Affirmations for Alignment

by Adrian W. Hall, MFT, ATR

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“An affirmation is a positive declaration of what is already true in the unconscious and now is ready to be manifested in conscious life” (p. 209).  In this section of the book, David Richo talks about affirmations as a tool to live more fully into our essence.  To me, our essence is who we really are, it is the core part of us that is already whole, perfect and complete.  Over the course of our human lives, that part gets covered by fears, stories and other coping strategies devised by the neurotic ego.

In many previous posts, I have talked about what David Richo believes are the main systems of powerfully functioning in our human lives:  assertive effort and the grace of allowing.  David Richo proposes that we connect our systems of power through affirmations:  “We expend the effort to cultivate our potential, we are open to receive the graces of the universe, and we trust the inner zeal for evolution that makes us want to live and grow” (p. 209).  The effort is creating the affirmation and spending time repeating them to yourself, the allowing is the space created to let the affirmation manifest and the internal drive toward growth is what is held in our essence. 

Ok, now that we have the context of an affirmation, let’s get into the practical aspect of all this. 

Think about this: we all have an inner voice talking to us all the time.  Yup, it is talking right now about what you are reading.  It is saying whether you like what I’m saying, it is making a connection to something you already know, it is thinking about how much longer you will keep reading…you hear it? Ok, why not begin to shape that inner voice to align with the wholeness that is already inside and wants to be expressed in our consciousness?  There are plenty of moments in the day where we could choose what we are thinking about.  Like when you are driving?  Waiting in line?  On hold?  Going to sleep?  Why not put your mind to positive use instead of thinking about your to do list or, worse, things that are worrying you?

Alright, perfect.  Now, how do you pick an affirmation?  David Richo suggests paying attention to things that already call your attention.  Is there a symbol or animal or quote that you have been drawn to recently or that you have seen multiple places?  Is there something that reoccurs in dreams?  Look into the meaning of that for you.  What does it make you think about?  What message does it have for you?  In the last several months, I have seen dragonflies during important moments or during periods of time where significant things are happening.  So I googled the spiritual meaning or symbolism of dragonflies and was blown away by the accuracy of the meaning of it and what has been happening in my life.  That was a great place for me to formulate affirmations to support what was already trying to come through into alignment.  You can literally google “affirmations about ___” and a lot of options will come up. is a great place to start.  Pick a couple that really draw your attention.

When picking your affirmation, remember that you are making a connection between your conscious and unconscious mind.  The unconscious mind does not understand the negative.  Meaning, it doesn’t understand: “I don’t want” or “no”.  So, “I don’t want to be in debt” only affirms debt.  Further, David Richo says:  “The unconscious mind has no past or future or wish.  It understands only here, now, is, am and yes” (p. 212).

Finally, it is important to remember that affirmations are suggestions, so try not to apply the practical mind to them.  No need to worry about getting super literal.  You are blending your effort (conscious) and some allowing to make a connection to what is already perfect in your essence (unconscious).  All you are doing is creating a path for it to come to the surface and for you to live in alignment with it rather than living in fear and the drama/pain of the neurotic ego. 

Like all things, this is a practice.  It requires your attention and some grace (meaning:  you don’t have to try super hard).  You will get better at it over time.  A cool side effect of this practice is that you start to realize the things you are saying to yourself and sometimes it is not very nice!  You start to realize that you can choose your thoughts, which means you realize that you can actually create your reality.  Notice how things around you change as you choose your thoughts more wisely. 

*This post is written in response to a section in David Richo's book "When Love Meets Fear: Becoming Defense-Less and Resource-Full".