I love and accept myself.
Health, wealth and happiness surround me.
I am doing amazing things with my life.
These are some of the affirmations that I dutifully recited on most days for close to a year, after reading The Secret.
Goal oriented and written in the present tense, this type of positive self-talk is often cited by law of attraction experts as the stuff that manifests dreams.
But what if they don’t work?
In 2006, when I was struggling with anxiety and depression, the practice of daily affirmations had no positive impact on my life. I would even say that they had a negative effect.
Here’s why positive affirmations don’t always work.
You can recite all the affirmations you want, but unless there is an element of belief behind them, studies suggest that they won’t work.
If you already hold yourself in high regard, then yes, repeating an affirmation such as “I am worthy” will work, because your mind has the experience of knowing it as truth.
But if you are repeating the affirmation ‘I love and accept myself’ when your usual mode of thinking is to effectively ‘hate on yourself’ – the brain interprets this as a lie.
It knows, based on previous experience and thought patterns, that you are not in the habit of liking yourself.
As a result, your mind will often throw back “Liar Liar. Pants on fire” (or a straight shooting “That feels untrue”‘).
Depression is often accompanied by poor self-image and distorted thought patterns. In these circumstances, it’s not surprising that positive affirmations don’t always work.
I believe that affirmations are great for focusing on what you want, but not necessarily for making it happen.
Sadly, for some people,(the ones who arguably need them the most), affirmations can prove to be nothing more than a cruel joke.
A better way to get affirmations working for you.
For an affirmation to work, it must be attainable and feel real to the unconscious mind.
Sift through those limiting beliefs
If not feeling good enough is a common theme in your life, when this thought appears – recall a specific time in your life when you were more than good enough.
Immerse yourself in the specific details and in the positive feelings associated with that experience.
Let it soak in.
In depth research by popular Neuroscientist, Rick Hanson strongly indicates that with repetition, you can begin to eliminate some of the limiting beliefs occupying your mind and replace them with more affirming ones.
Use questions to amplify the power of positive affirmations.
If your bank account is dangerously low in funds – affirming “I’m wealthy and surrounded by abundance” isn’t going to cut it – or pay the bills!
It’s much better to say:
“I’m not wealthy yet, but I will be and I’m excited to get there!”
or “I don’t have an overflowing bank account at the moment but I want to!
What can I do this year, to ensure I learn all I need to know about wealth creation?
By asking questions (in an attempt to figure things out), the mind will always come up with, or begin searching for answers.
Just don’t forget to follow it up with some action, so that you behave your way to success!
Choose affirmations that are true.
Positive affirmations that hold true in almost any circumstance are also bound to be more successful.
Here are some of my favorites:
Today is a gift. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen.
I am willing to release negativity
I am so grateful and blessed that…
I’m exactly where I need to be.
I choose love and contentment.
The better it gets, the better it gets.
So what are your thoughts and experiences with using positive affirmations? Are you a fan, or do you avoid them?