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How your positive affirmations hold you back

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A short rant from me this week on the use and abuse of affirmations.

If you have not yet come across the psychology of affirmations, then very simply, it is any positive or negative statement that you make over and over. Here are some examples:

  • I am useless at chores
  • I’m very clever
  • I’m not a sportsperson
  • My strengths are in team building
  • I always get stuck in traffic jams

Essentially they are our life’s mantras, things we consciously (and often unconsciously) repeat to ourselves. These mantras are beliefs that are held so deep we can’t help but shape the world around us to become that which we think to be true.

Now I am a great believer in the aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,”

This aphorism… not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts”  –  James Allen

I have seen affirmations work over and over. Consider two true stories from my life.

How an affirmation isolated a lady from her family

Lonely, affirmations, success

A lady used to say over and over to her family the following statement:

“I just want to live my life and be alone.”

After a period of ten years or so, she one day woke up and her family did not want to be with her any longer. Her son and his family (who lived with her) engaged very little with her in day to day life, preferring to avoid her and any type of conversation with her. Her other son (who lived 30 minutes away) used to visit her only at family occasions. Her eldest son refused to talk with her for over a decade.

What happened? Over time this lady’s personality changed to force others to not want to be around her. She would manipulate situations to make others worse off. This manipulative personality caused her children and her grand-children to argue and fight over “lies” that this lady had spread.

Naturally, once everyone cottoned on to the source of the lie or manipulation nobody wanted to be around her.

This lady’s affirmation created her future lonely life.

How an affirmation helped a man become wealthy

happy, success, wealth

A friend used to tell people over and over how lucky he was and how he was good at making money.

His affirmationss were:

  • “I have no idea why but I really am one of the luckiest people on this planet”
  • “I am really good at making money”
  • “I have the most good friends in the world”

Over time this man became a very lucky and wealthy person. When he is out, people magnetically gravitate towards him. He is offered free food and drink by restaurants. He is constantly finding money and opportunities to make money wherever he goes.

He does not wear fancy clothes, nor does he portray himself as a wealthy person in any way, but wherever he goes he makes friends and people love him and feel inspired by him.

His affirmations have created his reality for him.

Affirmations gone wrong

accident, whoops, success
Image Credit: Brandon Martin-Anderson

In business and their personal lives, many people aspire to be like the wealthy man. One of the simplest and easiest takeaways to implement is the creation and use of positive affirmations to have the life they want. Here are a few of the affirmations I’ve seen and heard:

  • Every day in every way I am getting better and better.
  • I am losing weight every day without effort till I reach my ideal weight of 60 kilos.
  • I am a millionaire in training
  • I am becoming more and more beautiful every day
  • The whole Universe and entire mankind is conspiring to make me prosperous and abundant

However, I believe the so called “positive affirmations” listed above are actually keeping people poor, obese and ugly. The problem is in the “-ing” – getting, losing, training, becoming, conspiring.

These words ending in “–ing” – tells the subconscious that it is in the process of happening i.e. it hasn’t happened yet. So the sub-conscious reinforces the exact opposite of what the person wants. For example “I am a millionaire in training” reinforces you are poor and don’t have much money.

How affirmations work

brain, affirmations, subconscious, wealth
Image Credit: Saad Faruque

Affirmations work at the subconscious level and for an affirmation to work:

  • There must be an element of the compound effect in which the affirmation is repeated over and over
  • The affirmation must be said with sincerity
  • The affirmation must be said with passion
  • The affirmation must be said with belief

In our previous examples the lady and the man were both making their statements with sincerity, belief, and passion. There were no verbs ending with “ing” in their statements.

It is a very subtle point but people who use statements such as “I am a millionaire in training” will struggle financially because they are stating that they are poor. These people would be better off not making any statements if that is the best affirmation that they can come up with.

Taking affirmations to the next level

scott pilgrim, success, wealth
Image Credit: Bryan Lee O’Malley

If you really want to use affirmations in life,  it is important to be very careful about what you imagine and see your future to be. The lonely lady never expected her statements to isolate her from her family.

Follow the steps below and your affirmations will have a better transforming effect on your life.

  1. Your affirmation must be constructed as if it were already true today. For example “I am rich” NOT “I am becoming rich.”
  2. Your affirmation must be said with passion and belief. If you do not believe what you are saying then your subconscious will not believe it either. Your subconscious mind is what will do the work to make you affirmations a reality.
  3. You must behave in a manner consistent with your affirmation. In our example of being wealthy, look at how wealthy people think and the conversations they have. For example do you think a wealthy person would go into a hysterical fit if someone stole ten pounds from them? What subjects does a wealthy person talk about? Would a wealthy person watch television for hours every day?
  4. Find reasons for your affirmation to be true. Using our “wealth” example – why do you think you are wealthy. Some reasons include; you have a job, you are not on the streets, you have the ability to save money – it is important that you find as many reasons as you can find to back your affirmation.
  5. Treat yourself and respect yourself as if the affirmation was true. If you believe you are rich – don’t make statements such as “I can’t afford…” – instead make statements such as “I am saving for…”
  6. Do not use an affirmation just because it is on the Internet or someone at an event shares with you an affirmation that has worked for them. Everyone is different. There is another opposing force to affirmations that I will briefly explain.

    That opposing force is one’s own self-belief. For example if you believe that you can only earn a maximum of £100,000 in commission. Then your subconscious will always return you to an average of £100,000. In other words if you have a great month, then you will normally have a terrible set of months afterwards to reduce your overall average commission back to £100,000.

So that’s my rant over. If you choose to use affirmations then please be careful with the ones you use and good luck.

If you found this article helpful and useful, please do share it with your friends and give us your affirmations in the comments.

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Image Credits: Saad Faruque.

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