One of the most powerful tools we can use to change our beliefs and our behaviors is the tool known as affirmations.

Affirmations are simple, short, strong messages that we send to ourselves, by repeating them out loud or silently. Affirmations can also be written.

There’s a good reason why we should master the use of affirmations. If you don’t learn how to choose and use positive affirmations, you will be a victim of the negative affirmations you are already repeating to yourself.

Do you ever catch yourself saying something like, “There you go again, being stupid again. Don’t you ever learn? Can’t you ever do anything right?”

For many people, this is a typical affirmation that runs through their head many times a day.

If you take a look at this particular affirmation, you will notice that it is very, very negative. It says to the person, “You are stupid. You are always wrong, and you will always be wrong.”

Affirmations can be incredibly powerful, whether they are positive or negative. An affirmation acts like a form of hypnosis. It tells the listener how to be and how to behave.

Can you imagine the effect of such a negative affirmation, repeated dozens or even hundreds of times a day, over many years?

When you make the decision to start using positive affirmations, you will be challenging many years of negative affirmations that you have used in the past. You need to experiment and discover the best way that positive affirmations can work for you. There is a lot of information available about how to use positive affirmations, and not every technique is the same. Not every system will work well for each person, as we are all individual.

Still, there are many people who claim that positive affirmations don’t work for them. They try using positive affirmations for a while, and then they get bored, or they give up when they don’t see the results they want right away. Why do positive affirmations sometimes appear not to work?

Let’s get scientific about this. Get out a calculator, or a pen and paper. Now, take a bit of time to think how many negative affirmations go through your mind every hour. How often do you catch a subtle little thought fleeting through your brain that is really a put down of yourself and your abilities. Does it happen once an hour? Ten times an hour? More?

Now multiply that number by the hours you are usually awake during the day. Multiply that number by the number of days you have been alive since you were a child.

The resulting number will give you a rough idea of how many negative affirmations you have said to yourself during your life time. If you are like many people, the number of negative affirmations is a huge, astounding number, perhaps in the tens of thousands or even the hundreds of thousands of times.

Do you have an idea now why negative ideas can be so entrenched in your mind, and do you see why doing positive affirmations for a few weeks might not be enough to turn the tide of your own negative opinion?

For affirmations to work, you’ll have to commit to doing them long enough and often enough. That might mean, repeating your positive affirmations hundreds of times a day for many months. You’ll need to find a way to phrase your positive affirmations so that your mind can accept them.

If you give up on the idea of using positive affirmations, it’s all too easy to slip back into letting negative affirmations rule your life.

You are probably doing affirmations already, you just need to make sure the message you are affirming is the one you really want to hear.

Author's Bio: 

This article was written by self help author Royane Real, author of "Your Guide to Making Friendly Conversation". Discover more self help articles and products at her new website at http://www.royane.com