“When Affirmations Stir up Discord”

“When Affirmations Stir up Discord”

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Recently, I read a study that stated that college students with low self-esteem felt worse after using positive affirmations designed to improve self-worth. The study seemed to discredit the use of affirmations for this purpose. However, it ignored a basic fact about the mind.

When you feed the subconscious mind new information that conflicts with its long-held views, it’s going to fight back to try to maintain the status quo. It’s simply repeating concepts you’ve programmed into it and have reinforced over many years. That is its role. It can’t do anything but that.

It’s the same thing that happens when you don’t have enough money to pay your electric bill, and affirm, “I’m wealthy.” You probably have a nasty voice in the back of your mind saying, “Oh, yeah? You can’t even pay your bills.” This kind of negative reaction is typical when you’re beginning to make a significant shift in consciousness. When you want to start on a new path, the old beliefs well up to try to overwhelm the new one.

Your subconscious has made an accurate record of your repetitive thoughts. When you try to record something new, it replays the old ideas to get you back onto the old track. It’s just trying to help you, and keep you going in the direction you chose in the past. The good news is that when affirmations create disharmony like this, this is a sign you are actually making progress.

If the old patterns are strong, then as you persist with the new path, you might experience even more resistance. Things may break down, you may encounter unexpected roadblocks, there may be blindsided by some obscure crises, you might catch a cold, what you’re trying to change might get worse. This is fallout from the subconscious. It may throw all sorts of debris into your path to try to discourage you enough to stop changing.

Sometimes, it takes time to get the subconscious comfortable with the new objective. It may just need a light touch to get it to change. Instead of hitting the issue head on, and continuing to aggravate it, there are some strategies you can use to go around it. It may take longer to make the change you want, but it will be a smoother transition.

Back away from directly addressing the issue. What is the improvement you’re looking for? Self-esteem, changing a habitual behavior, increased income, more creativity, starting a new lifestyle habit? Instead of using an affirmation that starts, “I am …,” consider the quality you’re looking for. Just use that word, and feel that quality. For instance, what would self-esteem feel like? And instead of saying, “I am a success,” just repeat the word, “Success,” and sense what that means to you. This short-circuits the negative voice, because you’re not identifying yourself with that idea.

Chip away at it. This would be especially helpful for any change of habit or lifestyle. Instead of doing 30 minutes of exercise every day, start with 5 minutes. You can increase it as you get comfortable with that first increment. To lose weight, begin leaving a bite or two on your plate. For increased self-confidence, take one small step in that direction, such as making a single phone call you dread. If you want more income, affirm a small increase. As you achieve your goal, take the next step.

Make your affirmation conditional or general. Instead of saying, “I am …”, say, “I’m choosing …,” or a global “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” These don’t wave the red flag of provocation at the subconscious. Your improvements may be subtle and gradual, but you’ll be moving in the right direction.

Once you’ve noticed that things are beginning to change, and there are fewer objections from the subconscious, you can amplify your affirmations. The inner mind just needs to know that it’s safe to make that change and that you’re dedicated to it. When you’ve made a new, stronger decision and commit to the change, the subconscious will begin to support it.


The Universe wants me to have everything good that I desire. I know that it’s simply my old programming preventing me from having my desires. As I affirm what I want from the Universe, I let the subconscious know that it’s safe for me to have my desire now. Old ideas can now be updated to allow good to flow in, through and to me. The subconscious mind takes these new ideas and finds the best way to bring them into manifestation.

Copyright 2009 Linda-Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

A nationally known coach, hypnotherapist, author, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart empowers people to discover new possibilities and realize their full potential. For a copy of her free ebook, “Secrets To The Law Of Attraction,” visit www.Cedarfire.com/secretstoloa.shtml.

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