In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to explain why affirmations don’t work and what to do about it.
First a quick update:
For the Spanish speaking people, watch the interview I gave on America TeVe in Spanish: “Puede el fisico de Sarah Palin influenciar el voto?” Como el experto en comportamiento humano yo explico las razones por la popularidad de Sarah Palin y hago una prediccion acerca de ella.
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Now let’s talk about why affirmations don’t work and what to do about it.
An affirmation is the assertion that something exists or is true and it is always stated as positive, in the present tense and first person e.g. “I live in a house.” It is never stated in the negative “I am not fat” or in the future tense “I will be thin.”
The concept of an affirmation is to state something you want to be true with the intention of making it your truth and reality by changing your beliefs.
So why would I as a Celebrity Life Coach & Clinical Hypnotherapist teach or claim that affirmations don’t work?
As I explain in my audio book, “Get What You Want”, we learn one of two ways:
1. A highly emotional experience or event
Example: As a child you go swimming in the ocean and you almost drown. The shock and intense emotion of almost drowning bypasses the logical conscious mind and the subconscious now believes that swimming in the ocean equals danger or pain. Accordingly, as an adult you are still frightened of swimming in the ocean –even in shallow water.
Example: If your parents consistently told you that you will amount to nothing and are worthless, then you end up believing it. The mere constant repetition of those words bypasses the conscious mind and is accepted as truth by the subconscious. Accordingly, as an adult, you still believe that you are worthless.
The theory proposed by many is that if we repeat sufficiently what we want or desire, we will change our beliefs and it will become our truth and reality. The reason we learn so easily as children via repetition is because we are like sponges, absorbing whatever we are told with little ability to analyze the implications and consequences of those things repeatedly told to us. We also easily accept what our parents told us because as children we idolize our parents and they stand over us like an eight-story building and we depend on them for survival as well as for love. In other words, our parents easily program us. As adults, for us to change those original beliefs requires either an intense emotional experience or a lot of repetition which, leads us to my second point.
Affirmations don’t work because there isn’t sufficient repetition and they are in constant battle with deeper long-standing beliefs.
For example, you might affirm one hundred times in the morning and one-hundred times at night that “I am a good person” but did you know that you have 65,000 thoughts a day – most of them unconscious thoughts? How many of those 65,000 thoughts support your affirmation that you are a good person? How many of those thoughts state the opposite – “I am stupid…lazy…fat…ugly…bad, etc.”?
The problem here is that affirmations do not take into account deeper beliefs and feelings.
How do you feel when you affirm “I am a good person” or “I make X dollars”?
I also teach in my audio book, “Get what you want” that you cannot succeed with affirmations by simply trying to force them down or using will power because that approach only triggers more resistance from the conscious and/or subconscious mind. The more you push and push, saying “I am thin” when you feel fat, the more resistance you will feel and get from the conscious mind which says “no, you’re not thin” and the subconscious mind which might say, “I don’t deserve to be thin” or “It’s not safe to be thin.” I will expand on this point in a moment.
My key point here is that your affirmations must be in alignment with your deeper beliefs and they must become part of your everyday language. For example, you don’t need to affirm “I am John Smith (or whatever your name is)” because you know that to be true, you feel it and you believe it and, it is part of your everyday language.
So what is the answer to successfully using affirmations?
- Repeat your affirmation
- Spend a few moments visualizing the desired result and emotionalize it; feel it
- Ask yourself if you deserve the desired result or not
Let’s take the example of “I am thin.” You repeat it as normal and then you imagine what it would be and feel like to be thin. And finally, you ask, “Do I deserve to be thin? Is it OK for me to be thin? Am I afraid of being thin?”
The answers could be quite revealing and if you suddenly realize that you don’t feel good enough to be thin (guilt or self-punishment) or you are afraid of being thin because you might get too much attention, then you can work on those issues and beliefs; you can create a new affirmation to change the secondary beliefs e.g. “I forgive myself” or “It is OK and safe to get attention.”
You can also learn to incorporate your affirmations as part of your everyday language and begin throughout the day to imagine the desired result and act and feel as if you have the desired result.
In all cases, always, please, look at your deeper beliefs and work on changing them at a subconscious level. The fastest way to change your beliefs is to access your subconscious mind and for that, hypnosis is the fastest way.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.