If affirmations aren’t working for you? What will?
QUESTION for you. What’s your take on affirmations? 🤨 You know…the process of affirming something or stating something as true. It works along the lines of if you tell yourself you’re a bad ass entrepreneur, then you’re a bad ass entrepreneur. Or if you believe you can run a marathon under 4 hours, you will.
I know peeps who affirm stuff as a way to ‘making it so’ and they say it works for them. That’s cool, crack on. But, for me, it simply never has. My inner dialogue rebels with something like this… ‘that’s a load of old tosh Josie, you don’t believe it, you know it, I know it’. My Self would call me out on it every time. No silencing it, even if I gave it a very stern talking to… like literally out loud asking it to shut the front door. Nope, not happening.🤯
As a practicing meditator and yogi, this inner struggle troubled me. What the hell? I must be some super-negative loser? What’s wrong with me? Get back to your yoga mat and do 10 plank push ups Josie! 😔
And then I read this and I literally fist-pumped 👊 🤜 myself out of my meditation seat.
“Affirmations are like screaming that you are ok in order to overcome the whisper that you’re not.” PEMA CHODRON
Truth bomb! Boom! This sentence was landing squarely on the runway of my central nervous system and taxing right home to my heart and soul.
Huzzah. There I had it… acknowledgement that affirmations should, well, at least be handled with care..☢️
If you tell yourself fibs, you know… BS on yourself, it’s gonna flare up in your physiology somehow. Those icky feelings of stress and dis-ease, you can’t affirm that stuff away. And, as it happens, according to author Danielle LaPorte, you shouldn’t have to.
In her book Desire Map she says it straight (which is how I like things served as it goes).
“If you say that all is well when all is not well, or that your skinny when you’re feeling fat, or that you’re healthy when you’re sick, well, to state the obvious, you’re lying to yourself.”
She goes on to say:
“Self-deception creates a cognitive dissonance so that, despite the positive-sounding phrasing, you’re creating inner tension and conflict.”
That was exactly my experience, right there. And suddenly a huge weight lifted.🏋🏻♂️ I even let out a sigh writing it out for you here just now. Relief with a helping of validation. Somebody else sees it like I see it. You could say I was chiming.
According to Danielle, contrived affirmations take us out of the present. They undermine our capacity to be with what is and to access our real strength and spiritual maturity.
After very little digging, I also found this psychological study that throws some science on the situation.
It found that if you already sure of yourself and super confident then affirmations can be a powerful way to keep you on track, or even push past perceived obstacles or blocks.
However, if you’re feeling low, unsure of yourself, or depressed, affirmations can make you feel worse.
Bingo!🤩 Affirmations work for some, but not for everyone. Who’d have thought it eh? We can’t all take the same fix all advice and expect to get the same results. Oh boy! Once again, it comes back to how beautifully unique we all are. We simply have to take individuality into account. And something not working for you does not mean you are some kind of loser weirdo who doesn’t get what everyone else finds of value.
So, what’s the yogi lesson here. I’m not that saying you shouldn’t give yourself a good pep talk or be your biggest supporter. Far from it. I believe in the benefits of positive self-talk. But there’s a way to maintain your integrity here too, if like me, you can’t kid a kidder, and you don’t want to – actually!😇
Let’s get to the meat here then… If affirmations don’t work for you? What will?
Here’s how to find your positive voice in 6 easy steps, without fibbing to yourself.
(Inspired by The Desire Map. Go read it – it’s a great book).
Step 1: Go neutral before going positive.
Start with truths that will build some inner trust with your Self. Root into what you know to be true first, before going ahead and making any bold statements that you’re not ready to accept on blind faith.
For example, swap…
Money flows easily and abundantly too me.
…with something that your unconscious accepts as true.
I’m making a living. It’s enough for now. I’m working on how I can improve my financial picture.
Step 2: Layer on your desire.
So, in this example we’d try something like this…
What I really want is to grow a super successful business that’s of value, worthwhile and has potential to give me financial security and a super adventurous future. (Still true – my central nervous system can take a chill pill and forgo the onslaught of stress hormones that go with negative thinking like ‘it’ll never happen for me’). Ahhhh – breathe. Feel better?
Step 3: Bring in your beliefs.
OK, let’s try this..
I work hard, I have the best of intentions, I’m creative, I’m tenacious, I love what I do, and I can really help people. (Yay – go me!).
Step 4: Throw in some facts of what you’re doing that’s working now…here come the wins.
I have my own business, paying clients, classes, workshops. I’m already on my way.
Step 5: Affirm your desires.
This could sound like…
I want freedom, adventure, health, fun, ease, a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Step 6: Go for it. State your intention.
I intend to give my life all I’ve got.
There you have it. A six-step example of how you can move through doubt, negative thoughts, self-defeating language – and all without losing your integrity or feeling feeling icky or fake.
Did you find this of value? What’s your experience of affirmations? Maybe you have a story to share that could help someone else. I’d love to hear it.
That’s all for this week. Let me know how this works for you in the comments below.
Until next time.