I’m writing this blog after receiving a question about affirmations. I myself am a huge fan of affirmations and use them often for myself and my coaching clients. They are a great tool for affirming new beliefs and creating a positive mindset. They really do work for me, but as with any tool, they may not be your thing! What do you do instead, if they just don’t work for you?
If your mind point blank refuses to accept them, then you need to go beyond your logical mind and start talking to your subconscious mind instead. Here are some suggestions of other things to try instead of affirmations.
If saying a statement such as ‘I am confident’ really makes your mind scream ‘no you’re not!’ right back at you, then try softening them a bit. Try making the affirmations more progressive instead. You can try saying something like, ‘I choose to feel more confident’ or ‘I am becoming more and more confident everyday’.
Your mind is a question answering machine! If you pose it a question, then it will start to work on an answer for you. Have you ever tried to remember the name of someone or something, but just couldn’t get it? Then in the middle of the night, you wake up with a jump with the name right there in your mind? This is you Reticular Activating System (RAS) working.
You can use this little trick to turn your affirmations into questions. Your mind will find an answer to those questions. It may not be straight away, but you will get an aha! moment at some point! Rather than saying ‘I am confident’, you can pose a question, such as ‘Why am I confident?’ or ‘How can I feel more confident?’
Simply say the question instead of the affirmation. Even better, is to meditate afterwards or journal and see what come up.
Listen to your Recorded Voice
Listening to your own voice without thinking too much, is also a great way to bypass your logical mind. You can get so many Apps out there that do this easily for you now. The one that I use for this purpose is called ThinkUp. It will record you saying some positive statements, plus you can also add some relaxing music or sounds in the background. You don’t have to be a technical genius to do this either!
This is a form of self hypnosis. Listen to this when you are in a relaxed state, meditating or even better, just before you go to sleep.
A permission statement can also be very powerful. This starts with ‘I give myself permission to………’ You can then add in some words for accepting where you are now and where you want to be. So for gaining more confidence, you might say something like ‘I give myself permission to love and accept myself just as I am now. I can be both a work in progress and enough at the same time.’ Read the permission statement out everyday.
Some people find making a commitment and signing a contract quite powerful. This is the power of a ritual. The contract will start with the words ‘I commit to…….’, then list out the new beliefs or behaviors you are committing to. You can print it off and sign it like an actual contract. Bring in some creativity too for an added bonus! See the next point below! Hang the contract up where you will see it everyday.
Why not get creative and create a mood board, mandala or visual representation of your affirmation? Your subconscious mind loves pictures and symbols. This is also very therapeutic. Forget words and use pictures and symbols instead. Even if you think you are not creative, give it a try anyway! Nobody has to see the finished product but you!
If in Doubt – Fuck It!
Probably the best philosophy or affirmation in life is to say ‘fuck it!’ If you are about to go outside of your comfort zone, just say ‘fuck it!’, feel the fear and do it anyway! If that repeating negative thought or behaviour comes up and you become aware of it (congrats by the way, as awareness is the first key!), just say ‘fuck it!’ and let it go. It’s so freeing to have a fuck it attitude!
Probably the biggest lesson we all need to learn is to let go and not take life so seriously. Does that mean that you just don’t care about anything – no! It means find out what is meaningful to you and care about that, rather than everything! Here is a blog I wrote about finding your core values, ie what to care about!
“Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.” ~ The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson
Just for fun, here is a light-hearted meditation on that very topic:
So how about you? Do you use affirmations? Do they work for you? What else have you found that works for you? I’d love to know in the comments below!