We hear it time and time again from super successful thought leaders, coaches (including myself!) and self-help books, to include affirmations in your daily routine.
But have you ever made a daily commitment to them, only to see no improvements? Or did they actually make you feel even worse…?
Affirmations sound nice as an Instagram caption, but they can often leave us feeling like we’re just soooo far away from our goal.
In this episode, I explain the psychology behind why affirmations don’t work and what you can do instead that will really help you in your self-love journey.
Note: If affirmations are working for you, GREAT, KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING 💃🏼 This episode will be helpful for you regardless as it will help to deepen and strengthen your existing ones!
When we feel so far away from our goal and we’re constantly repeating positive affirmations to ourselves in the mirror, it can almost feel like toxic positivity.
For example when I first started my body loving journey, constantly repeating to myself “My body is beautiful” actually made me feel worse! It felt like I was telling myself a big fat lie and it enhanced the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be.
This was because I didn’t believe the affirmation in any way shape or form. There’s that magic word again “belief”, can you see how:
“Our beliefs create our reality not the other way around”Rebekah Kiger
? What we believe comes true for us. If you believe your body is horrible, you’ll find “proof” that it is.
Why do we feel further away from our goals when we’re repeating the positive affirmations like the gurus are telling us?
This is because affirmations (if you don’t believe them) cause cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is basically a physiological term that stands for inconsistent or contradictory beliefs of some sort. It’s when people say one thing and then do another without even realizing it. E.g someone who thinks breeding animals for human consumption is wrong yet they still eat meat.
Cognitive dissonance brings your brain further away from your goals because it creates this giant gap between where you are and where you want to be. Affirmations reinforce where you want to be, for example,
“I am worthy. I am lovable”
and you want to believe them with your whole heart. But because you feel like you’re so far away from that, the more you chant those affirmations to yourself, the further away you feel.
Which was what happened to me at the start of my journey to accepting and loving my body. If you’re not used to saying the words “I love myself” or “I am worthy,” constantly repeating them to yourself isn’t necessarily giong to help at all if you don’t remotely believe them.
***Note, there is some benefit from repetition over time of course, which is why affirmations are recommended and encouraged, however, I’m going to share with you some great tips to create a super-powerful belief rewriting experience that will work for you no matter where you’re at.
So as I continue, we are going to be focusing on re-writing beliefs over affirmations. Beliefs can be spoken or written the same way as affirmations can but by implementing the following 3 tips I’m about to share with you, you will be well on your way to actually feeling and experiencing what you desire! 🤩
#1 Get super-specific
Beliefs are different to affirmations because beliefs are specific. So instead of saying something like:
“I am worthy” (which is an affirmation)
You make it more specific to you which may look like:
“I am worthy of getting a pay rise by next quarter”
“I am worthy of being in a loving committed relationship”
“I am worthy of my thoughts and feelings being expressed.”
In order to make yours more specific, you need to know what it is you want.
So, what do you really want? What do you desire? What’s important to you?
When you know, (because you’ll be surprised how many people don’t actually know what they want!) write out your new beliefs so that they are super-specific to you. Get really into the nitty-gritty of the details. Make it really colourful and exciting. One of mine for example:
“I am worthy of receiving 10k a month in my business just by showing up as myself. I don’t have to work really hard or be busy all the time in order to receive this money each month. In fact, I have time in my day to relax, create and just be so that I can serve my clients powerfully from a place of overflow. It’s so easy to show up as me and get paid in abundance.”
I now challenge you my love to decide what it is you want in each area of your life and to write out your new beliefs, in detail and in present tense…
#2 Bring emotion into it
Beliefs are more powerful because they are infused with emotion. And what is emotion…? Energy in motion! E-Motion.
Energy in motion means that you’re putting some kind of energy into something. So whenever you’re saying your beliefs, instead of just speaking them as if you’re reading off a card;
🤖 “I. am. worthy. of. a. loving. relationship.”🤖
Put emotion into them;
🥰🧚🏽♀️”I am worthy of a loving relationship”🥰 🧚🏽♀️
When you’re writing them, bring the emotion into your body as you write.
If you’re not feeling strong emotion or experiencing physical reactions such as goosebumps as you write down or voice out loud your new beliefs, you may need to try again, really making an effort to visualize and feel your belief being true NOW.
As you write or speak, imagine what it would actually be like having this come true for you in real life. How amazing would it feel? 💥
You have the power to make yourself feel what you don’t currently feel through the power of your imagination. Try it right now with me;
Close your eyes and think back to a time where you felt angry, or if you’ve processed your past anger, think of something that makes you angry in the world… you feel it?
Do the same thing connecting to something that made you or makes you feel happy and loved and warm and fuzzy… you feel it?
Now think of a future you would like to experience. Maybe it’s living in financial abundance. How freeing does that feel? What would it actually feel like to not have to worry about money again? What would your life look like? How does that feel in your body?… You see, you’re extremely capable. 🤗
To help you with this, create your environment to support you new belief that you’re writing or speaking into existence. For example, light some candles, put some music on etc to encourage you to bring as much emotion as you can into it.
#3 Uncomfortable yet attainable
The third tip is to make your beliefs uncomfortable but attainable. This is where they differ greatly from affirmations because by following this tip, you will be removing any cognitive dissonance associated with the affirmation.
You may have heard of this concept before in a different way such as “bridging of beliefs”.🌉
In order for you to actually reach your goals and to believe the new beliefs that you’re creating, they need to be slightly uncomfortable yet a part of you (your higher self) can see it becoming possible for you somehow.
For example, if:
“I am so comfortable in my body and I accept every part of me with love”
feels impossible for you to believe right now, try something along the lines of:
“I’m learning how to feel more comfortable in my body each day and I’m accepting my body even though I may not love it”
If you can sense a feeling of possibility that the second example belief could become true for you, even though it still feels uncomfortable right now, then that’s exactly what you’re looking for!
The magic word here is “possibility”. If you can see yourself doing the thing or feeling that way and really feel that in your body – it will most likely feel exciting and scary at the same time – then this is what will propel you forward.
And then when the beliefs you’re creating become your reality, you can create new beliefs that will take you even further toward your goals on so on. 🚀
It’s ok if your beliefs are unfamiliar to you right now, they’re going to be! But even if you can just see the slightest possibility, then boom, you’ve got yourself some great new beliefs that will become your reality!
Noticing limiting beliefs & reframing them
The reason for us working with affirmations and creating new beliefs is because we want to feel happier and more empowered in our lives!
When you’re sitting down to write your new beliefs, you’ll notice limiting beliefs coming up in an attempt to block you from releasing them. This is a great time to re-write any negative limiting beliefs that rear their ugly head.
Let me give you a great example of a limiting belief that may be blocking you right now using body image and the global pandemic:
Now that the world is opening up again maybe you’re worried about the weight you’ve gained over lockdown and you’re anxious about your friends and family seeing your bigger body.
You can reframe that limiting belief to a more empowering belief to something like:
“How I look will be the least of my worries because I’ll be so grateful to see my friends and family and those that love me won’t care about how I look. And when I love me, my looks won’t matter to me as much because I know that I am worthy regardless!”
Can you see how this belief is specific, it’s empowering, it’s in the present moment, charged with emotion and a little bit uncomfortable to go forth believing…?