It’s time for some tough love. Affirmations have gotten a bad name, and reading through a lot of them for this article, I can see why. We’re encouraged to chant lies at ourselves in the mirror. “I can do anything I put my mind to.” No, you cannot. Here’s an example: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian body-builder and current governor of California, might want to be President of the U.S., but he can put his mind to it all he wants, he’s
not going to be President. He wasn’t born in the U.S. and unless the Constitution changes, he’s got to settle for something less.Some positions and careers are out of our reach, and the sooner we get realistic, the faster we an set realistic goals–big ones, tough ones, to be sure, but realistic ones.
“I deserve respect and all good things,” sounds hollow in the mouth of a banker who lied about mortgage loans and sent half his clients into bankruptcy.
It’s time for tough-love affirmations. Ones that feel real to you, that inspire you because they are based in your truth and seem possible, even if they are hard. No cheap, starchy filler in these soul-supporting challenges.
“Universe–you supply the quantity, I’ll handle the quality.”
“All prayers are answered. Sometimes the answer is ‘no’.”
“I am in charge of my happiness. . . .what can I do to have more?”
The purpose of affirmations is to change negative thoughts to positive thoughts. This takes persistence. Lots of persistence. The first thing my coaching clients say is, “If the universe wants me to have it, it will deliver it to me.” Really? If that were true, then the universe must want me to have bills, because that’s the only thing that gets delivered to my house. Food, gas for the car, clothing—none of those show up at my front door on their own. Neither does happiness and success, they both take effort, planning and work. I believe in the universe, but I don’t believe in the fairy goduniverse.
The next thing my coaching clients say is, “I can’t replace the negative thoughts. You can’t get rid of a thought.” So I ask them to try something. You can do it right now. Close your eyes and imagine a red rubber ball rolling on a green lawn on a sunny day. Can you see it, rolling down the slight slope? Ahhh, nice. Now, think of a $20 bill. See the rectangular shape and the fancy number “20″ in
each corner? The man on the front is Andrew Jackson–a long face, full white head of hair. See it? Great. Ummm, what happened to the ball?
Yep, you replaced one thought with another. You can change your thoughts, you just did. And you can use positive thoughts to change negative thoughts.
Now, what are your real-life, no-nonsense, get-tough affirmations? Leave them in the comments section and I’ll choose a winner and send him/her a copy of Taming Your Gremlin: A Guide to Enjoying Yourself by Richard D. Carson. It’s a short, illustrated book to help you get rid of negative self talk. That’s the cover, up at the top of the blog.
Let’s hear those tough-love affirmations. . .
Contest winner: Susan at OrganicsYes is the winner! (Drawn at random). Send me your address, and I’ll send you the book!
–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach and writer.