How To Use Affirmations & Self-Affirmation

One of the consequences – as most of us know – of breaking up is that your self-esteem can take a beating. You don’t feel too good about yourself; in fact, you might even think your life is over!

One of the ways you can deal with this is to use affirmations.

You’ve probably heard of affirmations, in the context of positive thinking or positive mental attitude. Indeed, some authors say that with affirmations you can achieve almost anything.

positive affirmations
Find positive affirmations and say the to yourself – it will make you feel better!

That may or may not be so, but we do know that repeating positive statements about yourself with conviction for three to four weeks can change how you feel. (The same is true of expressing gratitude, which also seems to have a powerful impact on people’s optimism and state of mind.)

Classically, affirmations would be statements like these:

  • Everything I need comes to me easily and effortlessly.
  • I attract fulfilling and mutually supportive friendships.
  • I deserve pleasure and fun in my life, and I find it it happens for me all the time.
  • I am my own person, and I choose how to think and behave.
  • I enjoyed boundless love and happiness within fulfilling and wonderful relationship.

Classically, affirmations are designed to be written and spoken in the present tense, so that you can imagine that what you are trying to manifest has already happened. Of course to have emotional power, an affirmation has to be something that really meaningful and personal to you.

Affirmations are also to be used in the positive sense, for example: “I enjoy a healthy lifestyle”, not in the negative sense of “I am no longer going to sit in front of my television like a couch potato.”

Effective Affirmations

To be effective, affirmations need to be used when you’re feeling positive, not when you’re feeling distressed or extremely negative, because then they may be hard to accept on any level.

You need to have at least some belief in the truth of what you’re saying for it to be effective.

If you’ve broken up with an ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend, and you’re looking for a way to get back together with your ex partner, or more specifically want to know how to get your ex back, you could use affirmations.

Try looking at those aspects of yourself which may have been part of the causes of the breakup; this is a useful technique. For example, you might believe that part of the reason you broke up with your ex-partner is because of some aspect of your personality, such as your intolerance and impatience.

But rather than saying to yourself as an affirmation “I will no longer be intolerant and impatient” you would say to be positive and specific – for example, “I am accepting of other people’s views and I find it easy to relax and listen to what they say in a calm and centred way.”

This can be a very powerful and effective technique.

If you’re feeling down and depressed with low self-esteem, saying an affirmation such as “I am a wonderful person with a lot to offer and give to everyone who loves me” can be a good way of helping yourself achieve a state of mind in which you’re much more likely to get your ex back.

So yes, the technique comes recommended, but there is another aspect to this.

We know that a lot of the current popularity of affirmations is because of books like Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, and Wallace Wattle’s The Science of Getting Rich.

Perhaps the use of affirmations reached its zenith in Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life, in which she set out affirmations designed to change every aspect of a person’s underlying thought patterns.

She was relying on the same principle that sustains our belief in affirmations to this day: negative and harmful thought patterns underlie behaviour patterns which are destructive to your well-being. And by changing the thought patterns through your affirmations, you can change your behavior, and so eliminate – in this context, at least  – those behaviors which might been responsible for you breaking up with your partner, or your partner breaking up with you.

Unfortunately in 2009 some research seemed to suggest that for people with really low self-esteem, affirmations could be harmful because they seemed so unbelievable that they actually lowered person self-esteem even further.

It turns out that people who have high self-esteem will feel better when they use affirmations, but affirmations can be a risk that if they do not ring true for you, because they bring to mind exactly how unsuccessful in love you are! (Well, you have broken up, right?)

So there’s another way of doing this which is guaranteed to produce positive results: it’s called self-affirmation.


The research behind the idea of self-affirmation shows they can work well because you focus on values that are personally relevant to you, rather than anything which might be hard to believe in your current position (e.g. “I love other peopel and treat them with respect” rather than “I am a loving and well-balanced person who attracts love into my life”).

Other benefits of self-affirmation seem to be that it reduces stress, improves health, and reduces defensiveness – very important if you’re working on getting your relationship back together!

So What Is Self-Affirmation?

Basically you find things which reaffirm the way you see yourself – for example, as a good or moral person, perhaps, or as a person who has a lot to offer because you live a life of compassion and integrity.

You’re looking for your values (check out a list of them here) – that is to say the aspirations which you would like to live in accordance with: examples would be things like living a healthy life, treating others with respect, and so on.

By highlighting the strengths you feel about yourself in this area, you can offset your negative feelings in another part of your life – such as your low self-esteem because you’ve broken up with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend!

By highlighting your values to yourself, you will feel better about yourself, bring about a change in your perspective away from the negative aspects of your life (which in this situation, are obviously the fact that your relationship has ended, and that you’ve broken up with your relationship’s ex partner.)

You can make this a reality by reflecting and thinking about the personally relevant values which you hold dear, and the way in which you express them.

Illustration of personal values.
Find the things you most value about yourself and focus on those!

These are things you can be proud about, things about which you can complement yourself. By doing this, you bring about not only reassurance, but you also affirm the fact that you really can solve problems, bring value to the world around you, and genuinely have personal power in various areas of your life.

You could start identifying your values by writing a list of values that are important to you in different areas of your life. There’s plenty of research which demonstrates that this kind of self-affirmation can protect you against the negative effects of stress.

Presumably this shift in feeling happens because you feel good about yourself when you think about the things you hold dear and the way in which you exemplify them in society and your life.

Self-affirmation really does work – for example, research has shown that women who engage in self-affirmation are much more likely to lose weight effectively and achieve their desired body shape when they’re on a diet than women who do not use techniques of self-affirmation.

And although that may sound superficial, the level at which self-affirmation works seems to go even deeper than this: it appears to affect the chemistry of the body.

Even though we don’t know for sure how self-affirmation works at the moment, it’s definitely worth trying if you are looking to get your ex partner back, and you don’t know how to do this!

In short, self-affirmation is a way of increasing your self-esteem and making yourself feel better. And that’s what we all need after we’ve broken up, especially if we’re trying to find out how to get our ex back!