Brenda Bomgardner, MA, LPC, NCC, BCC, ACS View Entire Blog

The Affirmation Trap

Below is a test you can't fail. The test is based on your mind and body’s natural ability to recall. You will notice a few sentences a couple of paragraphs down. When you read the sentences fill in the blanks. I am confident you will pass the recall test with excellent accuracy.
First I want to lay the groundwork for the test. Have you ever been told all you have to do is think positive and good things will come your way? Like the message in the book The Secret - just focus on the thing you want most in your life and you will attract it. I realize many people are quite fond of thinking they can think their way into success and happiness. It is truly seductive to believe this. I find this is similar to the diet pills advertised on late night TV.... give me a break! No need to eat less or exercise more. Really? Anyway, I strongly disagree.

What I object to most is the sense of failure that one can develop if they have been doing daily affirmations, thinking positive at every corner and then flogging themselves for every transgression of having a negative thought. This is not self-compassionate. It is another way to blame a victim if bad things happen. Where is the loving kindness in this method called the Law of Attraction? Read this article, There is No Secret: The Myth of the Law of Attraction, author J.D. Roth as he highlights the fallacy of the Law of Attraction.
Mind you, I am not saying you shouldn't think positive; it's just that it takes more that thoughts to create a life of your dreams. My common sense is captured by this old proverb,
A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world.
Time for the test. Please fill in the blanks:

Mary, Mary had a little __ __ __ __.
Row, row, row, your __ __ __ __ gently down the __ __ __ __ __ __.
One two, buckle your __ __ __ __, three four shut the __ __ __ __.
Twinkle, twinkle little __ __ __ __.

How did you do? Did you get all the blanks filled in? When was the last time you thought of these rhymes? I remember them from when I was a small child and then again when I read them to my children. Has it been 5 years, maybe 10 years or maybe it was yesterday since you thought of the above rhymes. If I said to you, "I'll give you a Million Dollars if you will forget the rhyme," can you?

Here's to dispelling the fist lie: you can't just get rid of and change your thoughts, not even the negative ones. We are all made to hold and retain our learning based on our unique personal history. Our minds, our bodies, us as a living organism carry with us a history of our whole life and that is how we have managed to survive. Hence, this is a useful quality to have...recall. Furthermore, since we are hardwired to watch for the harmful things in our environment we have a tendency to focus on the negative. Lie number two: there is something wrong with you if you think negative. Hence, those negative thoughts are normal and possibly save us from danger. Lie number three, just think it. Wrong! You need to do something after you think of it. Get a plan, set some goals, take action!

Are your thoughts running your life? Are you caught in a struggle and battle to overcome negative thinking? Do you want a different way to approach the affirmation trap? I offer you this - it may well be the willingness of acceptance of your thoughts that can help you learn how to be with your feelings, thoughts, memories and sensations that present themselves as the enemy of living your dreams. You can choose where to focus your actions in alignment with what matters most to you in your live.