What you resist, persists.
When we’re first recognizing that we want to make a change in our lives, affirmations are among the first pieces we try to snap into place in our self-help puzzle.
The typical image conjured up when we hear “affirmations” is a person calmly stating what she desires in the present tense and repeating it regularly.
“I am happy.”
“I am healthy and have lots of energy.”
“Money is abundant in my life.“
A different image comes up for me: I think of the classic “Seinfeld” episode when George’s father, Frank, is advised to repeat “serenity now” to keep his blood pressure low. Instead of saying it peacefully, he often ends up yelling it, as if he can shout his high blood pressure into submission.
We laugh at Frank, because his outbursts reflect an uncomfortable reality: there’s a good chance the affirmations we take on aren’t true. We aren’t feeling serene, happy, healthy, energetic or abundant. And when we tell ourselves that we are those things right now, we’re lying to ourselves. Our brain says “You lie!“
Not all affirmations are a lie, however. There are ways to create affirmations that use the truth to empower and motivate.
Gestalt psychotherapy proposes the “Paradoxical Theory of Change.” According the theory, “change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.“
It’s about acknowledging and embracing where and who we are now (which is often what we resist). When we can do that, we’re taking the first step towards creating the change we wish to see.
What’s important for you to accept before change can occur? What truth do you want to acknowledge? What kind of affirmation would reflect both your truth and your desires?