“I can do it!”
“I have what it takes.”
“I am a good person.”
“I am talented and creative.”
Personal affirmations like the ones above are touted by most self-help gurus. They tell us to say these things to ourselves every day, emphasizing that you should look in the mirror when you say them.
I’m not knocking that – positive affirmations are definitely better than what most of us hear in our heads. Things like …
“How could you say something so stupid?”
“I’ll never make it. I’m a failure.”
“I’ll never be happy. This is all there is to life and I’m miserable.”
Those gurus tell us that if we monitor our negative “self-talk” and replace it with positive affirmations, our lives will change dramatically.
The problem is – it doesn’t usually work so well. Have you ever tried those positive affirmations and while you are reading them, your heart says to you, “Yeah, right.” The words feel empty – lacking the power of transformation. Your mind says, “Who are you kidding? You think saying these statements is going to magically make them true?”
You see where I’m going with this.
So what can be done? I discovered a few years ago that part of the reason why positive affirmations don’t work very well is that the negative statements we believe about ourselves are anchored by emotional experiences. As long as the emotional anchor is still there, no amount of pretty words is going to remove it.
In many cases, those negative statements were said to us when we were emotionally vulnerable – by someone we admired or loved (i.e. parent, teacher, coach). Sometimes we said them to ourselves when we felt rejected by someone else.
We’ve got to deal with the emotional anchor – the memory of the pain – before we can let go of the negative statement and replace it with a positive one. I am amazed that a lot of self-help books skip this part. It is critical to successful transformation!
To see an example of what I mean, you can check out the Lie Detector exercise I posted a little while ago. In order to remove the negative statement (the lie) you believe about yourself, you’ve got to get to the root. Just like in gardening, if you cut a weed at the base but leave the roots in the ground, guess what will happen? The weed will grow back – just like those negative thoughts. You have to dig into the dirt and pull the weed up by the roots. What’s nice is that when you do that, it leaves a little hole for the new seed to be planted. That’s where the positive affirmation comes in. The last step on the Lie Detector exercise is to ask for the truth you need to hear. I often have my clients make a list of the truths they receive when they do this exercise – they usually do it several times a week. That becomes a list of positive affirmations for them to read out loud each day. Because the lie has been completely uprooted, the truth has room to take root and grow inside them. Then personal transformation happens – EVERY TIME.
Are you ready to start your journey toward transformation? Contact me for coaching or check out one of my books for “self-coaching”.
Feel free to comment below. You can contact me privately through my website www.destinysfreedom.com.