“Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not. That’s a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it’s a passing memory, and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. It’s not just one way. We are walking, talking paradoxes.”
This morning, while reading The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte, I read the section called “Affirmations Can Mess You Up” and had a huge breakthrough about affirmations and why they haven’t worked for me.
First, I’ll back up and tell you a bit about why I wanted affirmations to work for me at all. I don’t remember where or when I first heard about affirmations, but this explanation from Wikipedia pretty accurately defines what I thought they were:
Affirmations in New Thought and New Age terminology refers primarily to the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment—fostering a belief that “a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.” More specifically, an affirmation is a carefully formatted statement that should be repeated to one’s self and written down frequently. For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be present tense, positive, personal and specific.
Well, to a girl who’s passionate about personal development, this sounded like a GREAT tool for growth! In the past, I created various affirmations for myself…
- I am confident and capable.
- I am beautiful, inside and out.
- I am open to all points of view.
- I accept myself and others.
- I choose to be happy.
…but then I’d give up on them after hours or a few days, because I didn’t actually believe them, so I’d be rolling my eyes at myself even as I said them. And yet…despite their lack of productivity in my life, I’ve revisited them many times, not changing my approach, and hoping that they would magically start working for me, thereby demonstrating the definition of insanity.
Over time, I have indeed grown into the desires from my past [aka – I look at the list above and nod in agreement with – or at least know that I’m developing into – the statements, whereas I wouldn’t have had that response a few months or years ago]. I just didn’t find the affirmation practice itself to be a source of empowerment or support while on my journey.
After reading that section of Danielle’s book this morning, the light bulb finally went on:
“Oh wow, I’m not the only person who hasn’t benefited from affirmations…
…someone else has felt like a phony while using them…
And HEY! That’s a GREAT alternative to affirmations!”
Here are the steps she shared, with captions written by me [and for the record, you don’t need to go through every single step, every single time…just do what works for you!]:
Look in the mirror and tell the truth.
Be honest about what you’re experiencing. If you’re scared, own it and name it.
Don’t pretend like not naming it will stop it from being a part of your current reality.
State some beliefs.
State supportive beliefs that are true and empowering for you.
Recall your successes.
Remind yourself of proof of previous times when you’ve kicked ass.
Give voice to what you’re doing that’s working in your life right now.
Mention where else in your life you are displaying the qualities that you are conjuring.
Pour on the desire.
List what you most want and desire in this situation [and the situation may be “life”].
State your intention.
So, what do you intend to do about it? 🙂
If any of you have had a hard time with affirmations in your lives, I hope that Danielle’s process offers you a fun and empowering alternative!