By Nicole Guillaume
If you follow me on twitter (and I know that you do) then you have been subjected to the many affirmations that I post on any given day. I try to post at least one every hour since they get a lot of good feedback and seem to help a lot of people.
If you’re unfamiliar with positive affirmations, you’ve probably seen these statements and wondered what they are.
What is a positive affirmation?
A positive affirmation is a mantra that you repeat over and over in order to align your thoughts with your goals. This has both a psychological and spiritual effect.
On a psychological level, it boosts your spirits and motivates you to achieve your goals, whether it’s to lose weight, make more money, find a fulfilling career or to be in a wonderful, loving relationship. Repeating a positive affirmation rewires your thought patterns so that you become open and accepting of the posibility of achieving your goals.
On a spiritual level, affirmations can be effective in increasing your faith in your ability to have what you want. Once your faith has reached a certain level, the universe will respond by bringing that thing to you at the perfect time.
Positive affirmations open spiritual eyes so that we can recognize our goal or answer when it comes to us. They also allow us to be more creative in how we obtain our goals.
There are a handful of myths surrounding positive affirmations. There have always been a few rules in place to make them effective but over the past few years, different teachers or experts added their spin on them and people began to adopt them as the gospel truth.
I’m not saying that these teachers are wrong, however there are exceptions to their rules, and what works for them may not work for everyone else. My concern is that when you add needless rules to something as both simple and powerful as positive affirmations, then you can discourage people from following the method that works best for them.
So with that, let’s dispel the top 3 myths about positive affirmation that drive me crazy!
1. Must be phrased in the past or present tense. This is true of MOST affirmations, but not all of them. Let’s be honest. If you’re wanting to lose weight and you repeat to yourself “I’ve lost 5 lbs” when you haven’t lost 5 lbs, you might feel as if you’re lying to yourself. Also, you may begin to believe that you’ve actually lost 5 lbs because you repeated this to yourself over and over again.
So, you wake up one morning, weigh yourself and……
You’ve gained 2 lbs.
How can this be? You formed your statement in the past tense. Sometimes you even phrased it in the present tense by saying “I am losing 5 lbs.” So what happened?
What happened is that this affirmation allowed your brain to think that it didn’t need to make any changes to create this goal, and so it didn’t. In this case, a statement written in future tense may have been better. “I want to lose 5 lbs.” This way, your brain looks for a way to lose 5 lbs instead of simply accepting this statement as truth.
2. Can NOT have the word NOT in it – I once posted a positive affirmation on twitter and received a negative response from it. Apparently, this person has not happy that I used the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ in my affirmations, which read “I will not allow my self-esteem to be lowered by others. I will fulfill my dreams and no one will stand in my way.”
According to this tweeter, the affirmation was now negative and void of any use whatsoever. It couldn’t possibly work because it had the words no and not in it.
In her defense, I get where she’s coming from. Law of Attraction teachers have thoroughly taught that these words (and others similar to them) do not belong in affirmations. They believe that our mind doesn’t acknowledge the word ‘not’ or ‘no’. If this is true, that would mean that your mind would think that the above phrase was really saying “I will allow my self-esteem to be lowered by others. I will fulfill my dreams and one will stand in my way.”
Yikes! Who wants to repeat that over and over again?
Nobody, of course. But is it really true that our minds don’t pick up on the words no and not? I highly doubt it. When a mom tells her son “Do not hit your sister!” Does the child run up to his sister again and slap her silly because his mind didn’t understand the word ‘not’? Not that I’ve seen!
I do believe it is preferable to make your affirmations as positive as possible, simply because this makes them feel good when you think them or say them. But there are times when you just can’t seem to get around your affirmation without the use of the words not, no and other similar words. When that happens, write out the affirmation in the way that you feel is best. If it feels weird or wrong after using it a few times, toss it out and try another one.
3. They must be repeated until you achieve your goal – This is one of those murky half-truths, much like the first one. It is good to repeat your affirmations til you achieve your goal simply because it keeps you in that right state of mine. However, if you begin to doubt your affirmation or become resentful towards it, then toss it out and try another one.
It’s not the affirmations that are important. It’s the energy and feel behind them that is important.
Also, we live in a society that tells us that life is hard, and everyday is a struggle. Because of this, we sometimes make things more difficult than they need to be, and that applies to our affirmations as well. If you feel as if you’ve said your affirmations enough and it’s time to let them go, then by all means, let them go!
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘Let go and let God.” Sometimes, that’s exactly what we need to do when it comes to our goals. We put the work in, we put the energy, prayer, affirmations and faith into it and then, we let it go so that the universe can do the rest.
You will instinctively and intuitively know when it’s time to release your affirmations. You just won’t say them or feel as if you have a use for them anymore. That’s okay. It means that you’ve done all you can do and now it’s time to wait.
If you’re using affirmations to heal emotional issues, such as self-loathing, low self-esteem, guilt, anger, depression, etc. then you may want to consider using new affirmations or exercises instead of letting the practice go completely.
Are there more falsehoods and half-truths concerning positive affirmations? I’m sure that there are, but these are the three that I have noticed the most.
When it comes to positive affirmations, be your own expert. Experiment with it. Have fun and do what works best for you.