This morning, I’d like to tackle a question that many readers have on the subject of positive affirmations.Do they or don’t they work?Below is what one customer recently wrote – followed by my answer:
It is refreshing to hear your take but every other “mentor” out there, says you must read affirmations daily as if you had already accomplished them, and I guess that is what we are meant to see in the Theater of the Mind.
Is it that the Theater of the Mind is enough and that doing so daily renders the affirmations useless? I have been using affirmations before I heard your teachings, admittedly, with not much success 🙂
I hope you don’t mind me emailing you but I was curious to find out more.
Thank you for such a great question. My answer may shock you even more than the Theatre of the Mind program.
The experts say that all affirmations should follow the three P’s – personal, present tense and positive. They say this is the way to create your own reality.
Okay, so my question is: Is this the way you do normal everyday tasks, like eating, bathing, sleeping, and so on?
When you’re hungry, you probably say something to yourself like, “I AM Hungry” – correct? This is then followed by a question, “What do I want to eat today?”
And this question is probably followed by you scanning a series of mental images about food and/or restaurants, until you decide on a specific mental picture or movie of yourself devouring your next meal.
Are you with me so far?
Okay, so let me ask: When you ask yourself what you’d like to eat, do you say to yourself, “I am now eating a giant pizza?
Probably not. I’m willing to bet you don’t say you’re eating anything until you actually ARE.
Yet, I’m also willing to bet that you formed some type of mental image of yourself eating and you imagined the meal being really, really good before you ate it.
So, you linked a mental picture with the emotion of hunger and the emotion of feeling – and this drove you to feed yourself.
You could stand in your kitchen and affirm, “I AM NOW EATING A PIZZA” for the next month – and be no further toward eating than when you began.
The same goes with money, relationships, travel, business and so on.
Just because you positively affirm something doesn’t mean you’re going to create it.
In fact, in many cases, positively affirming something practically ensures that you’ll NEVER have it.
You do NOT create results just because you positively affirm them.
You create results because of the mental images you have in your mind, the desire you have within to achieve them – and because of the actions you’re wiling to take to make your images become reality.
Many “positive affirmers” don’t picture what they want – don’t have enough feeling in what they affirm and aren’t willing to take action at the level required to achieve their goal.
If the words you are affirming are incongruent with the mental imagery and feelings you have on the same subject, you’ll get nowhere but stuck.
Additionally, if the words you’re affirming are being negated by an unconscious voice (automatic failure mechanism) that is essentially saying, “B.S. You’re never going to do this, that or the other…” – then it doesn’t matter whether your affirmations are present tense, positive and personal – or future tense – i.e. “I am going to” or “I will.”
In fact, you can make “I can” or “I will” or “I am going to” statements and make them become reality at shockingly surprising speed if your mental images and your level of emotion are strong.
I’ve given clients affirmations that are neither positive or negative. They just ARE.
For example, for a fellow martial artist – “move from your center.”
Not, “I am moving from my center.” Just, “move from your center.”
For a wannabe writer, instructions are to “Shut off the monitor and write.”
Not, “I am shutting off the monitor screen as I write.”
So the whole thing about the three P’s is practically irrelevant provided you see yourself where you want to be – and feel yourself there – as you state a goal to yourself.
In short, if you see yourself making a pizza – if you feel good about the idea, then it matters not whether you think or affirm, “I am now making a pizza” or “I’m going to make a pizza now.”
And now, for the ultimate mind-bender. There is a way to use positive affirmations, including the “I AM” variety, and get results – but not until the failure mechanism has been subdued, minimized and shut down. So guess what? It’s not for beginners.
Even so, you cannot get to that level of affirmation magic unless you first and foremost understand the power of mental pictures and the feelings that go with them.
This means that, if you affirm anything, positively or negatively, nothing much will happen unless there’s powerful mental imagery and emotion linked to them.
Lastly, keep this in mind: “In the beginning was the Word.”
True – and the Creator speaking the Word had a mental image of what was being created – otherwise the “Word” alone wouldn’t have created anything. So it is with affirmations. Words alone don’t do the trick – unless or until they are mixed with mental images and feelings.
Again, thanks for your email.
P.S. For personal coaching in Theatre of the Mind and Psycho-Cybernetics, visit our website and fill out the application.