Do them wrongly, and you shall fail misserably
The purpose of talking to yourself.
Many a self-development-guru has tried to convince us that affirmations can transform our lives.
The mere act of saying: »I am getting better every day« to yourself should create a state of mind in your brain that makes you do what is necessary to achieve that goal or purpose.
I don't know if it has worked for you, but I find it odd to say things I don't really believe, because... who am I kidding?
But after hearing Calvin Correli talk about affirmations, I have found that there IS a way to make affirmations work FOR you (and not against you).
See Calvin's take on how to do that:
Community Manager at Simplero
Here is a transcript of the live video, if you'd rather read it:
Hey, it's Calvin, the founder and CEO of Simplero.
I had something else that I want to talk to you about. I want to talk about affirmations. Here's the thing. I don't actually do a tremendous amount of affirmations these days. That is to say mostly not at all, other than kind of unconsciously at some point, or from time to time. But my journey with affirmations I think might be interesting for you.
I came across them over 10 years ago, first through Tony Robbins. I bought some Tony Robbins products at a point in my life where I was struggling and searching for answers, and came across him. One of the things he talked about, one of his affirmations was, I was supposed to say to myself,
"Every day in every way I'm getting stronger and stronger.
Every day in every way I'm getting stronger and stronger.
Every day in every way I'm getting stronger and stronger".
Saying that actually kind of feels good now when I say it. But at the time, it kind of felt like bullshit. I was like, "This is not, who am I kidding? I'm just going to stop doing this". That was my first introduction to it. Then later I came across Louise Hay. She did a lot of mirror work, right? You look into a mirror and then you say, "Calvin", in my case, "Calvin, I love you. I really really love you, Calvin". You look into your own eyes as you are saying it in the mirror. That's a self love affirmation.
Here's the thing. A couple years ago I was at this conference called 99 You, and this journalist or writer from The Guardian was there. His name is Oliver Burkeman. He gave this talk where he dissed affirmations and poo pooed them, which a lot of people do. There's a lot of poo pooing of affirmations. "Oh, only weak stupid silly people do that. Who are you kidding that this is working? That this is doing anything?", etc.
Which is kind of exactly the point. These are the voices that we hear in our head, right? When you look into the mirror and you look yourself in the eyes and you say, "I love you", then all the self talk starts. "Oh, who are you kidding? This is bullshit. This is never going to work. Blah blah blah", right? Which as Louise Hay beautifully points out, those are also affirmations.
But here's the thing. Here's a trick to understanding affirmations. You want those things to surface, right? Because what you're affirming, "I love myself". That's the natural state. Babies that come out of the womb come out loving themselves. Why wouldn't they? They have no concept of anything else. This self hatred that we've learned is learned. It is learned behavior. Someone came up with that at some point, and now it just runs through generations. It runs in our culture that we have to criticize ourselves. "Oh, I'm too fat", or, "I'm too skinny", or, "I'm not this or that. I'm not successful enough, or happy. My wife is not ... My husband is not ...".
But mostly the self hate. The self hate is what translates into hating others. It's also what's translating into idolizing others. But the self hate and feeling that, "Every day in every way I'm getting weaker. I'm not getting stronger".
Getting stronger and stronger every day is the natural state.
We grow. We learn. We evolve.
That's natural. That's how life is supposed to be. "I'm powerful and prosperous and rich". That's your natural state. That's your birthright. That's what you do. That's the state that you live in when you haven't yet learned to screw it up for yourself.
Really what this is about is, it's connecting with some deeper truth within you. Then it's exposing all these layers of bullshit that lies in between that deeper truth and your current lived reality. What you want to do is get all that stuff to the surface, right? Burkeman said people feel worse after doing affirmations. Yes. Because you put a spotlight on all those uncomfortable things, right?
What we want to do is have them bubble up so that you can be like, "Oh, that story. 'Oh, you'll never amount to anything'. That's what my aunt whatever used to say. 'Oh, you're a good for nothing piece of shit', that's what my dad used to say". Whatever it is. You want all these things to bubble up so that you can be aware of them and heal them. Because all of those unconscious commitments and beliefs and stories, they're the ones that are running you right now.
