Affirmations Don’t Work

Vanessa Rende
Aug 1, 2018 · 4 min read

Why and how to change that in 3 steps

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Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said “I am beautiful” or “I am rich” only to hear a million voices contradict, dissect and essentially murder the words you reluctantly uttered during your affirmations?

Did it make you want to keep saying affirmation? Did you continue doing it because you KNOW the power behind them even though you don’t feel much when you say them?

For a long time I avoided saying affirmations or “I AM” statements because 1) I knew I couldn’t reprogram my subconscious saying empty phrases, and I didn’t know how to make them not empty; and, 2) those voices telling me otherwise were stronger than my will to change was I was seeing in the mirror or really feeling against the super positive affirmation.

As my career as a consultant evolved and my formal and recreational education in all things leadership psychology, mindset, neuroscience, NLP — to name a few — mounted, I began to understand my reluctancy to say affirmations. On an unconscious level, I knew they were never going to work. I just didn’t understand why until later.

You see, saying affirmations is actually one of the most powerful ways to re-program your subconscious but the problem is that most of us aren’t actually doing it right. You can’t stand in front of a mirror and say I am beautiful a few times and expect to think and feel differently about yourself. Why? Because for the past day, week, months, years, you’ve been telling yourself the opposite.

You can’t say you’re rich if deep down inside you and your brain know that you are not rich, but more importantly, you don’t even know how to feel rich. So, when you try to say “I am beautiful,” all your brain does is try to find references, evidence, proof that this is true. When you say “I am rich,” your brain, again, starts looking for evidence of a time when you felt rich; it starts looking for your internal definition of that words: RICH or BEAUTIFUL.

What I have learned is that empty words don’t fix bad thinking habits, limiting beliefs and self-destructive behaviors. And affirmation without specific thought, visualization and emotion, are just that: empty words. You could stand in front of that mirror, write them in your journal and chant them in the shower all you want. That isn’t going to work if your entire being isn’t working towards that new belief, the affirmation.

But being able to put an image in your mind to those words and a feeling your physiology can relate to, can and will turn into a powerful affirmation that with time WILL reprogram your subconscious and subsequently change your reality.

So, what is the anatomy of an affirmation and why is this is the only way they work?

1) Use positive goals and intentions, stay away from anything negative

Your sub-conscious doesn’t understand negatives the way your conscious mind does. Don’t say “I will not smoke anymore.” Instead, say “I am a non-smoker. I am cigarette-free for three months.”

The whole point of an affirmation is to state and focus on a positive goal and intention. Make sure what you’re saying is 100% positive, so you don’t confuse your brain and throw the whole thing off.

2) Visualize your affirmation with great specificity.

If say you like pears, but your brain doesn’t remember you liking pears, or if you’re talking about green pears, brown pears or the brand of clothing pear, your brain doesn’t know the difference because you weren’t specific. And what’s the most specific thing for your brain in these circumstances? Visualization.

Visualize the pear, the color, the shape, the exact pear you are talking about in your affirmations. And please? Affirm something more exciting than pears (haha). Do not state your affirmation without visualizing it, too, as that provides your brain with a specific definition of what you are referring to in your affirmation.

3) Feel into your affirmation.

Like with everything else we try to improve in ourselves, our thinking, our habits, it all starts with our emotions. Our emotions are the energy behind what we think, do and get. You can be telling yourself you’re rich 100 times a day, but if you have an old, lingering, nagging feeling of being poor, lack and scarcity, your words are as empty as the gym on Friday night.

How will your brain know that you really are rich if you’ve only got $5 in the bank? By feeling into the things, memories, places, people that make you feel rich. Visualize those moments, remember what they felt like, then state your affirmation. More than anything, focus on the feeling of it. Remember, you’re giving your brain an image (the visualization), give it a feeling, too, and you’re half way there.

This gives your brain a path from just words to something it can see, touch, feel and taste. As with all things, consistency is always the key. Yes, even with affirmations, and I know something as simple as this may seem like a no-brainer, but if you know that affirmations work, but feel like yours haven’t, this article will rock your world.

How do I know? Because these suggestions made me a believer in and lover of affirmations. I’ve watched myself and hundreds of clients change their lives and businesses using good ‘ol reliable affirmations — the right way.

Implement these suggestions in your affirmation routine for the next 30 days. Then find me on Instagram and/or Facebook and tell me how it went. I really want to know!

Vanessa Rende is a writer, speaker, business consultant and success coach to leaders and visionaries. Follow Vanessa for more stories, messages and rants on Instagram and Facebook.

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