Affirmations and positive thinking are not bullies and judges. When things are difficult and circumstances are not optimum, the discord between our wildly optimistic affirmations and the present feelings can seem cruel. The affirmations almost feel like a playground taunt (“naaa-na-naanaa-nahhhh, you can’t get me!”) because the difference between now and that future goal, dream, changed behavior or circumstance is at odds with your present.
Let me give an example. When you have an affirmation like, “I am delightfully happy in my new career as a ______” and you have just received three overdue bill notices, two rejections from jobs that were beneath your professional level, and your unemployment is about to run out, then the affirmation in the face of these circumstances seems zealously mean. You might even feel dejected by your own attempts at cheer leading. This is understandable.
The trouble is that your mind cannot accept the new vision for yourself in light of the present and, often, wants to be a nuisance with thoughts that put you down further: “See, I can’t even get a job that I can do in my sleep!” or “Things are bad because I am a fraud, a loser, etcetera.” There could be any number of nasty comments zooming through your head.
None of this is helpful.
During tough times, I suggest that we take a different approach. Instead of throwing affirmations overboard (as inaccurate and unrealistic), create space during these cloudy days for additional self-talk, tempered by the current circumstances, but mindful of our achievable goals. We must be gentle with ourselves and take the current predicament seriously. Step into the river of now with all that is going on. Acknowledge it, instead of denying it. Feel the disappointment, the sadness, the grief or whatever comes up for you. Allow the moment to be okay. Remind yourself that YOU are okay and that YOU can handle whatever is coming your way with grace and good form. Most importantly, you are in fact, BECOMING that which your affirmations state–albeit, a bit slower than you may like. The Universe wants good things for you. Progress is being made in spite of our inability to see the future.
Remember too, that a straight line does not exist between our present and our goal. Be kind to yourself on the journey and don’t give up your positive self-talk. You may temper or adjust the affirmations, but don’t stop them! Keep on, keeping on. You are further on your way than you realize!
Thanks to my sister, Lee Ann Hopkins ~ Happy and Gay blogger ~ for these amazing insights http://happyandgay.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/affirmations-tempered-in-tough-times/