Are positive affirmations just a gimmick?
Affirmations are positive words or phrases used repeatedly in an effort to deliberately program the subconscious mind to believe or accept a new idea ...especially about oneself.
For people who subscribe to a belief in affirmations the idea is that someone who lacks self confidence can simply repeat a phrase such as “I am confident” etc ...on a daily basis and eventually acquire self confidence.
Sounds simple ...doesn't it?
In fact, its this simplicity that in part accounts for the popularity of affirmations. They are simple and easy to perform. In the face of all the hard work that a true change in character and thought patterns entails ...many people would rather take the easier option.
But here's something they don't tell you about positive affirmations...
Though affirmations can offer a powerful short term effect ...as time passes (and old patterns assert themselves) the effect of these affirmations fades. In effect, to make affirmations work ...you must make a lifetime commitment to affirmations if you wish to enjoy their benefit.
This is a MAJOR problem with the affirmation approach.
After-all, who wants to get involved in a lifetime commitment?
As a result, for the vast majority of people who try affirmations (and then give up) ...affirmations often only paper over the real problems people have with their self-esteem and self-confidence. Over time the ability of affirmations to paper over these problems gets weaker and weaker. Inevitably, the paper thin facade of confidence fades away and the lack of true self-confidence returns.
Do I need affirmations?
Rather than relying on affirmations to guide your thoughts and emotions, here's what you should do:
Aim to find the roots of what is causing your lack of self-confidence.
Explore what produces and drive feelings of inferiority deep down inside you. Maybe you are insecure because a teacher once told you you wouldn't amount to anything. Examining and dealing with this emotional nerve would be a better way of fixing it ...rather than simply papering over it with affirmations.
For example, you could consider examining the mentality of the teacher (and any flaws therein) who said that to you in order to find out hidden motives why the teacher may have said that specific thing to you (See my article: 3 Reasons Someone Will Criticize You ...Even When Nothing Is Wrong With You). The same goes for bullies or friends or family members you don't get along with.
Begin Work At The Roots ...Not The Surface
Like a weed, if you want to kill it ...you need to pull it from the roots and not simply cut off the weed at the surface. When you find the root of your feelings, you then need to begin work on examining and fixing these problems. Only then can you begin on the path to change that will ultimately produce meaningful confidence and self-esteem.
It’s important to note that affirmations can actually work against the very ideas they are meant to instill in your mind. This happens when you know in your heart the affirmation is at complete odds with reality. Research has found that when people repeat affirmations that actually contradict what they truly believe ...rather than inspiring change they actually make people feel worse!
This is why I recommend tackling any internal issues as a first means of action when trying to instill real change in your life. This requires more work ...but the results are worth it.