Damn It! Just Be You

choiceI was out taking a walk with my dog on this beautiful summer afternoon. The Sun was busy being the Sun. Grasshoppers were busy being grasshoppers. I didn’t see one tree trying to be grass or altering itself to fit in with the other trees. I didn’t see one flower faking a smile.

Yet, we humans, sophisticated as we are, struggle with just being ourselves. We’re often trying to what be everyone else wants us to be, trying not to be what everyone else wants us to be, or trying to be someone else.

We can learn from flowers, grasshoppers, trees. Be who you are, damn it! Now, some will say I don’t like who I am or you won’t like who I really am. I can assure you, you weren’t born deficient and you weren’t born with a big ‘tude. You learned those things and they are just other masks you’ve learned to wear to protect yourself or hide from the magnificent being of light you came to the planet to be!

So, enough with the masks. Enough with the fakery. Enough with the pretense that you’re someone else. Being you is quite enough!

Ray

 

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 25 years studying personal development and especially writing, recording, and using affirmations to achieve his goals. His eBook – The Power to Be You – offers 416 life-changing and original quotes, ideas, and affirmations to take you to new levels of achievement and reflection.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation, Ray’s first novel,  is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leader seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson on Positivity – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday February 23, 2010

Today’s Affirmation:
Today my expectations are high and my experience rises to meet those expectations.

I think it is so important for people to understand that the transformative power of positive thinking and positive emotions are more than just anecdotal experiences had by a few of us. Many in the scientific and psychological communities are working very hard to put scientific and analytical evidence behind these experiences.

While I understand that for some of my readers who have had these powerful experiences, no scientific proof is needed to validate your experiences. There are many people in this world who have trained or are by nature trusting only of empirical data.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is one of the leading voices and researchers in the field of positive psychology. Dr. Fredrickson is the Kenan Distinguised Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the Principle Investigator at the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at UNC.

In 2009, Dr. Fredrickson published Positivity, an easy-to-read and use primer for anyone looking to bring the experience of positive emotion into his or her life.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. Frederick describing her work. This is Part 3 of 3. The other two segments can also be found on YouTube.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2010 Affirmation

“2010 is MY year! This is the year I break free! This is the year I break through! This is the year I break out!”

Dreams Affirmations – The Affirmation Spot for Friday February 19, 2010

Today’s Affirmation Topic: Dreams

  • I am the engine of my dreams. My dreams never give up on
  • me and I never give up on them!
  • I dream my dreams to live them not just to dream them!
  • My dreams are the fuel that powers me to my destination! Today I choose to follow them!
  • I am here on this planet to live not just think about living. Today I take bold action on my dreams!
  • Today I am converting the energy of my dreams into the momentum of action!
  • I am the creator and manifestor of my dreams! Today I am making them come true!
  • Today I allow my dreams to do the driving rather than my doubts!
  • Today I live the life of my dreams while I’m awake!
  • I am absolutely committed to my dreams! Today I make sure
    they don’t get lost in the shuffle of life.
  • My dreams are coming true each and every day!

Stay inspired and keep dreaming!

Ray

2010 Affirmation

“2010 is MY year! This is the year I break free! This is the year I break through! This is the year I break out!”

Dream Big! – The Affirmation Spot for Monday July 27, 2009

Today’s Affirmation

“I am the engine of my dreams! My dreams never give up on me and I never give up on them.”


“There is nothing in the caterpillar,” said Buckminster Fuller, “that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”

Dreams are like caterpillars and butterflies like realities. You might never suspect your dream could become something so real, so vital, so beautiful. Some people think dreams are a waste of time. The wise know that everything that ever comes into being starts with a dream.

In 1961, a young U.S. president publicly stated a dream of his and made his dream a national goal. Although John F. Kennedy did not live to see the day, his dream became a reality eight short years later.

Not every dream is as big as going to the moon. Only by dreaming big can we change reality in a big way. What are your big dreams today? What if you state them to the Universe and boldly cast your intention out into reality. What happens if you do?

What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed?
And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven
and there plucked an strange and beautiful flower?
And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and the author of Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com. He advocates for the potential of the human race. He’s life-long history buff and holds a B.S. in History Education. He’s always been fascinated by alternative views of history.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

Affirmations Under Fire: A Response – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday June 8, 2009

Ray’s Daily Affirmation:

“Focus on the goal…When I set out to achieve something I eliminate all the negatives and naysayers and focus completely on my goal.”
(Download this mp3 affirmation or 100s of others at The Affirmation Spot)





depressionRecently, a study questioning the validity of affirmations (“positive statements”) was published in Psychological Science. The paper entitled “Positive Self-Statements: Power for Some, Peril for Others” was co-authored by Dr. Joanne Wood, Elaine Perunovic, and John W. Lee.

