The Magical Affirmation Effect
by Paula Meyer
Affirmations don’t always work. I have certainly been guilty of going through daily affirmations without really caring. I realized that most of the time, I give it a half-a**ed effort. The definition of half-a**ed: done with little effort or care; incompetent or inadequate. Wow, that kind of stung!
It was also a revelation. If I think about times where I have been incompetent or inadequate, it was because I didn’t care about the task at hand. I didn’t put the energy into it, to be deemed competent or adequate. I didn’t care enough to be successful.
I decided to add some humor to the subject about my affirmation challenges. I coined a new term: Half-affed, meaning affirmations are done in a rote way, with little effort or care.
When I catch myself doing this, I lovingly say: It’s not affin’ working! Stop half-affin’ it!
I’ve titled this the magical affirmation effect because effect is an outcome brought about by a cause. When we half-aff it, we bring about an effect that’s an unintentional result of our non-action. When we give it a full-aff effort, we create the desired outcome we want by taking action.
Remember when you were a kid and said your nightly prayers:
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.
If we really felt that with feeling, we’d be traumatized for life! We’d all be insomniacs! We’ve been taught to pray without really taking it to heart.
Or we pray or meditate from a victim mindset, and we really feel into that. And guess what? We keep finding more reasons to be a victim! That’s because we weren’t feeling what our prayers would be like to be a reality. We get frustrated when they don’t become our reality. When we repeat them without any real feeling or care, we are reciting by rote and it becomes an unconscious exercise. Like a radio station playing in the background. You can hear them, but you are not fully experiencing them.
Our minds can repeat things over and over while thinking about something else. Our brain is accustomed to linear and logical learning, which makes it feel in control. Then it becomes comfortable and tunes out! When our affirmations are done in this fashion, the brain excels at the repetition and when we don’t push our body to “feel into it,” the brain relaxes and quickly tunes out. Can you see why this might be happening with your affirmation practice?
Every morning for over twenty years, I have been saying these three affirmations, three times each:
- This day, I am my holy, holy divine spirit.
- Bless this body and burnish bright my holy temple.
- Let me execute my duties this day, from the just place of my Holy Spirit.
Most mornings, I have to start over several times! By the time I get to the third attempt, I finally begin to focus on the words and what they mean to me. I still love these affirmations; they are what I want to be every day. My mind has gotten used to them, and glosses over their significance to get to the end. Just like we do with our tasks during the day. We rush to get to the end, to check it off our list!
Feelings are the key ingredient! The affirmation is the intention, the feeling is the action. The action is critical! The main reason we don’t feel into it is because it’s an unknown and we don’t know what it feels like. But you can use a surrogate feeling and trick the brain and body into action, by remembering a feeling of exhilaration from a past event, say learning to drive a car, Christmas morning, or any event that made you feel enchanted or victorious. You can take it a step further and act out that affirmation so that you can attach real-time feelings to it.
There are many amazing tarot card decks that can help us with our intentional affirmations. Don’t get scared by the word “tarot.” The word can bring up feelings of fear, based on misguided notions about their use. Our mind conjures up a mysterious fortune teller dealing in black magic, who turns over the grim reaper card. Immediately we are fearful for our lives! Tarot cards are just another avenue to find our divine purpose, to tune into Spirit for answers and guidance. By tuning in, we develop the muscle memory of trusting our intuition.
There are decks designed around many subjects: angels, goddesses, animals, flowers, and simple words or statements of inspiration. The image on the card is essential in creating the feeling that will inspire you to embody it. Remember, the body is critical in the process. It must really feel on a deep level and be entrained into the new reality you are attempting to create. It takes consistency and practice, just like learning to read and write.
A great way to work with card decks is to bring Mother Nature in. Choose a card and go outside. Stand next to a tree, on the bank of a river, or your favorite place in nature. Tune into the energy of the beauty around you. When you are feeling the beauty in your body, put your focus on the card. Speak to your body as if it’s your best friend (which it is!) and describe how it feels and how it will serve your purpose. The body listens and it follows instructions! Your job, if you want to effect change, is to give it the best instructions you can!
Repetition is another important key. The body and mind need consistency to seat it into the subconscious. It takes practice and concentration to learn to drive a car. You must learn the rules of the road, the feel of the car in your control, and your senses need to be in hyper mode to master the process. Over time and practice, it becomes unconscious. You know how to turn the car on, set the mirrors, use your lights and blinkers. It flows now and you are more at ease. You enjoy the freedom of driving while being aware of the passing scenery. You easily have a conversation with your passenger or sing along with the radio, because you and your body are at ease. What was once new and scary is now fun and adventurous. Take that same way of mastering anything into how you use affirmations.
Affirmations are a great practice to put into place. Give yourself the gift of being a powerful effecter of your life.
Don’t half-aff it! Give it a full-aff effort!
And then watch the Universe shower you with success!
Paula Meyer, widowed at age 54, is the author of Great Loss, Greater Love: The Art & Heart of Navigating Grief. She has traveled to 20 countries, some multiple times, and 42 U.S. States. Her goal is to visit 30 countries and all 56 U.S. States and territories by the end of 2025. Learn more at greatlossgreaterlove.com.