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Why Affirmations are So Much More than Just ‘Positive Thinking’


The world has come to love affirmations – who doesn’t want to feel joyful in the midst of self-doubt, low mood or anxiety?

I should know, I’ve spent years in the past repeating various different affirmations to myself. I remember countless times where I would sit in front of the mirror and repeat over and over: “I am beautiful, I am whole, I am perfect.” The thing I realise now, though, is that is it all about how you use them!

Affirmations are so much more than just positive thinking.

Somewhere in the depths of the ‘affirmation movement,’ I feel the understanding of this beautiful approach to living more joyfully got lost. In my attempts to be more positive, I often used to sit in front of the mirror feeling like a failure. Why? Because I didn’t really, truly believe that I was beautiful, whole and perfect. Instead, I would sit there, trying to force myself to see it; when I felt nothing other than the complete opposite. In those moments, I would even think that I was failing at affirmations; I couldn’t even be successfully positive!

Seeing the Truth: We Aren’t Broken

One day, though, I saw the truth.  Affirmations aren’t about positive thinking. You might think this sounds crazy – I mean, Louise Hay wrote whole books about positive thinking, right? But I see something deeper, now. In the moments where I felt like a failure about using affirmations, I woke up to something profound. You see, we just can’t force positivity.  If we don’t feel it, no amount of trying to change and ‘fix’ ourselves will help. The reason for this is that we aren’t broken in the first place.

Remembering the Truth of Who We Really Are

When we are trying to force ourselves to be positive, we miss a very simple understanding about life. What I realised is that affirmations are simply the truth of who we are.

Our default setting is joy, peace and love. Whatever affirmation we connect to is our innate state. If we want to affirm beauty, wholeness and perfection, we are forgetting that these things are in our nature, underneath any thought that tells us we aren’t already those things.

Experiencing Life Via Thought

You see, as humans, we live in the feeling of our thinking. What this means is that, moment to moment, we experience life via our thoughts. Any idea that we are broken, or that we are not beautiful, whole or enough – that we are not joy and peace – is just a thought that appears in our head, and it isn’t the truth.

We are all born possessing everything whole and beautiful that we could ever want to be; only it’s beneath the thought that these qualities can be found.

Being Aware of What We Think

In this way, we can never be broken. In this way, in fact, it renders forcing positivity pointless. Instead of believing that we need to force ourselves to think differently, all we really need to do is be aware of what we think in the first place!

Our thoughts are not who we are, but actually just thoughts that appear in the mind, before moving through us when fresh new thinking occurs. If we get caught in trying to force positivity, this just gets in the way of the natural process. If we just leave our thoughts alone, knowing that underneath them is our true wisdom – our true knowing that we are really innately joyful, peaceful, whole and perfect – then our thinking will move through and change on its own accord, revealing the truthful wisdom within.

There is nothing to do.

Seeing Affirmations Differently: As the Truth

When we realise that we don’t need fixing, we can begin to live in the feeling of affirmations very differently. Instead of seeing affirmations as just ‘positive thinking’, or something that we need to force, we can stay open to seeing the truth that lies beneath them.

You see, none of what I’m saying means I don’t like affirmations; I love them. I love them because they are a simple reminder to us about our truth. Affirmations are a pointer to who we really are, under all the thought that we are not. Affirmations are everything! They are so much more than just ‘positive thinking’.

Seeing deeper into the nature of how humans experience life via thought, as I did when I gained this insight from sitting and repeating affirmations feeling like a failure, simply shows us the truth about life.

We don’t need to force ourselves to feel joyful, we can know that the affirmations are a reflection of our truthful nature. We can see them as a reminder of our wisdom, and we can remember how life really works via thought that will flow through us, and eventually allow us to land back into our wisdom that we are already beautiful, whole, enough – or anything that we want to be!

As Rumi said; “Look inside yourself; everything that you wantyou already are.”  Affirmations just point us back to this beautiful truth.

Nicole Barton

Nicole is a passionate Wellbeing Ambassador, adoring all things holistic and natural, with a particular passion for the innovative field of inspirational thought. Travelling the globe, Nicole awakened to a profound understanding about life which she now shares through Wellbeing Mentoring and Coaching, helping people make sense of life and reconnect to the truth of who they really are, from the inside-out. She loves the authenticity of helping curious people feel reconnected to life. Visit her at

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