I used to think affirmations and “dream boards” were a crock of shit.
While I always dreamt big and encouraged others to do the same, I thought you could only get the things you wanted by good, old-fashioned hard work. Just reciting your wants or looking at a homemade collage was wasted time you could’ve been actually working towards your dream.
Now after my illness, I have been converted to world of affirmations. But just because I now believe in affirmations, doesn’t mean I think they will work for everyone. They simply will not.
I’m not trying to be a dream-crusher, but a realist. Many people don’t realize that there is a process to be pursued before the utterance of an affirmation or a glimpse of a dream board will actually manifest.
What is an Affirmation?
According to Dictionary.com, an affirmation is the assertion that something exists or is true.
I like to think of them as the positive seeds we plant in our hearts and minds with the intent of flourishing dreams. These could be dreams about anything; our careers, family lives, spiritual growth…
The most common repetitive mantras I’ve heard take the following form:
“I am successful in everything I do.
“I want to be a bestselling author.”
“I feel happy, healthy, and must remain positive.”
“I want to be married and have children.”
“I will be rich because I attract only prosperity.”
“I want to be a pillar and inspiration to my community.”
“I have a fulfilling life.”
Saying these words to yourself can be calming and motivating when daunted by our hectic daily lives. This is the reason we clamor to these words during our tough moments, as we inhale and exhale to soothe our emotions in the midst of chaos.
While in recovery, I repeated words of encouragement and optimistic forethought as I struggled to learn how to walk again. I made a decision to use my mind as a motivating force through my recovery. But let’s be honest, it only works up to a certain point.
What an Affirmation is Not…
Just by saying, “I will walk again,” wasn’t enough for me to get out of my wheelchair and walk a mile. It took a lot of pain, determination, and hard work. And these were just not physical challenges, but emotional and mental as well.
Coming to terms with the fact that I could not do something I have been able to do with ease for 30 years was emotionally painful. Something so simple, I have taken for granted, was stripped away from me. I had to allow myself to grieve this loss before I could attempt to regain it.
An affirmation is not a magic pill, despite what many self-help gurus exclaim. Saying a few words to get us through a tough day or a rough patch in our lives is simply throwing those words out aimlessly and hoping for the best. If this is your approach, you have a better chance of winning the lottery, than actualizing your affirmation.
Affirmations will not change your negative thinking to positive, nor will it change the undesirable elements in your life to desirables.
As with anything worthwhile, time and patience is required.