FAQs on Affirmation

Is affirmation according to the Baars-Terruwe Method™ the same as saying affirmations to yourself?

No, it is not. Affirmation is the emotional strengthening of another person through being emotionally receptive and open to the goodness of another person, and revealing that you have been affected or moved by them. It is essentially unconditional love and acceptance of another person on the emotional level.

Repeating “affirmations” can be a way of trying to convince one’s intellect that one is good and worthwhile. While these can be helpful in some ways, this is not at all the same as authentic affirmation, which every human person needs in order to feel good and worthwhile on an emotional level. By definition, true affirmation is revealed through another person.

From the reading I have done, I recognize that I am unaffirmed. What do I do now?

It is important to become affirmed by someone else, whether that person is a therapist or another caring person. First, it is good to find a kind, knowledgeable therapist with whom you are comfortable. Second, it is very helpful to read Dr. Baars and Dr. Terruwe’s books and listen to the available CDs. Learning to live the affirming life means living more affectively rather effectively. That is, the restoration of emotional growth through affirming living comes through the cultivation of being more and doing less.

As a person learns to live more affectively, he or she naturally becomes more open and receptive to affirmation when it comes into his or her life through another person. Born Only Once is a very helpful book to read to learn to live this way. It describes the three-step process of affirmation that provides a foundation for the emotional strengthening of another person. Chapter 7 (Healing Emotional Ills) in Feeling and Healing Your Emotions gives many examples of ways to practice living affectively and in so doing opening yourself to the goodness of everything good, true and beautiful. This is a simple healing process which any person can learn.

I know someone who I believe is unaffirmed. How can I help this person?

The best way to help someone you see is unaffirmed is to be present to them as often as you can. Be there: practice really listening to them, allowing them to be who they are. Let them see their goodness and worth through your eyes, facial expression and body language. Reading Born Only Once and Healing the Unaffirmed will provide you with some excellent information on first understanding the interior plight of the emotionally deprived person, and then helping them through your affective presence.

I'm an older adult. Is it too late for me to become affirmed?

It’s never too late to be affirmed by another person. One can help the process by learning to live “the affirming life.”

Can I affirm my child too much?

You cannot affirm someone too much. However, you can overindulge or spoil a child through giving the child too many things or allowing the child to become manipulative, but you can never give too much authentic affirmation. Affirmation is about receiving the goodness of another into your heart and revealing it to that person through your eyes, facial expression, and body language, etc.

I have not been able to affirm my children. How can I help them now?

Learn to live the affirming life. Find a good, warm, caring and understanding therapist. (Marriage and family therapy is a good idea, too!) Read the different Baars & Terruwe books, listen to the different CDs and understand what it means to have a healthy emotional life. Take time to learn how to “be.”  Reading Born Only Once, if you have not already done so, will provide you with a greater understanding of what the affirming life is and how to practice it. Contemplate the meaning of “denial” – which is the opposite of affirmation — so that you can avoid denying your children and others. As you become affirmed, through living the affirming life and being open to the love of others, you will be able to be affirming to your children.

What is self-affirmation?

It is an attempt to affirm oneself by trying to prove to others that one is good and worthwhile. It may be in the form of striving for success, fame or power, or in denying others the affirmation due them in favor of promoting one’s own importance. It is an unhealthy process which is discussed in Feeling and Healing Your Emotions, Healing the Unaffirmed and Born Only Once

How can I learn to live the affirming life?

The topic of learning to live the affirming life is a very profound one and one that cannot be adequately answered in such a small space. It means learning to “be present to everything in creation” and learning how to live in a more quiet and unhurried manner. Most importantly, it is learning to be. Reading Born Only Once is very helpful in understanding this essential concept of how to live the affirming life. Feeling and Healing Your Emotions and Healing the Unaffirmed are good follow-up books.