“My body is healthy.”
“My mind is peaceful.”
“I have the relationship of my dreams.”
“My career is fulfilling and financially rewarding.”
Sound familiar? You may read these as positive New Year’s Resolutions, or as total garbage, or both.
If you’ve been dabbling in the self-help circles for a while, you’ve probably come across concepts like Law of Attraction, practicing affirmations, or the power of positive thinking as ways of becoming the kind of person who attracts abundance, love, and all beautiful things.
It’s suggested we practice our intentions or our new thoughts over and over until they become our reality. We might even have been guided to try to block out negative thoughts or feelings lest we accidentally manifest negative things.
If you’ve ever tried these practices this way, you have probably noticed they rarely work. Why is that?
Because we’re not idiots.
- If you look around your lonely house with your aging cat and half-made bed, then practicing a thought like “I have the perfect partner” registers as total BS.
- If you wake up every morning dreading your computer, calendar, and colleagues, there’s no way you’ll buy a thought like “I have the career of my dreams!”
- And if you can’t even get out of bed because of your back, your neck, or your knee, you’ll want to slap the smile off the face of anyone who utters words like “perfect health.”
Every time we try to force ourselves to think a thought we know isn’t true, we kick up at least as much or more resistance as the forward-momentum the thought was intended to produce.
Our conscious mind thinks “This is the year of the Bikini!” While our unconscious mind thinks “Um, is there still cake in the fridge?”
If you’ve been around the block a few times you know which of these two minds wins.
With all the best intentions in the world, when you sit down to practice your affirmations or resolutions, you will also be practicing your resistance as well, and wondering why-oh-why it’s still not f***ing working.
Then we take the ridiculously unhelpful step of blaming ourselves for not doing it right, or enough. We double down and try even harder (generating even more resistance).
In this framework, there’s no room for feelings like doubt, fear, insecurity, helplessness, loneliness, or circumstances like unemployment, aging, extra weight, illness, debt, or any of the other “unpleasant” experiences that sometimes happen…to everyone.
- If you don’t have a job you love, or that pays you well, of course you feel frustrated or judge yourself as unworthy.
- If you’re not in the satisfying relationship you want, and you just had yet another birthday, of course you feel lonely, or use it as evidence to feel insecure.
- And if your body is not healthy, of course you feel scared or helpless.
These are understandable reactions to these situations and when we deny them, we deny the tenderest parts of ourselves.
So now what? Do you do nothing instead?
No. Most of us can’t do nothing. We want things, and we can’t help that we want things.
So go ahead and want! Full permission.
Then be honest about everything that wanting brings up for you. Make space for the fear, the doubt, the insecurity.
Believe it or not, these feelings won’t get in your way if you honor them. They just want to be seen, felt, and heard. Once acknowledged, they will eventually relax enough to allow you to apply for that job, go on that date, stick to that new exercise program, or begin to feel deserving of what you want.
if you get frustrated when you get frustrated, discouraged, or feel hopeless around your goals this year, just remember, those are feelings, not facts. They can be gently welcomed and felt, just like any other feeling. Then you can get on with your resolutions and your life.
If you are interested in making space for both the wanting and the associated feelings of that wanting, then I made a meditation for you. I hope you enjoy.