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Here’s Why Your Affirmations Never Work

Ever wonder why affirmations never work? 

Maybe you’ve been trying to become more confident, manifest an abundance of money, find your soulmate, or strengthen the relationship you have with your partner. I know, it’s frustrating. You’ve tried affirmations time and time again but they NEVER seem to work.

But what if I told you that the affirmations not working has nothing to do with your lack of willpower, inability to stick to your word, or lack of perseverance? The reason why they never seem to work actually has NOTHING to do with you.

The reason why affirmations never work is that they’re not targeting the root cause of your suffering. Sounds simple, I know… Because it is.

Below is a simple 3-Step Guide to identify the root cause of your suffering, so you can begin creating your list of affirmations that will actually work!

1. Identify It

There are six basic needs in order for self-esteem and emotional well-being to flourish. They include:

Feeling worthy to others

Feeling loved and lovable

Feeling adequate to self

Feeling able to recover after failures, setbacks and mistakes

Feeling basically good

Feeling safe

If there are times when these six basic needs feel inadequate or unmet, self-esteem is damaged, and negative core beliefs may form. Oftentimes, this is where our self-destructive habits are rooted and why we feel like there is an inability to improve our situations.

For this part of the exercise, don’t focus on identifying the experiences that have caused you to feel this way, just focus on the words and identify whether or not they feel true to you, even to some extent. Remember to be honest with yourself. The purpose of this exercise is not to hold judgment on yourself for the way you feel, but rather to allow yourself the ability to be open and transparent with yourself about the thoughts you feel.

Take out a pen and paper and allow some time to identify what some of your negative beliefs are from the list above, as this will empower you to uncover the root cause for your self-sabotaging patterns.

Keep in mind that our memory, feelings, emotions, and attitudes are controlled by our Subconscious or Unconscious minds, meaning that we only have a limited amount of awareness around the negative experiences that have happened to us that have formed our self-worth. Write down what of the following experiences resonate with you.

Not feeling worthy to others – “I don’t matter/ I’m insignificant or unimportant/ I’m different/ I’ll never get X’s approval/ I’m worthless”

Not feeling loving and lovable – “I’m not lovable/ I can’t love, I’m ugly, unattractive or flawed/ No one will love me as I am”

Not feeling generally adequate to self – “I’m incompetent, inadequate, powerless or weak/ I’m stupid/ I can’t do anything right/ I can’t get what I want/ I can’t handle this/ There’s something wrong with me/ I’m damaged”

Not feeling able to have grown after failure, setbacks and mistakes – “I’m a failure/ I must be perfect/ I must be 100% successful/ I’m hopeless”

Not feeling generally “good” – “I’m a bad person/ I’m terrible/ I’m shameful”

Not feeling safe or trusting of self or others – “I can’t trust anyone/ I don’t feel safe/ I must protect myself and the people I love/ I’m in danger/ I can’t show my feelings”

2. Uncover The Root Cause

After you’ve written down the above negative beliefs that you resonate with, I want you to find a safe space that is a quiet and private environment for you to spend some time with yourself uninterrupted. The goal of this exercise is to acknowledge all of the events that occurred within your childhood-adolescents that triggered these beliefs to be formed, as it is between our childhoods and adolescence that our mindsets are formed, conditioned, and engraved for years to come.

It’s important that you first identify a safe space (an environment where you feel comfortable, safe, supportive, at peace and uninterrupted), as this will disengage the Limbic System (the part of your primal brain that thinks it needs to protect you) and engage the Parasympathetic part of your brain (the part of your brain that engages in rest and digest, i.e. relaxation), which is ultimately the first step to working through difficult to process emotions, processing traumas, and uncovering past traumas.

This exercise may feel silly or uncomfortable, but I urge you to push through this discomfort, as this is the brain saying, “Hey, no, this is uncomfortable!”

Remember: Your brain LOVES your comfort zone, and will continually try to keep you within your comfort zone. So if your comfort zone has become feeling unloved, second guessing yourself, people pleasing, or being suffocated in anxiety, for example, these are the scenarios your brain will mark as “safe” and try desperately to continue recreating them over and over again. This is called the Cycle of Self-Sabotage, and the way to overcome this is by pushing past the discomfort during this exercise.

After you have found your safe space, bring one of the negative beliefs that you selected above into full awareness and begin to identify experiences from your past that made you feel this way without trying to fight or change it. Each time you identify a new experience that triggers the memory of this negative belief, write it down on the following page and identify how old you were when this experience occurred.

It may take five minutes, 30 minutes, two hours, or even a few days to identify the root cause of a belief. The most important part of this exercise is to remember to be patient and empathetic with yourself while you make the effort to uncover your negative core beliefs. The purpose of this exercise is not to judge how you feel but rather to bring to your conscious awareness of the experiences that have negatively impacted you.

If you resonate with more than one negative belief in the above list, take a day or two between identifying the experiences that have caused these feelings to manifest.

3. Recreate Your List Of Affirmations

Lastly, after you’ve identified the root cause(s) of your negative beliefs, the next step is to recreate your list of affirmations that TARGET the root cause(s) of your suffering!

So, why does this exercise work? Because other exercises only skim the surface of your pain and suffering. And while this helps to a certain extent, the goal isn’t to numb the pain, it’s to overcome the pain. Addressing the root causes of your mindset blocks, allows you to create a bulletproof list of affirmations that will allow you to take on anything and everything life throws at you. 

Good luck!