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Today there was an article from US Magazine where former American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee shared that affirmations have not helped her in her battle with Bulimia and depression. The article right beneath it in my Google alerts was a blog about Idol runner-up Adam Lambert. He mentioned, on his recent visit to the Oprah Show, that he regularly uses affirmations to exude positivity in his life.
So what gives? There are people in the “positive thinking movement” (if there really is such a thing) who might say that McPhee is doing something wrong. She must not be applying the principles correctly. Those kinds of statements are nonsense.
The fact is that affirmations work for many, many people to improve various areas of their lives and their feelings about themselves. However, they don’t work for everyone or in every situation.
They are one tool among several that people can use to improve their thinking, relax, and enjoy greater happiness. Prayer, meditation, therapy, a good support system, exercise, helping others, and (in extreme cases) medication may all help as well.
Affirmations are powerful tool for thought replacement. That’s what they’re good at. Taking a cycling negative thought you have and replacing with a positive thought. Affirmations may work for someone in one situation and not another.
Affirmations have helped me improve numerous areas in my own life, but there is one area that they have not helped me achieve my goals. So I appreciate that they are not always the right tool.
Abraham Maslow famously said, “If you the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
Every situation and every person is not the same. For some people, affirmations are the end all and be all. For others, they may have to be augmented with other tools.
How can you know if affirmations will work for you and your situation? The same as with all the other tools – try them.
Three Keys to Successfully Using Affirmations:
- Repeat – you’ve had the negative thoughts or circumstances you’re trying to overcome for some time in your life. Saying a couple of affirmations once or twice is not going to overcome them. You must give your positive thoughts equal time – time to work.
- Believe – saying empty words that you don’t feel or don’t address an area of your life you’re ready to improve is worthless. You must repeat your affirmations often and you must work to believe that what you’re saying is true for you. There will be moments and days when you don’t believe. That’s OK. Don’t give up. Affirmations only succeed when you break through that initial resistance.
- Act – I’ve often said that affirmations without action to follow them are just wishful thinking. Saying you want to be a great tennis player to yourself will never happen if you never pick up the racket and hit the court.
May affirmations or some other method bring you all the peace, joy, and prosperity you deserve today.