We want to clear that stuff out. Then you be that boy that you were at that age, or girl, or whatever. You deal with whatever comes up. Maybe you just acknowledge it and let it go, and you're like, "Ah, that was my truth then but it doesn't have to be true now". You forgive the people who made you feel wrong, and you move on and you choose, "I'm the one that's in charge now". Then you get closer and closer.
For a while I would do daily mirror work. I would do these daily affirmations, and it felt weird and strange and silly and all these things. But it actually really made a difference. Getting it to the point where I could look myself in the eyes and just generally say, "I love you. I really love you", was a major major thing. It took a while. It took a long time to start to shift. But it did shift.
That's the point. We want to wear all that resistance down over time. It takes a while, and that's fine. Of course we wouldn't go affirming things that we don't believe. There's no point in that, right? "If I drop this it's going to fall. Ugh, this is going to fall. This is going to fall". We're not going to do that. Or whatever else. Other stuff that we already believe.
I might go to the mirror and say, "I love you, Calvin. I really love you", just because it feels good to affirm it.
But I would use it as an affirmation that I do on a regular basis, other than to keep my sword sharp, and just remind myself and check, "Did something bubble up that is causing some resistance now?". Then I might do that. But that would be the extent of it. Hold on, I'm going to open the chat. The comments. Just to see if someone's writing here.
But here's how I really like to think of affirmations. With everything really that I want to achieve I like to ask myself, "Who would I have to be in order for me to achieve this? How would I have to be? How would my energy be?". For affirmations I have a nourishing loving relationship, for example. Or I have a successful business with great customers, or whatever it is. What kind of person would I have to be in order for that to be true? How would my spine feel? How would my body feel? What would the energy around me be for someone for whom this is true? What would that be like?
Just go feel into that. Then find that within yourself. The way I like to think of it is as, you're putting this armor, this metal medieval armor, inside of you as this beautiful loving core that is, it just is. It just is love. It's nothing, it doesn't even have a name. It doesn't care about anything. But it's what resonates and radiates. That's the core from which everything beautiful and good in your life happens. It naturally has nourishing relationships, because why wouldn't it? It naturally has success in the world because it's just out there and contributing. It cares for other people and it cares for itself, and so it finds ways to add value and have mutual exchanges that benefit everybody. It's just in a natural state of being.
Then there's this armor that we put in top, which is everything that we learned growing up. The self hate and the, "Oh, we've got to do this. We've got to do that". That's what makes you get away from that natural state. We want to be able to feel that core inside of where this is true for you, and also be able to distinguish that from the armor that you've put around you. Then start to chink away at that armor bit by bit. Just lovingly. Just noticing and seeing and, "Oh, there's some pain. There's that that happened. This over here, and here I started protecting myself because I'm afraid of la la la". We start to peel away at this armor so that we can be more of that authentic natural core that we already are inside, but we've learned differently. Pretty much my principle with everything in terms of personal growth is, it's not, "How do I become successful", but, "How am I currently making myself not successful?". That's the thing that I'm actively doing.
It may be unconscious. It probably is unconscious. But that's the thing that I'm actually doing, and that's the thing I want to remove so that I can get to that natural place inside. That's where affirmations are so freaking helpful. Because it allows you to connect straight with that core inside, and then feel all the shit. All the armor stuff, all the beliefs, all the stories, all the wounding and hurt and all that stuff. All the confusion that is in between. Then peel away at it.
Initially maybe all you feel is that painful stuff, and so you feel worse. But over time, you're going to connect more and more easily with that more pure part inside, and so it lifts you. I have so many experiences where just by taking a few minutes, like, "I want to go do it now. Look in the mirror". I've kind of been looking, staring at my image in the screen here. But I wan to actually go to the mirror and do this right now.
Because it's transformative, man. It's really, you ring up a different frequency within yourself. That's where all the magic happens, is when you're connected with that frequency within yourself.
There you have it, folks. That's my take on how you make affirmations work for you. Don't be like Oliver dude and completely miss the point of how affirmations are supposed to work. Use them to figure out, "Who would I have to be in order for this to be true, and how can I start to be that person?".
That's where all the magic comes in. That's where all the good stuff in life happens.
Go try it out. Go do it. Let me know how that works out for you. I want to know. Share in the comments, and we'll be in touch soon. Bye bye.