I was thinking about affirmations the other day, and why they don’t always work. I have certainly been guilty of going through my daily affirmations without really caring about them. I realized that most of the time, I give it a half-assed effort. Here is the definition of half-assed: done with little effort or care; incompetent or inadequate. Wow, that kind of stung!
It was also a revelation. If I think about the times where I have been incompetent or inadequate, it was because I didn’t really care about the task at hand. I didn’t put the energy into it, to be deemed competent or adequate. I just didn’t care enough to be successful.
I decided to add some humor to the subject about my affirmation challenges. I coined a new term for this: Half-affed, which means that affirmations are done in a rote way, with little effort or care.
So when I catch myself doing this, I lovingly say: It’s not affin’ working! I’m half-affin’ it! Stop half-affin’ it!
I’ve titled this the magical affirmation effect because effect is a consequence or outcome brought about by a cause. When we half-aff it, we bring about an effect that’s an unintentional result of our non-action. When we give it a full-aff effort, we create the desired outcome we want because we took action.
Remember when you were a kid and said your nightly prayers,
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take.
If we really felt that with feeling, we would be traumatized for life! We’d all be insomniacs! We’ve been taught to pray without really taking it to heart.
Or we pray or meditate from a victim mindset, and we really feel into that. And guess what? We keep finding more reasons to be a victim! And why is that? It’s because we were feeling into being a victim while we were asking for help.
Same thing happens with our affirmations. We say them over and over without really feeling what it would feel like to be a reality. Then we get frustrated when they don’t become our reality. When we repeat them over and over without any real feeling or care, we are reciting these by rote and it becomes an unconscious exercise. It’s like your affirmations are a radio station playing in the background. You can hear them, but you are not fully experiencing them.
Our minds can repeat things over and over while also thinking about something else. Our brain is accustomed to linear and logical learning, which makes it feel in control. When it feels in control, it becomes comfortable and then tunes out! When our affirmations are done in this fashion, the brain excels at the repetition and when we don’t push our body to “feel into it.” The brain relaxes and quickly tunes out. Can you see why this might be happening with your affirmation practice?
Every morning for over twenty years, I have been saying these three affirmations, three times each:
- This day, I am my holy, holy divine spirit.
- Bless this body and burnish bright my holy temple.
- Let me execute my duties this day, from the just place of my Holy Spirit.
Most mornings, I have to start over at least three or four times! By the time I get to the third attempt, I finally begin to focus on the words and what they mean to me. I still love these affirmations and they are what I want to be every day. My mind has just gotten used to saying them, and glosses over the significance of them to get to the end. Just like we might do with our tasks during the day. We rush to get to the end, so we can check it off our list!
Feelings are the key ingredient! The affirmation is the intention, and the feeling is the action. The action is critical! The main reason that we don’t feel into it is because it’s an unknown and we don’t know what it feels like. But you can use a surrogate feeling after you state your affirmation! You can trick the brain and body into action, by remembering a feeling of exhilaration from a past event, say learning to drive a car, winning a game, going trick or treating, Christmas morning, or any event that made you feel enchanted or victorious. You can even take it a step further and act out that affirmation in your daily life so that you can then attach real-time feelings to it.
There are many amazing tarot card decks that we can use to help us with our intentional affirmations. Don’t get scared by the word “tarot.” The word itself can bring up feelings of fear, based on misguided notions about the use of tarot cards. Our mind conjures up an image of a mysterious fortune teller dealing in black magic, who turns over the grim reaper card. Immediately we are fearful for our lives! Tarot cards are just another way to help us find our divine purpose, to tune into Spirit for answers and guidance. And by tuning in, we develop the muscle memory of trusting our intuition.
You can find card decks designed around many subjects: angels, goddesses, animals, flowers, and simple words or statements of inspiration. The image on the card is essential in assisting you in creating the feeling that will resonate and inspire you to embody it. Remember, the body is critical in the process. It must really feel on a deep level and be entrained into the new reality you are attempting to create. It takes consistency and practice, just like learning to read and write.
A great way to work with card decks is to add Mother Nature to the process. Choose a card and go out in nature. Stand next to a tree, on the bank of a river or lake, or your favorite place in nature. Tune into the energy of the beauty around you. When you are feeling the beauty in your body, then put your focus on the card. Speak to your body as if it’s your best friend (which it is!), and describe how it feels and how it will serve your purpose. The body listens to us, and it follows instructions. Your job, if you want to effect change, is to give it the best instructions you can!
Repetition is another important key. The body and mind need consistency to seat it into the subconscious. It takes a lot of practice and concentration to learn how to drive a car. You must learn the rules of the road, the feel of the car in your control, and your senses need to be in hyper mode to master the process. Over time and practice, it becomes unconscious. You know how to turn the car on, set the mirrors, use your lights and blinkers. It flows now and you are more at ease. Then you can enjoy the freedom of driving while being aware of the scenery as you pass by. You can easily have a conversation with your passenger or sing along with the radio, because you and your body are now at ease. What was once new and scary is now fun and adventurous. Take that same way of mastering anything into how you use card decks and affirmations.
You can even create your own card deck. It can be as simple as choosing 3-5 words that inspire you and resonate with what you want to be. For each word, draw a picture of what that word means to you. You don’t have to be a talented artist to do this. Just feel into the word and draw what comes to mind. That image will become your talisman for that word, and each time you envision it, you can feel it. If your word is abundance, then draw what abundance means to you. It could be a simple beach scene, with the sea signifying all the abundance that is always available. Or it could be your dream house or car. It doesn’t matter what the image is, only that it instills in you a sense of what it would be like to have that image as a reality.
You can also create your own Affirmation or Inspiration Jar. You can find these already set up online, so you just print them out and put in your jar. Or you can create a simple word document with all the words you want to have in your jar. Pick one word daily or weekly and embody that word fully all day.
There are also other decks that provide ideas on things to do. One of my favorites is from Sunny Dawn Johnston, called “Fill Me Up.” It’s a self-care card deck, and you choose an activity to complete that increases your energy and self-love. It includes fun things like coloring, making a meal, sending love to others, connecting with water, singing a song, or decluttering – just easy and simple things that nurture us.
Affirmations are a great practice to put into place. Give yourself the gift of being a powerful effecter of your life.
Don’t half-aff it! Give it a full-aff effort!
And then watch the Universe shower you with success!