This post is going to explore what I see as a strange contradiction: I believe in the power of affirmations and yet I LOATHE listening to them. That’s not quite accurate. I don’t loathe listening to them, but I have a really hard time listening to them. It puts my teeth on edge. I just really, really struggle with it.

And yet I believe they can be very powerful agents of change. So where the EFF is the disconnect?

The impetus for this post is my Hypnobabies Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations. It took me forever to download them onto my phone so I just started listening to them in the car this week (this is the ONE track you can listen to while driving). I tell you, the first listening sessions was painful. Truly. I had SUCH a hard time with it. The whole thing just felt so… steeped in hubris. Each affirmation felt more blasphemous than the last. I don’t know that my baby is happy and healthy and I certainly don’t know that he will arrive safely. To say those things to myself just seems like tempting fate. My jaw hurt after the first ride of listening to them.

Fortunately, it has gotten better. I’m trying to focus on the affirmations that are in my control, like how I feel, how I see things, what my expectations will be. Those affirmations feel productive to me. They are not flying in the face of what might be. They are not about (what feels to me like) tempting fate. So I focus on those and NOT on the ones that are so hard for me to handle. There reality is the vast majority are affirmations I can get behind and I’m actually enjoying the track now. Sure I don’t believe that I can say, My iron levels are high, and that it will be so (I know I’m anemic right now so I KNOW that isn’t true), and yet I can say a lot of other things, like I believe this baby will come when he’s ready and I am lovingly patient. That is something I CAN control and that I WANT to believe. So I say it happily and I think, after a week of saying it, it just might be true.

I do believe in the power of affirmations, in the power of thinking positively. As someone who is inherently NOT that positive–who may actually be a pessimist–I am not quite sure where this respect comes from, especially when I have such a hard time listening to them myself. And simultaneously, I don’t really understand why I have a hard time listening to them if I believe, in my head, that they can be such powerful tools. I ask again, where is the disconnect?

My guess is, it’s rooted in my anxiety. It’s rooted in the things I’ve seen, the losses I’ve lived. It’s rooted in all the babies I watched my mom bury. I think that deep down inside, I just can’t believe in something that I know is not true for all people. It wasn’t true for my own mother. FOUR TIMES it wasn’t true. And I just can’t ignore that and declare that it will be true for me.

Anyway, this post probably doesn’t make much sense. I’m having such a hard time lately stringing thoughts together coherently. My brain is seriously not working at even 50% capacity lately. I read posts and want to comment but no words come out and when they do they don’t make sense (seriously, they really don’t). My posts are starting to suffer too. I don’t know how much more writing I have in me before this baby comes. I just can’t keep my thoughts straight.

And with that I’ll end this monstrosity. And I’ll also ask you:

Do you believe in positive affirmations? Have you ever found any hard to swallow?

9 responses

  1. I have never used an affirmations tape but would have a hard time not laughing and thinking about Stuart Smiley (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”). I like meditation (as long as it is not too cheesy) better.

  2. I’m not one for affirmations, but I do think they work well for a lot of people. Just because they’re not my thing doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re great for those who like them. I think it’s great that you’ve found some that you like and can do!

  3. I struggle with these as well. I do believe in the power of positive thinking, I’m just not very good at thinking positively, :D. I’m doing my best to stay positive in my situation and praying and hoping and talking to my baby to get out SOON, like in the next 10 days kind of thing. I hope you get something positive out of this and I must be having the same brain function problem you are because this post made perfect sense as have your last few comments on my posts.

  4. I roll my eyes at some of the affirmations too, and I continue to do them. Particularly the iron level one because despite taking 2 iron supplements and a prenatal with iron and focusing on eating a lot of iron-rich foods, I am still anemic. So i just roll my eyes at that one. But I think some of the others are really important for me to focus on and even say out loud, especially near the end of the pregnancy when I’m focusing on being patient and I feel I have a long way to go.

  5. Canned affirmations have significant problems. Consider taping your own tape of those you DO believe in. Hearing your own voice saying things you can/do believe is more powerful to your brain.

  6. I don’t have any experience in using affirmations, but I suspect they probably won’t work too well if your anxiety is that high. Maybe instead of the affirmations you could try soothing music, or even something totally distracting like TV or a book? Like I said, I have no experience, so this may be way off.

  7. Ha, I had troubles with the iron affirmation too! I just dont believe mind over matter when it comes to something like that. 🙂 I agree with you though that the rest of the CD gets easier to listen too, and just like the rest of the program, it felt a little hokey at first, and then it grew on me and I could truly feel it working (and I truly found it helpful).

    That reminds me – time to break out my positive affirmations CD for the car!

  8. I had a really hard time with the hypnobabies affirmations and I mostly gave up on it but I made a little list for myself and just repeated it to myself whenever I thought of it (I know this baby will arrive on its birthday, I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised when zie is ready to arrive, my blood pressure will stay low because I am calm and this is just normal getting ready for birth time, waiting is valuable too, and I forget what else). I like the idea of recording your own affirmations instead.

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