Have you ever felt this way? “I feel stupid saying these statements over and over every day. I don’t feel like they are doing anything and it feels fake.”
Sometimes making statements, or affirmations, or goals about who we want to become or what we want in life feels like a lie and even fake.
“But I hear that to become who I want to be, I have to change my thoughts about who I am and that repeating my goal and saying affirmations help change that.”
Yes, you need to change your thoughts to become who you want to be. Everything you have now is in alignment with your thoughts and beliefs. But, if all it took was you changing your thoughts through some statements, why aren’t more people changed?
If true feelings aren’t addressed, if self-compassion isn’t a part of your growth, if a little grace in life isn’t provided FROM you TO you, affirmations and goals will feel fake… and your beliefs and world around you won’t change.
So how do we change? Many of us believe that we have to suppress our feelings, brush them off, forget about them, or…we may be over critical of ourselves, expect perfection, and try to hide our mistakes. But here is the thing…
You can’t just get rid of your feelings AND trying to do so can cause some major problems.
Illness, disease, anxiety, depression, stress…all of these can occur from trying to “get rid of” our feelings without addressing them.
It has been said that our worst critic is ourselves, and people would be astonished if they could hear how we talk to ourselves. This lack of compassion towards ourselves causes so many issues today, but the biggest one is it causes a fear of failing. And I’ll tell you a secret…
The pathway of failing is the ONLY way to success.
So how do we do change our beliefs when saying our goals and affirmations just don’t seem to sit quite right with us? Try to make a statement that gives some compassion to you. Let yourself acknowledge when things suck and give yourself a bit of grace. Sounds fluffy huh….
If I tell you not to think of a baby elephant, you WILL think of a baby elephant, over and over again. If we talk about the baby elephant and then I tell you not to think about a baby elephant, you are less likely to think of it as often. (There are actual studies to prove this). Why? Because when we address the “elephant in the room,” it loses power and allows us to think clearly again. Feelings that we hide or suppress or try to forget become the elephant in the room. Addressing them and giving ourselves a little grace in the process gives the elephant less power and lets us move forward with our goals.
Quick example. I say stupid things sometimes when I teach. My words flub up or something will come out that isn’t the way I intended it. Everyone laughs. I used to say to myself, “You are so stupid. Why can’t you think before you speak? You sound like an idiot. The other faculty members don’t sound so ridiculous.” Students will even tell me they appreciate the stupid things because it gives some comedy and reminds them that I’m human. But as long as I keep telling myself I am so stupid, I don’t really hear a word they say. I then start stifling my growth. I start trying to change my lecturing, I become afraid and worried about what I will say. I could say an affirmation, but it feels fake because every time I go lecture, I say something stupid.
So, instead, I say to myself, “You will say some stupid things today and that is okay. Everyone messes up from time to time. It makes me human. It makes me relatable. I want to be relatable because I want these students to trust me.”
I’ve been saying that to myself over the last 4 years and it has drastically changed how I lecture, what I say, and how the students respond to me.
So when everything feels fake to you and you don’t feel that you are growing with your goals and affirmations, look at the critic within and ask yourself what you really need to say to yourself. Acknowledge the elephant in the room. Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself compassion, and watch yourself begin to walk into your goal.