“I’m telling myself I’m beautiful but it’s not working! My positive affirmations are not working?!?!”
Common body image advice such as, “If you tell yourself you’re beautiful you’ll believe it! Write it on a post-it note and look at it every time you see yourself in the mirror”, makes me want to dive into a chamber full of sharks with lasers.
While I do believe that positive affirmations can be powerful (they are a part of my 21 Step Body Image Remix), they can often turn us into a post-it note hoarder rather than someone who believes they are beautiful if we are not using them effectively.
One of my favorite quotes from Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise (what, you don’t have a favorite ROTN2 quote?) is from Ogre when he says, “What if C-A-T really spells DOG?”
Deep thoughts…One we can use to apply to our positive affirmations.
Words are simply words. Beautiful is only a word. Telling yourself “I am beautiful” doesn’t really mean anything, unless we apply some meaning to it.
What we really crave when we say “I am beautiful” is the sensation that comes from feeling beautiful.
When you look at a positive affirmation, it’s simply a string of words put together and that string of words holds little power unless we are ‘feeling the feels’ that we desire from believing that statement.
As I said last week, neither fat nor thin are feelings. What we actually want is a deeper desire and sensation.
In order to make positive affirmations more effective, you need to connect to the sensation that you want from that statement. What does it feel like to believe you are beautiful?
Positive affirmations often go wrong because we are trying to force them onto ourselves when we are in a completely different wavelength to receive them. Telling yourself “I am beautiful” when you are a miserable pile of self-disgust is not going to aid the situation. See my process for dealing with body shame for more on that.
It can sometimes be a struggle to feel “beautiful” in the moment, but we can use other experiences to generate that feeling. Perhaps it means tapping into the love you feel when you look at your child or fur-child. Or the sense of expansiveness you feel when you are walking alone in nature.
Bottle that sensation up and tap into it the next time you are reading your positive affirmations. Or practice the affirmations while you are in those moments to really grasp the feeling you want associated with those words.
The more we connect to and simmer on the feelings we want, the more they grow.
Have positive affirmations worked for you? Tell me in the comments below!