You can’t go scrolling through Instagram these days without seeing at least a few affirmation posts. Saying things like “I am beautiful,” “I am strong,” “I am brave,” can seem silly. I know I have a hard time saying things like that to myself. Not because I don’t believe/want to believe them. But because it feels odd to say those kinds of things out loud. Why do so many people push affirmations? Do Affirmations work?
Words are powerful things. They are more powerful than some people would like to believe. We can see that power through Self Fulfilling Prophecy.
What is a self fulfilling prophecy? It is the term that was given to how people tend to manifest the expectations around them.
Take for the example teachers who are under the impression that students are “gifted,” will treat the students as such. Gently pushing the kids towards their ‘potential.’ Trust me when I say that kids pick up on adults expectations, positive or otherwise. Students that are labeled as “difficult,” or “trouble,” also live up to that expectation. Reacting to the teachers' treatment of them.
Girls that are told the stereotype that girls cannot do math on average score lower in math. This specific type of self fulfilling prophecy is known as the stereotype threat. Where populations feel pressured into adhering to stereotypes. In order to break this cycle in education more work needs to be done to show that stereotypes are invalid.
Placebo’s are another example of the power of words. Just telling someone that a medication will work makes it more likely to do so. Even if that ‘medication’ is completely fake. It has been seen in many clinical trials time and time again. People who aren’t taking the real medication still have some improvement.
Words have so much power it can be hard to change the ones that we use. Many of us are used to saying things like, “We are not enough,” or “I will fail.” The thought of changing our terms often seems impossible. But like most things, it just takes practice. It takes time for affirmations to really start to take effect.
With that being said, how are you going to talk to yourself today?