Why Affirmations Don’t Work For You

Lately it seems everyone is running to jump on the Affirmation band-wagon, but there is also a lot of controversy around the topic.  You either believe whole-heartedly or you think it’s all a crock of you-know-what.  Either way, you’re probably not wrong.  

A study from Journal of Psychological Science shows that Affirmations can be very empowering for some, and quite the opposite for others.  The difference is in the initial mindset of the person using the affirmation. 

Those with high self-esteem felt better after using Affirmations, and those with low self-esteem tended to feel worse.  How can this be, you ask?  And my answer, er question, is this: How do you feel when someone tells you a lie? 

Because that’s exactly how it feels when you try to force on yourself a thought you don’t really believe.  Instead of uplifting yourself you end up creating a division in yourself.  You break the trust.  And we all know how important trust is for healthy relationships.  You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it anyway:  Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you have. So you better take care with it.

So does this mean you shouldn’t use Affirmations?  

The answer is not whether you should or shouldn’t use them, but how to use them to get the results you want

Think about it like this…  Let’s say you want to paint a picture.  You’ve never painted before, so you go to the art store and pick whatever supplies look good, then start your first painting.  You can see the image you want to paint in your mind, and maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah this is going to be so incredible.  Everybody’s going to be so impressed.  I’m amazing.” 

But then you finish your painting and, unless you’re a prodigy, reality sets in.  Bummer.

Does this mean you should give up and throw in the towel?  Of course not.  Because it’s not enough to know what you’re doing, you have to learn how to do it well.  There are nuances, skills, techniques, and having the right tools that all contribute to the end result.

Affirmations are the same.  They take practice, repetition, and techniques to use effectively.  More importantly, Affirmations are not the end goal.   They are a tool to help teach you how to talk to yourself.  Every day, with every thought.  Obviously you’re not going to repeat the same 1 to 3 phrases to yourself a millions times over the course of a day, day after day… after day.  

That’s enough to make anyone want to stab themselves in the eye.   No, affirmations are the training wheels.  They teach you techniques so you can phrase all your thoughts in a way that helps you instead of hurts you, and stays completely original to the moment you are in.  

So remember, it’s not enough to aimlessly repeat a phrase, hoping if you say it enough you’ll end up believing it.  Affirmations are about learning how to alter your thoughts in a way that is honest, aligned, and opens the door for the best outcome.  Because what you tell yourself shapes your beliefs, and your beliefs shape how you experience the world.  And ultimately, they also shape what’s possible for you.  

Next week I’ll be sharing an article on How To Use Affirmations Effectively.  You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without a few tips did you?

Now it’s your turn.  Send me an email at thewholemeasure@gmail.com and tell me how you feel about Affirmations.  Do they work?  Do they not work?  I want to know what you think!

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