Affirmations 3 – When Affirmations Aren't Enough

Personally I don’t believe in affirmations.

What? Yes, you heard me right. Yes, I know I just wrote 2 other posts on affirmations.

Ok so here’s the deal. For some people, affirmations are the end-all-be-all – they really work. This is important! There’s value here I don’t want to dismiss. Meanwhile, for me and for many of my clients, affirmations (as they are conventionally taught) are not powerful. They don’t work.

I think that affirmations are a great first step. I think they’re absolutely necessary; and, insufficient.


In TIA – The Integrated Approach ™, we talk about “melting the ice cube from all sides”. We talk about the fact that we’re not just mind-controlled entities. We have feelings that impact us, we have underlying needs that we may or may not be aware of. We have abilities or inabilities to take action that’s congruent with our decisions. We have old habits of thought, old internalized stories, and inner chatter that may debate with the new attempts to affirm a new way of being. And I believe we are all part of something greater (whether you call it collective unconscious or whether you think we are cells in the system of Gaia or whether you see us as manifestations of Godforce or whether you just think that we are only part of the system of family, community, friends and neighbors that makes up the fabric of our social network). In any case, I believe we’re part of a greater interconnected fabric that pulls and pushes and tugs at us completely beyond our will.

In short, we’re not just “mind”. We’re at the very least, “mind, body, spirit, heart, gut and action”. We are not just “I alone”. We are also part of “we-spaces”, and we’re part of a system that expands beyond our “we-spaces” into something larger, entwined amongst the tangible and intangible elements of our planet’s ecosystem, and beyond.

With all of these factors at play, no wonder New Years’ Resolutions are such an endangered species!

So how do we use affirmations or new declarations or make new decisions for evolution (for ourselves, our families, our communities, organizations, or the human race at large) in a way that’s more likely to produce the results we hope for?

I hope this “Affirmation Upgrade” will support you at seeing more results easier, faster, and sticking longer.

When Affirmations Aren’t Enough

Affirmations are a wonderful start; we’re tuning into the cognitive realm, we’re playing at the instrument of our subconscious (and potentially the invisible fabric of the subtle body, inviting Providence to align to meet us.)

However, affirmations are far more powerful if you employ the whole system of you: mind, body, spirit, heart, gut and action.

Here’s how:

Mind – be sure your affirmations are framed in what you do want; make sure you understand your conditions of satisfaction (ex: “I earn more than ever” is more powerful if you make it measurable, ex: “By December 2013 I am earning more than $80K a year.”); make sure they’re framed in the present (ex: replace “I would be happier” with “I am happier”)

Body – as you work with your affirmations, what posture do you use? Are you reviewing them slumped over on your couch with your shoulders hunched forward, breathing shallowly? This somatic posture is less conducive to learning, growth, healing or evolution than if you reviewed your affirmation while your spine is straight, your head up, your feet planted on the floor, your breath deep and long, and your eyes forward, alert, and engaged. As you work with your affirmations, let your body be a vessel to conduct the message in addition to your mind. You may even choose to embody a gesture that represents the spirit of your affirmation. If your affirmation is about increased power, take on a “Superman Pose” – stand with your arms in the air as if you’re flying, with one foot in front of the other. If your affirmation is about movement, walk briskly back and forth through the room as you review your affirmation. If your affirmation is about expansion, what gesture represents that for you? Maybe opening your arms wide (as if you’re welcoming the whole planet into a hug) is a gesture that fits. Use your body to help you internalize the impact and spirit of your affirmation.

Spirit – Remember that your benevolent intentions around life increase are congruent with Omnipotence seeking expression in the manifest realm; feel how your practice is a manifestation of the face of Spirit attempting to emerge. If you prefer, simply tap into your own understanding of how you are a part of a greater fabric among the human race – what you do, think, say and practice affects how you interact with dozens or hundreds or thousands of lives each week; feel how your practice is a gift to the larger fabric of humanity. Have you heard of the “100th Monkey” concept? If so, you know that your practice contributes to the collective unconscious and helps evolve all of humanity; take a moment to drink in the gift you are toward life increase and thriving for all on the planet.

Heart – Add an emotional component to your affirmation. Instead of “I earn more”, upgrade your affirmation to “I relish the pleasure of the added income I get to enjoy every day.” Can you feel how different that lands in your body and in your psychology? Another way you can play the instrument of emotion in your affirmations is described in my e-book and course called “The 10-Minute Manifestor”; we talk about a “pleasure picture” as part of your “bottom line”. Imagine you already are experiencing, right now, the affirmation as already done, accomplished, already here, right here, right now. How does your body feel here in this place of having accomplished your affirmation? What sensations do you feel (we’re bringing in the body again). How do others look as they greet you, now that you’re here in this new place? What do you do and say that’s different than you used to? What do others do and say toward you that’s different? The heart-element isn’t just about emotion, it’s also about the power of our visualizations on our subtle-body and subconscious mind. Play with the experience of your affirmation, as though it’s here, now.

Gut – When we make up an affirmation, we have (consciously or unconsciously) some underlying values, some benevolent universal need we’re trying to meet, some gift we’re attempting to give ourselves or others. Are you awake to the values you’re trying to fulfill with the affirmation you have chosen? For example, if my affirmation is, “For work, I do what I love and I love what I do,” maybe
you’re trying to gift yourself with more enjoyment, or more fulfillment. Maybe you’re trying to fulfill your value for integrity about how you work with others around you. Maybe you are attempting to gift the world with an embodiment that career can be an “occu-passion”, a source of joy and delight. Whatever your affirmation is, try to connect with the underlying value, the core motives, the needs you’re trying to meet. The more conscious you are about your underlying needs, the more powerful you will be at fulfilling them, and the more likely your affirmations will hold passion and energy for you. Likewise, if you are at odds with your affirmation, it’s likely you have an unconscious value that’s not yet integrated that wants to be integrated. The more aware you are of your core motives, the more effectively you can create affirmations that account for all of you.

Action – All the repeated affirmation in the world is nothing but fertilizer in a plastic bag, until you spread that affirmation out over the garden of life in the form of action. Then your intentions and dreams will grow. As you review your affirmation, ask yourself, “What am I doing today toward this?” For example, if your affirmation is about your emotional wellbeing, something like, “I like myself,” what are you doing today that embodies and amplifies that truth? If your affirmation is about your quality of relationships, what are you doing this week that is a demonstration of your intention? If your affirmation is about organizational change or social activism, what rubber-to-the-road steps are you taking this month toward it?

When we “melt the ice cube from all sides”, we align all of the system toward our goal, and we amplify our likelihood of manifesting that intention exponentially.

I have to laugh at the artificiality of separating these six elements. When we act from divine inspiration, is there a separation? When we tap into an emotional state of joy about our desired experience that leads to the body tingling and my face smiling and my mind spontaneously coming up with ideas for how to get me there and then I talk to my neighbors and ask for their help, really is there any division among the elements of the system? I don’t think so.

Meanwhile, by paying attention to the six elements of who we most deeply Are, I’m confident you can upgrade your affirmations to statements that are not just mental, but that are also powerful in action, in embodiment, in Spirit, in heart, and in revealing your deepest values.

yes, i said yeehaaa!


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