Imagine if growing up, your mom constantly called you fat and ugly and told you that you need to go on a diet. You tried every diet under the sun, it seems. No matter what you did though, your mom still made remarks about your looks.
As a result, you grew up believing you were fat, ugly and that diets don’t work for you.
Then, sometime in your thirties you read a book about positive thinking and decided to start a positive affirmation practice.
You decided to address your body issues head on and prepared the following affirmations:
“I’m at a healthy weight, I’m beautiful, I’m strong.”
You repeated these words every evening for a month. Your mood improved, your attitude improved, yet you still could not lose weight. In fact, you gained even more weight.
Because you did not address the root cause: the low self-esteem that has been instilled into you in childhood. Even though you consciously adopted a positive affirmation of health and beauty, subconsciously you still believed that you are fat, ugly and that no diet can help you.
So now, after a month of diligently practicing positive affirmations you carry two opposing beliefs: 1. That you are fat and ugly and 2. That you are at a healthy weight and are beautiful.
In short, you are experiencing two opposing beliefs simultaneously.
It’s more common than you’d think.
I see this in a lot in my millennial clients. Deep inside they know who they are and what their purpose here on earth is. Yet, society keeps telling them something different. They try their best to conform to what the society tells them, but inside there’s a battle waging – one between their inner beliefs and the beliefs they are taught to accept.
But back to you and your beliefs, whereas before you had only one voice in your head telling you that you are ugly, now you have two voices: one telling you “ you are ugly” and the other “you are beautiful.”
Oh my, the noise!
No wonder you can’t focus or concentrate on anything, there’s a schizophrenic conversation happening in your head!
Did you fail?
Did your affirmation practice fail? Chances are, it did not, you simply did not address the old beliefs. You added new beliefs without removing old ones.
ln essence, you brought new furniture into your house without removing the old furniture and now you are wondering why you can’t move around the house – there’s too much furniture!
The solution is to address and remove the old beliefs so that the new ones can replace them.
Unfortunately, this may not be easy. My musician friends tell me that it’s much harder to re-learn how to play an instrument correctly than to learn it the right way from the start.
Luckily, there are many tools and resources available to help you heal and let go of the past.
I will stop here by restating that although positive affirmations are a powerful tool, sometimes they are not enough to get you where you want to be and yet their positive effect on our lives must not be overlooked.