Today I am going to share my own thoughts on this research and would invite mental health professionals, people in the coaching and self-development fields, or ordinary readers who have used affirmations to comment on the topic.

The researchers conducted a study based on the following premise from their paper’s abstract.

Positive self-statements are widely believed to boost mood and self-esteem, yet their effectiveness has not been demonstrated. We examined the contrary prediction that positive self-statements can be ineffective or even harmful. A survey study confirmed that people often use positive self-statements and believe them to be effective.  

Two experiments showed that among participants with low self-esteem, those who repeated a positive self-statement (‘‘I’m a lovable person’’) or who focused on how that statement was true felt worse than those who did not repeat the statement or who focused on how it was both true and not true.

Among participants with high self-esteem, those who repeated the statement or focused on how it was true felt better than those who did not, but to a limited degree. Repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, but backfire for the very people who ‘‘need’’ them the most.

I am always shocked and dismayed by the cynicism that emerges when the subject of positive thinking comes up. This research certainly seems to have awakened a cadre of bloggers and journalists ready to pounce and denounce positive thinking as a sham. I have written often on this blog about the constant stream of disempowering messages that some in media like to produce. I have also written about the whole concept that somehow positive thinking is perceived as less “realistic” than negative thinking. Both of these factors seem to be in play as this story unfolds.

Let me begin by expressing my alarm, not at this study or its results, but at the way it has been heralded in the mainstream and psychological press as empirical evidence that positive thinking is a fraud. Those 20 year old images of Stuart Smalley have been dusted off and pushed front and center to ridicule the practice of thinking positively.

Oprah, Wayne Dyer, and other luminaries in what I would term the “empowered thinking” movement have been chided for their support of such nonsense. Their statements that we human beings are capable of amazing things when we change the way we think have been taken to task as fantasy.

Some Examples of the typical media fair:

Worst of all, people suffering from depression and other negative thinking disorders have been told that thinking positively is bad for them and it should be avoided because it will make them feel worse.

I have been in contact directly with Dr. Wood. It is my belief that she and her colleagues are trying to conduct honest research and find honest answers to honest questions. After reading and digesting the paper that resulted from their research, I am convinced that the flaw lies not in the researchers’ intentions, but in the selected methodology. Dr. Wood, based on her writing, agrees that specific statements may have more efficacy than the general “I am lovable” statement used in the experiments that led to the paper.

“Moment by moment, brick by brick, I am building a life full of things more important to me than my problems.”

This topic is very near and dear to my heart. I don’t speak as an outsider on the topics of affirmations or severe depression. 20 years ago, at the age of 25, I nearly died due a severe depression and undiagnosed Addison’s Disease. The fact is I should have been dead. My electrolytes were below levels capable of supporting life. I had eaten nothing and drank little for weeks and I was down to 96 pounds. My father had to carry me into the hospital emergency room. Every cell in my body hurt and I wanted to die to escape the pain – physical and psychological that I was feeling.

Affirmations were an absolute mainstay in my climb from that deep, dark place. They remain a key part of my success today.

optimismWhen I encounter someone who is suffering from depression, anxiety, or other difficult life situations; it’s not theoretical to me. I understand what they are going through. I know the struggles I had for years after that hospital visit. I know the hard work and determination it took to change my thinking and change my life. My passion is to help people who suffer from these conditions to get better and live the life they came here to live.

That’s why I started The Affirmation Spot. That’s why I spend a couple of hours every day tweeting affirmations for people on Twitter. That’s why messages of disempowerment and “you can’t” being delivered by the media and mental health professionals bother me so much. I know it feels like you can’t sometimes, but you can! It’s not hyperbole, magic, or a scam. It’s the truth. I did it and so can you!

I applaud Dr. Wood and her colleagues for tackling this topic and attempting to put science behind what my experience and that of so many others clearly demonstrates.

However, the study failed to grasp the process required for affirmations (“positive statements”) to impact the thinking of a depressed person. Subjects were questioned about their mood during the cognitive dissonance that is always sure to occur during an attempt to shift thinking. I know this personally, as I have encountered it many times. In fact, every time I use affirmations to pursue some new goal I encounter cognitive dissonance.

The research apparently took place in a single instance. Affirmations take time, repetition, belief, and commitment to impact and replace negative thinking. There is no evidence that study participants had any commitment to change their feeling of “not being lovable” by use of the affirmation. They certainly did not have time for repetition to have its effect.

The measurements in this study were akin to measuring the muscle growth of someone after one workout in the gym.

As someone who turned my life around using affirmations and other tools and now works to help others do the same, I can state that this research is preliminary, incomplete, and far from conclusive.

My view is that the research should continue and that a methodology conducive to a true study of this question should be devised to examine the validity of these findings. I suggest the following criteria as a starting point.

