Jan 14, 2023Liked by Sarah Fay

"It isn’t about speaking empty affirmations or bombarding yourself with positivity. It’s like having a personal therapist or coach on call."

I suppose it can be for some. For someone like myself, and I know I'm not alone in this sentiment, trying to speak positively to oneself really does feel like telling oneself lies, trying to deceive oneself, or otherwise. Personally, it doesn't matter who's telling me the positive statements; I simply don't believe there's any truth behind the words.

In my case, I have a lot of core negative beliefs about all kinds of things and that's why positive affirmations aren't enough to undo the tangled root system they have in my psyche and identity. Core beliefs are part of one's identity; they create a filter that positive statements bounce off of like a trampoline because they're not compatible with the brain's desire to create a state of inner congruency between one's thoughts and beliefs.

The brain can perceive these statements as actual lies or threats to this congruency, so it filters them out or finds evidence to defend its current beliefs. Repeat them all you want; if anything you'll end up feeling worse as some studies on positive affirmations and self-statements have found. It's more than just pulling up the weeds or growing a flowerbed over the top; anything planted in tainted soil won't grow.

That soil needs to heal. Techniques found in CBT, the gold standard for many mental health concerns like anxiety and depression, don't really take this into account and they assume your soil is already semi-okay. Not everyone starts from that same semi-okay foundation, unfortunately.

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Jan 14, 2023·edited Jan 14, 2023Author

Hi there,

We’ll put. Agreed. Positive affirmations and telling yourself things you don’t believe don’t work. Self-talk is about encouraging action and talking to yourself in the second and third person. I like to simply hold two opposing ideas in my mind at the same time (which F. Scott Fitzgerald defined as genius) and “It’s possible”: “You’ll never succeed” & “It’s possible you might succeed.” That’s it. No b.s. Just entertaining an opposing idea with ‘possible.’ Without that, it feels false and is pretty much just CBT, which never worked for me either.

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