When it comes to the tools that are held in high esteem in the self-development world, affirmations are right at the top. There are even people that believe that one can transform their whole life by using these alone.
For others, they will be seen as powerful but they won’t be seen as some kind of panacea; other tools will also need to be utilised. When someone has this view, they could believe that using affirmations alone can lead to even more problems.
Another Form of Repression
In their eyes, when one says positive phrases to themselves and doesn’t take the time to resolve what is taking place inside them, they will be living in denial. One is then not going to be using a substance or a liquid, for instance, but they will still be running away from how they really feel.
And, just as is usually the case with the aforementioned example, one can feel better in the beginning and, before long, they can end up feeling even worse. Saying positive phrases to themselves will have pushed down what is really going on for them and this energy will soon come back up again.
One way to understand this would be to imagine that one is pulling back an arrow and this will create a lot of tension. The arrow will now want to go in the opposite direction and, when one lets go of it, it will shoot forward.
Not much force would have been needed to pull it back and yet it will go in the other direction with such ferocity. One will then be saying positive phrases to themselves and sooner or later, what they have pushed down can end up coming back up to the surface of their mind with real intensity.
Taking this into account, if one does feel better for a short while, there can come a point in time when they feel even worse than they did before. And as they felt better, it can be a lot harder for them to handle how they feel.
Ergo, if affirmations were a drug, they would come with a warning about certain side effects that may arise. Additionally, the importance of using them at the right moment and the right amount could also be emphasised.
With that said, let’s take a look at how someone can use affirmations to change their life. If someone was abused as a child, they may find that this is a tool that can assist them on their healing journey.
This doesn’t mean that using affirmations alone will transform their life and allow them to move on from what took place. As with any tool, there will be a time when they can help them and a time when they can’t.
A Common Outlook
One reason why affirmations can be seen as the answer, along with positive thinking, for instance, is that the mind is erroneously seen as the area that is the key to transformation. Phrases such as ‘it is all about the mind’ and ‘change your mind and you will change your life’ are often thrown around.
If this indeed was the case, someone who was abused as a child would be able to themselves by merely changing what is taking place in their mind. Like a computer, they would just need to download new software and that would be the end of it.
Far More to It
Due to what they went through as a child, not only can their mind be filled with junk, let’s say, their brain and body are also likely to be in a bad way. This is why it is not just about the mind, and believing that it is can cause someone to waste time and energy, to experience an endless amount of frustration, and to only get so far.
Dealing with what is taking place in the mind, ‘the cognitive distortions’ is important, that much is clear, yet there will be the emotional wounds that need to be healed and the trauma that needs to be resolved, amongst other things. Undoubtedly, there are many elements that need to be attended to.
When it comes to using affirmations, one can use them to counter the lies that their mind comes up with. For example, their mind could tell them that they are worthless or useless.
One could take the time each day to say to themselves, while they look at themselves in the mirror, that they are valuable and are capable. If this doesn’t have much of an effect, it could show that they have a lot of emotional wounds to work through.
Along with what their mind comes up with, they could find that they don’t feel safe or as though they deserve to exist, for instance. Here, one can use certain affirmations to plant seeds into their being.
The affirmations alone probably won’t allow them to feel safe or as though they deserve to exist, but through dropping these seeds into their being, it could open them up to this possibility and allow them to come across the things that will help them to change their inner world. One can say these things without being too attached to the outcome, thanks to the understanding that the seeds that they are planting may take a little while to take root.
When it comes to clearing up the mind, working through emotional wounds and resolving trauma, external support may be needed. This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
Together with this work, one can come up with their own affirmations and use them throughout the day. One may find that they use different affirmations as they go through their own healing journey.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.