  1. Clinical Trial – conduct a real clinical trial using real psychological patients rather than grad students. There should be a controlled group or perhaps even a comparison against other treatment options.
  2. Decision – participants should be people with a a commitment to changing their negative beliefs, thoughts, and habits. Affirmations are just wishful thinking without a decision to change. Without this commitment, neither affirmations nor most other treatment courses will work.
  3. Time – affirmations are just like an exercise program. It takes time for the results to be seen. The affirmations have to be used, as with any other treatment, over a period of time and progress in mood and behavior monitored for positive change.
  4. Targeted Change and Affirmations – both the thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors to be changed must be identified and affirmations specific and appropriate should be used. “I am lovable” is a nice sentiment, but a a weak affirmation to produce real change. The goals to be achieved, obviously, have to be realistic.
  5. Multiple Content Types – The affirmations should be delivered audibly, verbally, and visually to account for varying learning styles. I also recommend what I call holographic affirmations – first person, second person, and named affirmations. First person affirmations are said to obtain ownership of the affirmation. Second person affirmations are used as thought replacement because the overwhelming majority of negative thoughts come into our minds as “you” statements. Name affirmations get the person’s attention by using the sweetest sound in the language – their name – as a cue.
  6. Reinforcemnt – progress must be reinforced to solidify the positive, empowered thinking we want to achieve. There are a lot of competitors to fill the voids of our thoughts and emotions media, family, religion, government, etc. If we are not encouraging and reinforcing the thoughts of our choosing, someone else will fill that void. That is how most people wound up being LSE in the first place. They listened to others about how they should feel and think about themselves

This study and the media feeding that has followed leaves millions of depressed people with the impression that thinking positive, empowering thoughts is not a viable solution for them. I am living proof that this is not so.

The idea that these people should be left to wallow in the realism of their depressive thoughts is a sad and unwarranted message. Yes, change is hard, but change is part of human potential. To tell someone obsessed with negative thoughts that thinking better thoughts is “dangerous” or “fruitless” (as many articles about this study have) is the height of irresponsibility.

I would hope that this research continues along the lines described above and that studies measuring the true efficacy of affirmations as a tool can be conducted. 20 years of my life and my interactions with many, many people tell me that such research will demonstrate that sensible positive thinking is an option and a way to the light for those suffering, as I once did.

In closing, I have one simple question. Regardless of the situation you are facing in life, are you going to have better results facing it with the burden of negative thoughts or with the empowerment of positive thoughts? The answer is clear. Positive thoughts are not the enemy. Negative thoughts are the problem. We need to keep that in perspective.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Who Controls Your Happiness and Success? – The Affirmation Spot for Monday June 6, 2009

Ray’s Daily Affirmation:

“I make my world. My world is what I make of it and I choose to make it a happy place to be.”
(Download this mp3 affirmation or 100s of others at The Affirmation Spot)





Thought:Whoever or whatever controls the criteria for your happiness and success, controls your happiness and success.”

raised_arms_horizonThink about that statement for a moment. Now consider who or what is setting the criteria for your success and happiness in life? Is it you?

Giving up control of your happiness and success has become a common trap in our society. People allow institutions, other people, or their own rigid beliefs to limit or squelch their happiness and success. The barriers become so many and so high that hardly any happiness or success can be enjoyed. Sadly, many people do not even realize they have done so.

Advertisers, politicians, and religious institutions are often active players in asking people to cede their happiness or success to the criteria they set. They set a standard and rely on fear, base instincts, and subconcious/unconscious programming to embed their controlling messages. We can have tremendous reason to be happy or feel successful, but someone is telling us that we cannot be, until we…[fill in the blank].

Here are a few examples of the conscious or unconscious criteria that begin to impact our ability to achieve and enjoy happiness or success. Sometimes these criteria even have noble purposes or great goals behind them, but they are not reason to put your enjoyment of life on hold.

  • “I drink beer brand A because I can only be happy if I have the attention of attractive women.”
  • “I can only be happy as a size 4 because when I look in the magazines that’s who gets the attention.”
  • “I can only be happy when I have a bigger house or more clothes.”
  • “I can’t be happy because I’m an imperfect sinner and not worthy.”
  • “I can’t be happy until all poverty is wiped out.”
  • “Success means having a foreign sports car and a summer beach house. I’m not a success until I have those.”
  • “Success means having a championship ring. All my accomplishments are nothing without that.”

Sometimes we give other people the power to set the criteria for our happiness or success. Sometimes they will it away from us as a means of control.

  • “I’ll never be happy until I’m one of the popular kids.”
  • “I can’t be happy until my son is married.”
  • “I cannot be happy as long he is the president.”
  • “I can only be happy when my husband or wife approves of me.”
  • “I cannot be happy until I have my dad’s approval.”
  • “I’m not be a success until I prove to “them” that I am a success.”

Our words have power! And when we place preconditions on our happiness and success or allow others to, we lose. Our lives pass by unfulfilled.

