The idea behind affirmations is that through the repetition of positive statements, we can improve our self-concept, make greater progress on the spiritual path and in general increase our magnetism to success. To progress spiritually, a positive self-concept is essential. For this, the use of affirmations can be quite helpful.
What exactly is a positive self-concept? It is thinking of ourself as a worthy individual deserving of a wonderful life and fully capable of achieving it. Unfortunately, many of us reach adulthood with a negative self-concept, feeling that others are better than we are, and life has little to offer. A negative self-concept occurs when, while growing up, we are criticized constantly or cruelly by our parents and teachers. Having a positive concept about our outer self allows us to identify with our spiritual nature so that we truly feel we are a divine being.
Let's look for a moment at changing our self-concept from a negative one to a positive one. If our physical body becomes weak due to a serious illness, after the illness is gone everyone knows that we can overcome the resultant physical weakness and, through consistent exercise, regain our normal strength again. If, however, because of difficult experiences our outlook on life has become negative, and we feel that we just can't be successful, many people assume this is something that cannot be changed. However, just as we can strengthen the body's muscles through exercise and become fit again, we can also remold the subconscious mind and change its composition through the power of affirmation.
What exactly is an affirmation? As our Gurudeva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, explains, an affirmation is a series of positive words repeated time and time again in line with a visual concept. Such a statement can be repeated mentally, or preferably verbally, many times a day. The idea is if one feels "I can't," he cannot. If he is always criticizing himself and lamenting over what he cannot do, then he can reverse this pattern and change the flow of magnetic mental force, enliven its intensity by saying orally and feeling through all the pores of his body "I can. I will. I am able to accomplish what I plan." Gurudeva calls this remolding the subconscious and gives useful insights to seekers on how to accomplish this: "My devotees succeed by remolding subconscious magnetic forces. They purge the dross through writing and burning past transgressions and current problems and then use positive affirmations."