This affirmation came from a comedy routine, back before Al Franken entered politics. As Stuart Smalley, his constant affirmation was,
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
The entire sketch made fun of the self-help world, affirmations, positive thinking, and the like. Without actually placing blame, per se, it is probably in part due to watching this sketch in my late teens that turned me off from affirmations.
I have always found them cheesy, goofy, silly, and just…weird. They make me cringe. Affirmations tend to make me uncomfortable.
Affirmations are almost completely inescapable. They are a part of almost every self-help, self-realization, self-actualization, mindfulness, and awareness method that there is.
Why do you need affirmations?
I have wondered about this for as long as I have researched and practiced mindfulness, positivity, and conscious reality creation. Nearly every book I have read, video I have watched, or recording I have listened to on the topics of the Law of Attraction, self-help, inspiration, spirituality, and the like make at least some mention of affirmations.
It took me a long time to understand why. But I finally have begun to actually get it, albeit only recently.
Affirmations help rewire the brain.
You have been fed a constant, non-stop stream of information your whole life. For the first couple dozen years of your life or so, you were only able to process that info on the basest of levels. Why? Because the prefrontal cortex of your brain, where your most cognitive thinking and reasoning takes place, is generally not fully developed until your early to mid-twenties, according to modern science.
What does that mean? It means what you have taken in throughout adolescence and your teens gets implanted into your brain without much in-depth analysis. Thus, a lot of the information you absorb, and the how, what, and why of things you come to believe, can be difficult to change.
For example, if your parents yelled at one another all the time in your childhood, you likely associated a contentious relationship with a loving relationship. If you were told again and again into your teens that there was not enough money because of ‘X’, you probably subconsciously can never find enough money due to that ‘X’ factor.
So as much as I am not a fan of them, affirmations are a necessary tool for changing underlying, subconscious beliefs.
Rewiring the brain requires digging deep
When you cut down a tree, to remove it completely you also need to uproot it. If it’s a particularly old tree, the roots may run deep and wide, and be almost impossible to completely dig out.
Old beliefs wired into your brain work exactly this way. They are rooted so deep that digging them out to replace them is really difficult.
In many respects, trying to dig out those roots to change your beliefs is a waste of time. Why? Because a belief is an understanding, a perception that you have built up over time. Rather than dig it out and remove it, you need to replace it.
This is where rewiring the brain comes in. By creating a new circuitry path for the belief to follow, you can rewire your brain, and change a core belief, no matter how deeply rooted it may be.
Of course, to actually make that change you need to work on finding the root of the belief. A little digging will be necessary. But once you find the root, you don’t need to dig it out. You just need to change the path of the thought process to bypass the existing belief.
Change the conversation with yourself
One of the best ways to do this is to alter your self-talk. Self-talk is the things you say and think to yourself, the constant yammering of your brain that goes on and on. When you have not been paying attention to it, your subconscious will let you go to all sorts of undesirable places.
This is where changing a core belief matters. To alter where you are in your life, and where you are going, this is a necessary action. To do this, you need to recognize what your self-talk tends to be.
A good way to alter your self-talk is to replace the existing dialogue with new dialogue. That often means putting affirmations to work.
For example, if you are trying to rewire your beliefs about money, you need to replace thinking and saying “I don’t have enough” or “I’m broke” or “I can’t afford that” with “I have more than enough” or “I have abundance” or “I CAN afford that.”
To rewire the thought processes you already have requires repetition. Affirmations are designed to be repetitive, so they actually are the perfect way to work on the rewiring.
The question now for me is, how do I overcome my dislike of affirmations?
Call them what they are
Affirmation implies cheesy, trite, overused lines that are rather silly. The notion of an off-putting, oddball like Stuart Smalley trying to make a buck selling the idea just adds to the discomfort.
Why? Because I am pretty sure I fear being seen the same way. A strange, off-putting, oddball peddling a funky notion that is trite and cheesy. Well, maybe I am — but that doesn’t lessen the power of this idea. Since I chose to work on being more mindful and to find or create for myself the life I most desire to live, I have been a happier, stronger, more complete person. It’s not been perfect, but overall it has been amazing.
Because I have found so much more peace and contentment this way, I desire to share it because I believe that if more people had this in their lives, the whole world would be made better. Since I know that this requires doing things that take me out of my comfort zones, that means that making use of affirmations is a part of that.
An affirmation is an affirmative statement intended to help rewire the brain. Since changing outmoded, outdated beliefs is a key means to finding and creating the life I most desire to live, this is a tool that should not be ignored.
The key is to stop worrying or caring about what or how anyone else thinks of me. So long as I am being the best me that I can be, if that requires making use of affirmations, so be it.
You have the same ability, the same power to do that for your life, too.
Whatever it takes to make positive changes, have at it. Let’s do this.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and affirmations just confirm that.