t change it. Ironically, as we’ve learnt it so ‘well’ most of the time we’re not even consciously aware what we are saying to ourselves. Like anything else (including walking, talking, driving a car or any new skill), it becomes a streamlined habit over time that we don’t even have to think about.

The best way to build awareness is simply to note any negative feelings you’re experiencing and rewind slightly to what you said to yourself to bring on this state. The more you do this, the more aware you’ll become. Otherwise, at random times (e.g. every time you go to the bathroom or make a cup of tea) just ask the question ‘how am I talking to myself at the moment?’.

Next, change HOW you say it. If your ‘favourite’ expression is ‘I’m such an idiot!’ pay attention to the feelings that produces. Now, what happens to those feelings when you say the exact same words in a high-pitched squeak or a Mickey Mouse voice? If that doesn’t make a difference, choose another variation – you will find something which makes the emotion simply drain away. Have fun and be creative!

Once you’ve mastered neutralising your inner voice, let’s move onto turning it into your friend!

The rules for affirmations are:

  • Make them believable (if you’re currently 6 stone overweight, “I am slim and beautiful” may not be feel right just yet – the affirmation has to be empowering. A spark needs a gap, but not too big or else it won’t be able to jump across)
  • Use positive language (‘I am X’, rather than ‘I’m not Y’)
  • State it in the present, like it’s already happening (sentences relating to the future can be useful, but more so when setting goals)

Bearing these in mind, affirmations could include:

  • “Every day I’m becoming a more confident person”
  • “I am becoming a happier and slimmer individual”
  • “I deserve to achieve my goal of X, and I am able to do it”

Other Useful Tips:

  • “Ink it, don’t just think it” – write your affirmation down on a daily basis. Every time you do so, its effect will be multiplied!
  • Select an object you see many times a day (it could be at home or at work – e.g. a photo, souvenir etc). Train yourself to say your affirmation (out loud if possible) every time you see it – after a while this will become automatic.
  • Self-talk has a much stronger effect if it’s worded at identity level (“I am X”) rather than at behaviour level (“I do Y”). Therefore it makes sense for positive affirmations to be at identity level and anything bad (before you stop them altogether) in terms of behaviour.
  • Multiply the effect of your affirmation by using your physiology. If your affirmation is around confidence, stand up straight and feel it too (it won’t work if you’re body is saying you’re not).

As your awareness of your own internal dialogue grows, you’ll notice a lot more how other people talk out loud about themselves. Most people don’t want to appear big-headed, and many talk about their limitations (and what they can’t do). This isn’t modesty (which is not talking about your achievements) – it will rapidly put a ceiling on what they can achieve by becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In a work situation, how much effort do you honestly put in for someone you don’t like? Compare this with your best mate asking you for a favour. By becoming a better friend to yourself, you’ll naturally find yourself aiming higher in what you think you can achieve in life – the importance of this simply can’t be overestimated!

How we talk to ourselves does have an effect, which we know for ourselves by the feelings produced. There is an illusion that we don’t have control over our inner voice – we do, it’s simply that we’ve forgotten that’s the case. Anything we learn can be unlearnt and changed before being relearnt and automated. Like redecorating a house, it may not look and feel pretty during the change but it’s worth it in the end!


NLP Life Coaching LondonAbout The Author 

Paul Brown is a success coach and NLP practitioner who specialises in assisting clients of all ages and backgrounds explore and get what they really want.

Although based in London, he also helps clients across the UK via telephone coaching. For more information (and for testimonials) please visit or his GoToSee profile page here

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