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September 15, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve been doing some research into positive thinking and self-improvement for purposes that will remain secret (no, I’m not trying to improve myself, I’m perfect enough as it is), and one thing that I encountered in the process was the practice of “affirmations”.

Now, I’m not entirely new to the idea of affirmations. They’ve been a known component of positive thinking and weird cult-type books for a while now. But I never really paid much attention to them until I started doing this super-secret research.

I have come to the conclusion that affirmations are really kind of silly. The basic idea is that you stand in front of the mirror and repeat some vaguely New Age positive statement over and over until the Good Fairy comes out of the mirror and turns you into a pumpkin. Or something. Sort of how saying “Candyman” in front of the mirror five times causes the sweet shop owner from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory to emerge and start singing to you.


Now, it’d be terrible of me to just outright dismiss affirmations without giving them a shot, so let’s look up some random ones and look at their effectiveness.

“Every cell in my body vibrates with energy and health”

You know, if your cells are vibrating, then it sounds like something’s seriously wrong. At worst, you may have Parkinson’s, and you would need to see a doctor.

OK, fine, I’m taking it literally, but surely just repeating this isn’t going to make you healthy. Forget exercise and regular check-ups, just say “I am healthy” and all is well! Genius! Quick! Someone tell the entire medical profession!

“I have a wonderful partner and we are both happy and at peace”

“God damn it, wife, are you doing those damn affirmations in the bathroom again?”

The question with this one is: does it magically stick into the partner’s head while someone is saying this to make it true? If so, that’s a form of brainwashing and I feel that it should be banned in all civilised countries.

“Loving myself heals my life”

Oh, that’s why they’re spending so much time in the bathroom!

“I am the perfect weight for me”

Meanwhile the gym instructor is standing there saying “no, get on the treadmill, lardarse”

To be fair, this one does have some legitimacy in a world filled with celebrity and fashion magazines telling people they need to be super skinny and resemble some kind of zombie in order to be attractive. But please, if you’re saying this, please ensure you’re at a weight your doctor deems healthy and that you’re unlikely to develop heart disease from.

But then if you’re giving yourself positive affirmations that say you’re in perfect health, you’ve probably never seen a doctor in a long time. This makes things difficult.

“I pay my bills with love as I know abundance flows freely through me”

Oh boy. This must have been an interesting conversation with British Gas.

British Gas: “You owe us £300 in bills.”
New Age Practitioner: “I send love your way to pay my bills.”
BG: “Um…yes…fine, but you still need to send us £300.”
NAP: “My love is worth more than any money.”
BG: “No it isn’t. It isn’t a tangible asset. However, a cheque for £300 can be verified by your bank.”
NAP: “We must shed all material possessions.”
BG: “Very well, we’re cutting off your heating.”

It reminds me of this exchange, although that was done by a professional prankster. Something tells me the New Age Practitioner isn’t aware of how absurd this is.

Also, it’s one thing to say abundance flows freely through you while your bank account is in the red. Saying something does not make it true. If it does, then OK, I’m a millionaire. Time to keep refreshing my online banking until the numbers increase!

Of course, this is the fundamental issue with positive affirmations. So many of them involve simply saying “I’ll be OK” in the face of a problem instead of, you know, actually dealing with the problem.

I have my own positive affirmation. It’s simply “I’m going to get shit done.” Works quite well. Give it a try sometime.

– L. Haydn Price

P.S. since I mentioned Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, why not go and take a look at my review of it over at my movie review challenge blog Sven vs. The Movies?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I’m Chinese and I get dragged by my mom to Buddhist temples a lot, and I see all these guys there, praying for good grades and girlfriends by burning joss sticks in front of a bronze idol. I always thought that maybe if you spent more time studying and less time praying, you’ll get better grades, and if you don’t smell like stale ash all the time, you might get noticed by the opposite sex.

    • September 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Prayer is very similar to affirmations and I’m surprised I didn’t think of that while writing this, instead opting for the Candyman/Bloody Mary urban legend. Shows how my mind works, I guess.

      But yes! This is exactly my point. Spend more time wishing and hoping and praying something will happen doesn’t make it happen. Getting off your arse and making it happen makes it happen! :p

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