The Reason Why Your Affirmations Aren’t Working
“I am enough” isn’t going to cut it.
Beads of sweat dripping down my face, I do one last forward stretch before getting into my favorite pose of yoga: savasana. The sweet relief of lying down after twisting my body into odd positions feels like, what I imagine, nirvana to feel like.
A dull hum resonates through the room as the yoga teacher taps her Tibetan singing bowl. Her voices echos, asking us to repeat to ourselves the affirmations we set at the beginning of the class. But I lie there, enjoying the moment of silence. I can’t repeat my affirmation if I never set one.
I love the idea of positive thinking, but affirmations aren’t my jam. I’ve tried to use them, but I only remember for a day or two. They require consistency; that I could not give.
But the way affirmations are used today is a bit of bullshit, too. I know plenty of people that repeat daily affirmations. Yet, they still struggle in those areas; financial woes, lack of confidence, or love life that is missing the love part.
That’s because affirmations are only one part of the solution. Alone, they’re not going to fix anything. But when paired with one other action, the combination is gold for creating change.
Just repeating a phrase won’t create change, you have to actually do something. And there are two reasons why this is:
1. Positive thinking is working on the conscious level, not the unconscious.
People cling to affirmations to change their lives, but where they really need to start is deeply rooted beliefs. Those aren’t easy to change.
Looking in the mirror and saying, “I am beautiful” when, really, you think you’re ugly and worthless, causes an inner war. Your subconscious is screaming, “NO YOU’RE NOT!” while you’re attempting to repeat your conflicting phrase.
That takes a toll on you, both mentally and physically. You won’t be able to fight this losing battle.
2. Affirmations don’t work towards changing those core beliefs.
Let’s say you have money issues; you’re spending more than you’re earning and need to pay off student loans.
You may feel at a loss; like the situation is out of control. You believe you just suck at money management. You let fear paralyze you from even looking at your bank account.
To even start changing your situation, you need two things: the belief that you can overcome this obstacle and the tools to do so.
Thinking, “Money flows freely through me,” will only create a mindset that allows you to tackle the problem. There’s no affirmation fairy that’s going to come down from the sky, create a spending excel sheet, and pay off your debt.
But at the same time, reading about managing your finances won’t do it either. If you’re stuck in thinking that you’re the worst with money, you’re going to be your own barrier.
The answer is to work on both at the same time. Increasing financial literacy will help you feel more confident with money. That confidence will motivate you to do more research on finances.
That’s why affirmations, alone, don’t work. You need both positive thoughts and actions to change your core beliefs.
Thought + Action = Change
“I am powerful” + Working towards a goal = Increasing self-confidence.
“I am worthy of love” + Actively meeting new people through your friends = Finding a partner.
“I am financially free” + Taking an online money management course = Paying off student loans every month.
It’s a simple yet potent combination. The power of the mind, when combined with effort, can result in life-changing outcomes.
So next time you step on your mat for yoga, go ahead and set an affirmation. Just don’t forget to do something to work towards it once you leave.
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