Do Affirmations Work?In many cases affirmations don't work - most people don't know how to design and use them effectively! We'll look at how to create powerful affirmations, that are a lot more than just positive thinking. My uncle used to call them positive lies, and of course for him they didn't work!
Firstly, a lot of people don't know how to word them correctly. Like our thoughts, most people are framing them in the negative, saying what they want to get rid of. For example: I want to loose 10 pounds.
Writing positive affirmations need to be stated as positively present - right NOW. By that I mean, it must worded as a statement of exactly what you do want, as if you already had it.
Ineffective Affirmations:Here are some examples that are ineffectively worded
Guess what - you are continuing to tell the story, I yell at my kids.
Still focusing on yelling!
You'll notice the affirmations moved from being about the kids, to being about me! We think as parents that our job is to change and shape our kids. Of course we have a major impact on our children, but they are also here to teach you.
In the example above Julie often felt out of control with her children. She didn't feel they respected her unless she screamed at them and even that was becoming more and more ineffective. She came to me when she had escalated to hitting her children and said yelling at them doesn't work anymore. She hated that she was loosing control and felt overwhelmed with guilt.
Of course Julie had several issues to focus on, and we used several different techniques, but affirmations were one of the tools that identified the core issue, which was really nothing to do with her kids, other than they highlighted it for her.
Underneath the yelling, was a lack of respect and love for herself. She felt that if she didn't control her children then she was showing she was a bad mother, and of course, what was she getting? Out of control children, who didn't show her respect!
We worked to uncover where the beliefs came from, and Julie used affirmations to help her focus on herself and her behaviour with her children, rather than focusing on trying to change her children.
We also set up some family processess to increase the positive interactions with her children, but the important shift for Julie was treating herself with love and respect, and that is where using them can be an excellent tool to shift the energy. Within weeks she noticed a huge difference in her children's attitude to her - and her husband commented she was much easier to be around!
Firstly, trying implies failure! It suggests that you can't do something. Also, in this example the focus is still on nagging.
MMMMM, you may already be doing that before you started nagging! So will it work? It depends what you are trying to do. Often the power behind the process, is not just about positive thinking, it is a process of uncovering what is underneath your initial desire. Are you really wanting to change yourself or are you wanting to change the kids, your spouse, your boss? You may get a change from others when you change your behaviour and responses, but if you are doing the affirmation to make the kids pick up after themselves without you nagging, then it won't work!
Nothing to do with nagging, nothing to do with what you don't want, toys or clothes on the floor - but instead the focus is on creating better energy and bilding relationships. When our emphasis shifts, we are much more likely to get what we want anyway!
Unpacking Belief SystemsAffirmations are more powerful when used as a tool to uncover what is underneath all the stories we tell ourselves.
Try this exercise:
You will start to uncover your belief system, and then you can design a power thought around that to unhook it.
I'll give you an example of Rhonda, a client of mine who had difficulty showing affection to her three year old son. She thought she SHOULD be able to, she did love him, but just found it hard to cuddle and demonstrate her love. (We'll look at SHOULDS in another article!)
Among other processess, we worked with the affirmation:
I enjoy cuddling my son. (just a simple statement of what she wanted)
She wrote it down with responses alongside about 20 times, mostly the response was along the lines of, I don't like cuddling him, I wish I did, I'm a terrible mother, other Mom's show their children affection etc.
Eventually she got to a response, I'm scared to show him how much I love him. Along with copious tears it came out that she believed if she let herself love him and show it, he would die or leave her.
At the age of three (same age her son was now!) her beloved grandfather died unexpectedly and her mother was so distracted with her own grief, Rhonda was sent outside a lot to play by herself. She associated loving someone with loss, grief and fear of being alone.
So it was far more powerful for Rhonda to use a series of affirmations to attend
to the underlying belief:
NB: Rhonda now has a wonderful warm cuddly relationship with her little boy and has since had three more children!
So, to Summarize, Affirmations:
For more advanced techniques, read this article: Empowering Positive Affirmations
More ResourcesMind Movies - Vision Boards
You can read about how I use vision board software and Affirmations with kids to create their dreams and goals. They love it!
Affirmations for Kids
Emotional Freedom Technique
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One of the most useful tools for making affirmations work, is Emotional Freedom Technique.
EFT or Tapping as it is often called, is a simple Tapping technique on particular energy systems
on our body.
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