Recently quite a few of my coaching clients have brought up the affirmation and mantras they have been using to re-wire more positive and enabling neuronal networks.
Whilst it may seem as though affirmations/mantras are a valuable tool in reprograming our mind and training our brains to perceive the world in a more positive light, they actually aren’t helpful. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say they are unhelpful distractions. There are a couple reasons for this.
Firstly, affirmations only occupy the conscious mind. Though it may affect change, anything that works exclusively on the level of consciousness will not create true transformation. We are transformed when our unconscious programing is altered. When this happens, new behaviors emerge effortlessly, rather than as a product of conscious thinking. Thus, putting our attention on conscious programming is the equivalent of brushing a person’s hair after a car accident where they have broken several bones and are bleeding. It’s far more important to put our attention on the less superficial areas, wouldn’t you agree?
Secondly, affirmations direct your attention to what’s lacking. For example, imagine you had been repeating the mantra “I am good enough” over and over in your mind. The underlying message is I am not yet good enough (because if you already knew you were why would you be repeating it over and over?), though I wish to be that.
An alternative would be a much more complicated sentence structure which embeds the affirmation as a command, followed by a question which will reveal what your unconscious actually wants. For example,
You already know that you can recognize what is good enough in the world so you obviously already know what’s good enough within you. So you can continue to be fully present in that knowing that you are already good enough. And because you’re good enough, now what becomes possible?
When you be as if you already are that you can allow the affirmation to slip in, moving right past the conscious mind as a presupposition so that you can focus your mind on something far more important. Before the conscious mind has a chance to think, oh but I’m not that, we’re already on to the essential bit: what happens then? In this space, the application of the affirmation in a quality way, this is where true transformation comes from because you can flow simply and easily into the moment after the embodiment.
So if you’re going to do affirmations, may as well put your attention on the structure of them, and make them quality, right? Here’s a simple formula you can use:
You already are _________. And because you are_______________, what becomes possible now?