Affirmations work for the people that don’t need them: people that are optimistic and feel good. They can be harmful to the people that need them most: people who are looking for hope and inspiration. If they don’t work for you, don’t feel bad, you are not a failure. you are not hopeless.
It’s not your fault.
Affirmations can be harmful and dangerous… except for the people that don’t NEED affirmations.
Here’s what the research on affirmations shows:
If you are a person that already feels positive about life affirmations will likely work for you. The affirmations will confirm your beliefs and make you happy.
If you are a person that does not look at things like that (which ironically, are the people that need the affirmations most), affirmations can backfire.
The reason is because the mind is always looking to establish balance. It’s called homeostasis.
It works like this:
Imagine that you say to yourself, “I am worthy”, and “I am lovable”. Your mind will attempt to create balance by looking for examples of the opposite. So it will send you thoughts and memories of instances in which you did not feel worthy, or lovable. Memories and thoughts that will produce negative feelings. That will make you feel worse.
So if affirmations don’t work, what does? The best research in psychology says “The George Baily” effect. Named after the main character in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Yes, that movie that they play 1,000 times around Christmas. Basically, in the movie, the character attempts suicide, but an angel shows him what the world would have been if he had not been around: the contributions that he made to other people’s lives.
So, psychologists found that if you engage in thinking “what would life be if I DIDNT have: this car I hate, this little apartment, this menial job? Imagining that you would be catching a bus, sleeping in the streets, and broke, your life would not seem that bad. Your mood would lift, and you would experience a feeling of satisfaction for what you have.
Unlike affirmations, this exercise was proven to create positive feelings for everyone, regardless of their initial state of mind. Try it instead of affirmations and feel its effect.