Do Affirmations Really Work?
“I am ready to love and accept myself”, “I am ready to love and accept myself.” Two days later, “I still feel like shit. Affirmations are dumb, they NEVER work.”
You wouldn’t train for a marathon for two days and then assume you could run a marathon on day three. But, when it comes to mindset, people expect unrealistic immediate results.
And affirmations can help perpetuate that myth. “Let me just repeat this one phrase for a few days and I’ll be good to go.”
Depending on what you are trying to solve with your affirmation, it might be like placing a pad over a gaping wound and expecting it to heal the wound. The pad would help contain the flow of blood until you got to the hospital, especially if the pad was the only thing available to you. However, by itself, it would not magically close the wound.
Too often people try using affirmations for just a few days and then feel like the affirmations didn’t work. Or they think they failed at creating the affirmations. Or worse, they now believe both negative assumptions.
The affirmation “ I love and accept myself” can be a powerful affirmation. But it is also possible there are underlying issues you need to confront and deal with in order to heal that go beyond this affirmation. You might be using the pad as substitute for the appropriate care.
If you treat the wound and use an appropriate bandage to assist, the results can be excellent.
When I starting dealing with root causes, I began to see how affirmations could be a powerful tool. Sometimes an issue can be transformed in an instant, but the person still needs time to adjust to the new reality. And that is where affirmations can be very compelling.
While I was working on forgiving a former classmate, I also created an affirmation to send them love. By creating an affirmation about love and empathy, I was able to deal with the pain we both caused each other.
Paring healing with affirmations is one of my favorite ways to use affirmations. But I also use them in other capacities as well. Sometimes it is as simple using an affirmation to remind myself today is going to be productive. Sometimes I have clients use affirmations to ease into challenging their current mindset.
Use affirmations to help in your journey; however, also be realistic about what you are asking them to help you with. And if creating affirmations is your only tool right now, use it. It will be more helpful than doing nothing at all.
What are you holding on to that is holding you back?