5 February 2017

I don't think that affirmations are bullshit anymore


So, affirmations. I feel like the word alone is enough to set off a lot of people’s bullshit detectors. It sounds like the kind of thing that would be discussed around a camp fire with some kind of vegetarian quinoa and whale music playing in the background (aka my idea of a good night), so I think a lot of people are quick to dismiss the idea. It’s just kind of difficult to understand why repeating words to yourself will make any impact in your life. Apart from maybe wasting time that could be spent actually doing work.

And there we have one of the main problems with the discussion of affirmations: It’s all so abstract. It’s not like going to the gym and being able to see the sweat dripping down your face and then eventually even feeling your body getting stronger. There are no tangible results when it comes to manifesting positivity. It’s all to do with how you feel. Which is why for a lot of people, including myself until recently, they can seem pretty pointless. 


I was completely and subconsciously in that head-space before I read “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero in preparation for my online book club. It’s one of those perspective-shifting books that I recommend everyone who wants an awesome life to read. For me, it cleared the fog on affirmations and clarified for me why they actually do create change in your life. Here’s how I understand it now: If you don’t really (like, really really) believe that something is going to happen, you won’t take tangible steps towards making that thing happen and so, obviously, it won’t. If you don’t believe you’re worthy or capable of getting the job of your dreams, you’ll find excuses not to apply for them or you’ll self-sabotage your application process and then, obviously, you won’t get your dream job. Basically, affirmations help with that first step. It’s not about the words themselves as such, but the subconscious changes that you’ll make because of them. For me, positive affirmations are like a spiritual to-do list. They help me to clarify exactly what my purpose is, or exactly how I want my life to be. Then I hold onto those ideas really tightly – I repeat them on the bus, I’ve written them on my mirrors, I have them in my bullet journal – until pretty much every action I take is a step, conscious or otherwise, towards making those things happen.

My favourite thing is that they're so personal. Everybody has different affirmations, or at least affirmations that mean different things to them. Creating them isn’t as hard as you think, either. All you need to do is decide where you want to be in five years. Or five months. Or even five weeks! Write that shit down. The key is to not be embarrassed about what you want and to not worry about the fact that you might feel ashamed if you don’t achieve it. Treat it as though, in writing it down, you’re making it so. By that I mean shift them into the present tense. If your goal is to live a happier life, don’t say “I want to be happier”, say “I am happy” or get really fancy and say “I receive and radiate happiness”.

It’s also one of those things that gets easier and less cringy with time. By the end of uni I want to be stress-free, independent, happy and financially thriving due to my creative endeavours. Previously, I would have felt the need to apologise or show recognition of the fact that I know this is unlikely. Now, I really don’t care if anybody thinks it’s unattainable because I know it’s going to happen. Or at least I’m treating it that way until it becomes true. I’m trying to think about these goals every single day. For example, in terms of becoming stress-free, one of my favourite affirmations is “I have all of the time and energy that I need to do all of the things that I love”. Saying that to myself in the mirror whilst I do my skincare every morning makes me feel pretty bloody wonderful.

Honestly, I think the reason I treated affirmations as though they were "bullshit" before was pure fear. The fear that I wouldn't live up to the words I was saying. Now that is some bullshit. 


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