Recently, President Nelson encouraged all women of the Church, “I urge you to study the current Relief Society purpose statement. It is inspiring. It may guide you in developing your own purpose statement for your own life. I also entreat you to savor the truths in the Relief Society declaration published almost 20 years ago.” Here's how we can get more from the Relief Society declaration and create our own declarations to change our lives for the better.
What Is a Declaration and How Can It Influence You?
When we think or speak a statement frequently, the mind believes it to be true and will work to support us to become like our statement. This is true for positive as well as negative statements. Think for a moment about negative statements that you might have said or thought about yourself. Those are declarations!
Did you know that the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy? This is exactly where the science of declarations comes into play. When we entertain thoughts about ourselves or someone else, we’re basically making a statement that our mind will respond to. For example, if we’re thinking about a new commitment to eat healthy and how we’re ready to change and become better, as we concentrate on that new commitment, we’re creating a sign on our brain’s neural pathway that says: I love eating healthy. That sign, especially when spoken aloud or revisited often, becomes a declaration. The more often we speak these declarations and revisit that theoretical sign, the brighter and clearer that sign will become along our brain’s roadway. Our brain will react (that includes the subconscious) to the stimuli we feed it.
If this is difficult to understand, just think of the last time you watched an intense movie or read a suspenseful book. If you had been hooked up to brain activity monitors, you would see your breath shorten, your pulse rate increase, certain chemicals released in your brain like endorphins, and even begin to get cold hands or feet as your body prepares for the fight or flight response that we all have to survive. How can we get that sort of reaction from something that isn’t real? Because our subconscious doesn’t know the difference.
Enter the power of declarations.
President Nelson has encouraged us to study the Relief Society declaration, and in doing so and truly working to implement these truths, we can change our life. This is because positive declarations invite more light and goodness into our lives.
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Taking control of our thoughts will lead to an increased awareness of our divine potential and individual worth. Satan’s war on personal identity and self-worth is one of his most important battles. He is using everything he has to make us question our value and virtue. His ultimate goal is for us to question those things enough that we might lose the ability to see clearly and be lured into believing his lies.
The Relief Society declaration states: We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity. Read that sentence again. Now speak the words aloud and change it to first person: I am a woman of faith, virtue, vision, and charity. Do you feel the power in that simple statement? That is the power of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and He wants us all to be absolutely sure of our individual worth.
Let’s study the Relief Society declaration and utilize the components to help us recognize negative declarations that might be part of our life and rewrite them into something positive and powerful.
1. Identify a negative thought that keeps coming back to visit. For example, “I never have enough time to get things done.”
2. Study the Relief Society Declaration and find something to combat the negative statement.
Example: Love life and learning. That is an incredible declaration, especially if we find ourselves complaining about how hard our life is, how we can’t get anything done, there’s no time for improvement, etc.
3. Now change the negative statement to a positive and present thought and add something to it so that it’s much stronger than the negative statement.
Example: I love life and there is plenty of time/opportunity for me to learn wonderful things that will bring me more joy. Or keep it very simple: I love life and learning!
4. Write the positive statement down and read it, say it out loud, and memorize it.
5. Every time that old familiar negative thought comes back, cancel it out with your new positive declaration.
Creating More Powerful Declarations Utilizing the Relief Society Declaration
Now that we understand the power behind declarations, let's try some together.
Negative: “I don’t have any friends.”
Changed to positive: “I am a wonderful friend and I delight in service and good works because I am a child of God.”
Negative: I’m not very good at recognizing spiritual promptings.
Changed to positive: “Every day I seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I am guided by inspiration and I have courage to take action.”
Negative: I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough.
Changed to positive: “I rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand my divine destiny, and strive for exaltation. I am good because I was created in God’s image.”
Take the challenge!
Create one personal declaration today, post it somewhere, and say it every single day for one week. Keep track of your thoughts when you speak your declaration aloud. Pray for help to keep focusing on this positive declaration and be ready to notice and express gratitude for the change because you will see it!
BONUS: 3 Ideas to Make Your Declaration Part of Your Everyday Life
Write with a dry erase marker on your mirror or post the declaration on a paper (even a sticky note!) on your mirror.
1. Create an alarm that goes off every morning and night on your phone with your declaration.
2. When you’re struggling during the day, stand up and say your declaration out loud.
3. Think of your declaration as a way of acknowledging WHO you are and thanking Heavenly Father for your divine worth with a prayer in your heart during the day.
Rachelle J. Christensen is the author of over 20 books, including Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things. She graduated with a degree in psychology and lives with her family on a farm in Idaho.
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