By Daniel Francis
I am asked frequently how I became a personal development coach. That is a multitiered origin story. One of the major factors was my introduction to affirmations. After finishing my undergraduate degree, my goal was to become a doctor. I held on to that belief for so long that I had not realised that along the way, I had lost my zeal towards the prospect of becoming a doctor.
While dealing with my inner turmoil of finding a new direction in life, I held a job to pay the bills. This job did not fit my field of study, nor did it fit my ideal style of working. I was grateful for the paycheque but I did not enjoy my job. Each day met me with a monotonous task but that was only the beginning. The environment at work was a toxic one. The lower staff was treated poorly, and the workload would most times be unreasonable. I found that after only a year of working there, I felt something of a negative cancer spreading daily within me.
I became easily irritable, unmotivated, and complacent. Most of the words that left my mouth were negative. I knew something needed to change but I did not know where exactly to start. Good thing for me God had a plan set out for me. I happened to overhear a conversation between co-workers about a book called The Power of Positive Thinking. The book sounded like exactly what I needed so I immediately purchased it and began reading.
I immediately was turned off by it. Why? Because I could not accept the concept of an affirmation somehow bettering my life. The book claimed that if I repeated positive affirmations to myself daily that somehow life would become better. I thought it was complete garbage, but in my negative mindset, I went full ‘bad mind’ mode. I decided I was going to prove how ridiculous this book was by doing affirmations daily to show how they would have no positive effect on my negative days.
For clarification, an affirmation is a positive ‘I’ statement that you say repeatedly whether verbally or in your mind. It’s meant to encourage you to make what you say a reality or for the least, motivate you to make it a reality. Examples of affirmations are:
I am amazing
I am rich and successful
I am relentless
The book claimed that affirmations work so well because there is a part of your brain that does not know what is real and what is fantasy. Whatever you feed that part of your brain it will accept it as fact. It will also take those thoughts and allow them to affect your feelings and then your behaviour. This is why when you wake up and say “Ugh, I really don’t want to go to work” you then feel upset or annoyed and the behaviour that follows might be sleeping in or hitting the snooze button. Affirmations take a positive approach and encourage positive feelings and positive behaviour.
For my ‘bad mind’ exercise, I chose the affirmations “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “I am strong, capable, and loved.” After only three days of saying affirmations each morning before work for 5-10 minutes, I had to ashamedly announce that these affirmations had a drastic effect on my mental health. It was a strange feeling. After I said affirmations, I felt like I was being charged up for the day ahead. It was like donning metaphorical armour for the battle ahead. My mood was more cheerful at work, I was more motivated and focused. What made this even more remarkable was that my workplace was still the same toxic place, but I had changed.
What I found even more interesting was the great impact the biblical affirmations had on me. When I said Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” I not only felt confident and safe, but I also felt closer to God. It only hit me recently that the Bible can also be seen as a book of affirmations. It is maybe one of the first-ever book of affirmations. This is a firm reminder of how important it is to read your Bible. If you are feeling negativity building and crystalising inside of you, I would suggest trying affirmations, if only for five minutes, before you start your day. Stick with it and see if you don’t feel a change.
LinkedIn: Daniel Francis