All of these things are worthy goals when you choose and pursue them on your own accord. It’s fine to work to change who is president, to make your spouse as happy as possible, to purchase clothes that you like. What’s not OK is to allow these things to be criteria for your success or happiness.

There is no secret, objective happiness gained from being a size 4, a millionaire, or having your dad’s approval. Of course, the easy proof of this is that there are plenty of unhappy size 4s and happy size 18s, there are miserable millionaires and happy janitors, and there are just as many unhappy people who have dad’s approval as don’t.

Goals are fine. Aim for the size 4 or the million dollars. Just don’t make it prerequisite for enjoying a satisfying life. When you do you are placing your hope for happiness or success in an external, future condition that does not even guarantee the success or happiness when achieved.

You are allowing your experience of happiness or success to be held hostage to these criteria. You are placing your happiness and success at the mercy of subjective criteria and circumstances set and controlled by others. Why? Your happiness and your success are right here for you to access and enjoy right now.

Thought: “Happiness and success are not matters of fate,  faith, or circumstance. They are states of mind that we choose or reject.”

The keys to owning your own happiness and success are fivefold.

  1. Identify –  recognize the areas of your life where you have allowed someone or something outside of you to set the criteria for your happiness or success. Make a list if it helps you organize your thoughts.
  2. Reclaim Control – take responsibility. Your happiness and success are yours. That entails some responsibility and it is one reason many people give it away to begin with. Recognize that you gave control over your success and happiness away and you can take it back. When other people or institutions have had their control over your success or happiness for a long time they may fight to keep it through guilt or other means. The fact is your happiness and your success belong to you not to them. Claim it!
  3. Lower Barriers – some of us have a difficult time accepting and claiming our happiness and success. You may not feel worthy of these feelings. Even when you gain back control you may establish impossibly high barriers for yourself or continue to use the criteria established for you by others. This gains you nothing. Become friends with the idea of you having success and happiness in your life. If there are hidden emotions or thoughts that are preventing you from enjoying them, get some support or use techniques to identify and handle what is holding you back.
  4. Experience and Enjoy – when you are in control of your own happiness and success and you have an easy, comfortable relationship with them; life is good! Experience your happiness! Celebrate your successes! Share and spread your happiness and success with others.
  5. Help Others – when you experience the emancipation of owning your happiness and success you will want to help others do the same. You will become easily aware of the ways in which people let these influences rob them of their best moments and achievements. There is no reason for us to live in bondage to other peoples’ expecations or criteria. We are as able as they to determine what makes us happy or successful and far more entitled!

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Be Among the Greats Today – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday June 16, 2009

Welcome to The Affirmation Spot. If this is your first time to the site, be sure to click one of the subscription options (top left) to be notified each time the blog is updated.

Thank you for visiting. Tell your your positive-thinking, motivated friends and your not-so-motivated friends about the blog. There is something for everyone.

There are direct links to downloadable mp3 affirmations at The Affirmation Spot.com on the right menu. They are set to music and allow you take positive thoughts with you wherever you go all day. Enjoy today’s post.


green_leaves_sunlight.jpgToday’s affirmation:

“Your life is coming together in a complete and perfect way. You are doing all that is necessary, accepting all that is necessary, and releasing all that is necessary for your life to come forth and blossom. Give yourself credit for your accomplishments; cut yourself some slack for your mistakes. Know that all leads to your growth and healing. Be happy an enjoy life!”

When you accept that your life is coming together just as it should, you are free to challenge yourself to stretch beyond your limits.

On my journey this day, I follow in the footsteps of the immortals. The imprints they have left behind on the Earth are large and their strides are a stretch for me. Yet, if I dare not encounter them and measure myself by them, how shall I ever know the true immensity of my own being?

So, I step consciously into the light; walking the path they once walked. Leaving it, occasionally, and improvising. Adding to it qualities uniquely my own.

Breathing with the trees and conversing with the clouds, as once they did. Our collective wisdom grows until no distinction remains among the path, the immortals, and me.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” ~ John Ruskin

Right now is the time to open yourself to the possibility of ignoring limitations and going beyond self-imposed boundaries. For the fear and anxiety you experience are nothing but the shadow of unfulfilled promise.

arms_stretched.jpgThe world is full of opportunity and peril and a little of each in the other. It is ever forming and reforming; manifesting in precise accordance with our expectations. For your world lives in your mind long before it becomes visible; shaping itself to your perception of what is possible.

What is set in stone today is the dust in tomorrow’s breeze. Remember you are creating tomorrow’s results with every thought, word, and action today. Change is the catalyst for your betterment and your imagination its only limitation. Make the most of this blessing given you to personify the fruition of the promise that dwells within.

Each moment is a gift providing you with a fresh start on which to build a life filled with things more precious to you than your problems.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”