And I’ve listened to those who claimed they could do anything from getting your motivation back to literally curing whatever ailed you (including cancer if you can believe that!)
I’ve also had clients (and friends and colleagues) who hated them. They called them bunk, nonsense, woo-woo, new age junk…you name it.
I went through a period of time when I used affirming phrases like they were a limited time offer! And they worked…mostly.
It was an interesting and experimental time for me when I started employing affirmation tools and learning the many ways to use them. The thing is I really didn’t understand HOW they worked or why for that matter. So…I didn’t find them as super effective as the hype promised they’d be for the most part.
So had to ask myself…what is going on with these things we call affirmations?
Well, let’s back up a bit because understanding the science (yes, science! In fact, not so woo-woo at all) can help you understand how to make affirmations work for you…big time!
Let me explain by using a little story. You see, when I was a kid, I lived close to a corner house. My neighbor in fact, nice people but they used to get SO mad because of the large swatch of grass on the corner.
You see, us kids had to go around that corner to get to school every day. At least we were the ones taking the heat for this issue. So, being human we didn’t feel like following the sidewalk all the way around this big grassy lawn, and cut right across it.
Over time, and many feet walking over it, to the continual frustration of my neighbor, a very obvious path was worked into the lawn.
,This is quite similar to how we make strong connections, habits and beliefs in our brains. Only, we create neural pathways instead of grassy ones.
And let me assure you..our beliefs are POWERFUL and they shape our world by influencing how we see it, how we experience it and what we do with it. So it’s important to be very mindful of the things we are repeating and thus creating beliefs and habits around.
This includes what we believe about reaching our goals and creating success and happiness in our lives. Many of us created beliefs that do not serve our goals at all such as:
- I’m not good enough
- I always…
- People can’t be trusted
- I always mess up
- what if..
You know what I mean? And it’s been shown (as if you didn’t already know it right?) that what we believe to be true shapes our results when we attempt new things. In other words, if we believe we can’t…we can’t.
These not-so-helpful beliefs CAN be replaced with more useful, self loving beliefs, but it takes time and sometimes some effort. It’s a very purposeful thing we do and we have to KEEP repeating these more helpful thoughts until we create a strong path…like we did as kids on that grassy corner. Over, and over again until the connection (or pathway) is made.
Affirmations help us repeat the new thought without us having to remember a lot of ‘stuff’ in order to do it. This is why I found post-it notes, stuck all over my house helpful. Heck, I couldn’t’ get away from the new thought! Your subconscious lives for symbols too so feel free to add those to your affirmations.
Have you tried affirmations before? How’d did it work for you? If you didn’t find it helpful perhaps you just need to give it some time, add in a few other tools to get those negative thought loops broken or get some help from a coach.
Let me know in the comments what affirmations and tactics you used with them and how it went. Do you have a favorite or useful phrase you can share?