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Excerpted from The Other Side and Back by Sylvia Browne. Copyright 2000 by Sylvia Browne. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Religion and literature have provided us with many beautiful affirmations."

  Sylvia Browne, The Other Side and Back, Part 4

You determine who you are. You decide what you can and cannot do, what you do and do not look good wearing, where you want or do not want to live, what your priorities are and are not, what you believe and do not believe, and what your limits really are. We all have limits, and you will defeat yourself if you are not realistic about them. But again, they are for you, not anyone else, to define. I am 5'10" tall, for example, so it would be idiotic for me to insist on trying to be a jockey. I cannot carry a tune in a wheelbarrow - that is not determinism, that is just a fact - so why set myself up for constant rejection by running around auditioning for the opera? 

The point is, I say I am not going to be an opera singer, I am not letting anyone else decide that for me... nor would I be willing to go through life feeling like a failure if my parents had had their hearts set on my being an opera singer. Arbitrary expectations are another form of determinism, and they are just as unacceptable.


One of the most important keys for eliminating insecurities and establishing a habit of self-love is the use of affirmations. Affirmations are simply expressing in words what we honestly want and who we honestly want to be as a treasured child of God, and then repeating those words over and over until our subconscious minds accept them as fact so that our behavior will follow accordingly. Through affirmations we can think ourselves healthier, stronger, more positive, prettier, more handsome, kinder, more patient, more confident, more courageous - whatever will help us love ourselves more.

Religion and literature have provided us with many beautiful affirmations, and you will find some of my favorites in an appendix at the end of this book. But please do not hesitate to make up your own. If you are like me, when you memorize something, no matter how gorgeously and truthfully written it is, it can become so automatic that it loses its meaning when you recite it often enough. I hate to admit this, but I cannot honestly say I have never, ever bowed my head and recited The Lord's Prayer without wondering during it where the woman next to me bought her shoes. So by all means learn and use every affirmation you find that resonates in your soul. But your own affirmations, spoken out loud or silently from the depth of your heart, will work the same magic and miracles as anything ever written.

If you are wondering how to start making up your own affirmations, think about the determinism and "negative affirmations" you have accepted as truth. You have learned to believe them because you have heard them so often, right? Well, you can learn to believe their exact opposites if you hear them every bit as often, and that is where affirmations come in. Just as you can find out what you are by discovering what you are not, your first affirmations can be a counterattack to anything and everything negative about your self-image, no matter where it comes from.

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