Fake it until you make it? Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 10:58
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Look, I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time taking affirmations seriously. You know, saying positive statements out loud as often as you can to override your negative thoughts. Still, many people swear that these affirmations can change the way you think.

An ex-neighbour of mine was such a person. Problem is that she had an affirmation end-loop tape that ran right through the night at full volume while she slept like a baby. Nobody else in the block of flats could sleep and trying to wake her through the noise of the affirmative roar from her hi-fi was like farting against a thunderstorm.

Bad associations or not, I’ve always seen affirmations as a way of tricking yourself into believing something you struggle to accept as true. My ex-neighbour’s booming affirmations told her that she was beautiful, wonderful, sexy, slim . . . name it. Every single night. And she wasn’t. Neither did she become any of that as far as I could see.

I have no qualms about mindlessly repeating something – snatches of songs are already stuck in my head and I’m sure I end-loop them more often than any dedicated affirmation fan can ever manage. To my great frustration, though.

It’s not their repetition that I find suspect; it’s the blatant falseness of the affirmations. Yes, I know you’re supposed to fake it until you make it. Knowing that doesn’t help me. So, here’s the thought: Why not concoct my own brand of ‘affirmations’ and base it on something I really believe in. And then, why not hitch this belief to an end-loop lyric that already has the potential to be the background music in my mind.

I was looking for the sort of thing that I could cling to mindlessly when in despair. I’m sure you know the kind of situation where you think and think and think until you’re all thunk-out and still come no closer to getting out of the quicksand.

What is it that I have a deep-rooted belief in? The moment I asked myself this question, the guys from Hot Chocolate ran onto the stage, complete with Afro’s, bellbottoms, dark glasses and pointed boots, singing “I believe in miracles”. Yes, I know, like a B-grade movie, but the answer was very apt. Not so the rest of the lyrics, but at least I’ve been armed with the chorus part ever since and it’s been doing its thing for me.

Keeping the stage set-up in mind, you’ll realise that I’m not necessarily talking about water-into-wine kind of miracles. Just the solid knowingness that something unexpected will come along to cast a new light on everything I’ve been struggling with.

Let me explain with an analogy that an ex-colleague of mine was fond of using. Somewhere in the mid-1800’s a great British mind forecasted that, keeping the population explosion in mind, the entire London would be covered x-number-of-feet under horse dung by the year 1900-and-something. Stuck with the image of a horsedrawn carriage, this forecaster couldn’t foresee the invention of the motorcar, which cancelled out all the horse dung. And this is what I mean; the unforeseen thing added to the mix that would change everything. And the fact that it could come along at any time.

Now this is the kind of idea I could cling to with all my might in situations where I need to have an unshakeable trust in some basic truth. Author Lorraine Cohen, who shares my distrust in conventional affirmations, talks about relentless affirmation. According to her this is when you create a positive statement based on a truth you have come to recognise and fully accept.

Lorraine says you have to ask yourself what it is that you have come to trust no matter what is happening in your life. If you fully embraced what you know is true for you, how would your life change? What would be possible for you?

Throughout the ages sages on mountain tops have been telling us that we came into this life with everything we need to fulfil our purpose. They’ve been telling us that both defeats and successes are really just points of passage on our way to realising the perfection of our own undiscovered nature. All we have to do is find the right questions to ask.

So, girlfriend, what is your truth? Try not to let your brain dominate the answer. And don’t pay any attention to those who’d think you’re nuts. You have to be out of your mind to hear what your heart is saying.

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