If I hear one more person say, “Just do affirmations! They will change your life!”, I may puke.
Affirmations may work sometimes in some instances. However, they are not an end all be all to change. And at times affirmations can actually do harm.
Research suggests, some people actually felt worse after using affirmations. I have also found this to be true in my clinical work.
Why your affirmations are not working
You don’t believe them
One of the goals of affirmations is for us to start thinking about ourselves in a certain way. However, we aren’t to that point yet. So if you are trying to lose weight and repeat the affirmation, “I am thin” a billion times a day, your mind is going to stop you mid track. Your mind is going to go, “Hold on there – that is a lie. Look at you. You are not thin at all. Why are you lying to me?”.
If you have ever been lied to consistently, then you know that after being lied to a million times, you are pretty much done believing whatever that person says. When you tell your mind affirmations that are not yet true, your mind comes to see you as untrustworthy.
Your affirmations are not in steps
This is in some ways related to lying to yourself, however, when writing affirmations there needs to be some kernel of truth to them. For example, if you are shy, having the affirmation of “I am outgoing” is not going to help you because as you and your mind know, that is a lie. Instead of trying to do a 180 with your affirmations, there should be steps to the progression. If the goal is to be less shy, then think of ways you exhibit less shyness and start with an affirmation just above that level.
Your affirmation is not accepting of you
This also builds off the step up affirmations I just mentioned, but if your affirmations are trying to get you to be someone you are not or look a certain way you never will, then it isn’t going to help. If you don’t like your eyes and keep up with the affirmation of “I love my eyes” to help you accept them then, as mentioned, your mind will only believe you are a liar.
If your goal is to be more accepting of your looks, then you need to point out the good qualities about you in your affirmations. A better affirmation would be, “I have lots of good physical features, my lips and my booty for starters”.
You can’t lie your way into change. Change takes steps to achieve the goals you want. And you need to be accepting of yourself where you are now to make improvements.
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To your mental health –