I have a very good friend who is going through a rough patch. In short, her marriage has failed. Having been there and done that, I honestly feel her pain. Plus our exes are very similar in nature, so we’ve both dealt with a lot of the same issues. When it comes to coping, however, we’ve approached our problems quite differently.
My friend, Liz, is very much into affirmations. If you aren’t familiar with them, affirmations are present tense assertions of good things the universe has for us at its disposal. All we have to do is announce that we are in possession of these gifts, and they are ours.
Believe it or not, I have written books about using affirmations to improve your life. I’m deadly serious (no pun intended). I was paid to write not one, but two, books that dealt with the powers of attraction. There are currently two “experts” out there claiming to have so much intel into universal energies that will create a world of will that will bring you all the riches of the universe. I wrote each of those books inside 10 days with a solid grasp of Wikipedia footnotes.
So call me jaded.
After sympathizing with Liz and where she was at, I tried explaining that I just didn’t abide by affirmations. At which point she made a simple statement that hit me like the cliched ton of bricks. She said, “You know all those negative things you think? Those are affirmations.”
Whoa. My life is built around the negative. I spend my nights worrying and my days scrambling to make good. I feel that I’m always on a treadmill that never lets me take a rest. I struggle to pay my bills. I struggle to have enough time to balance work with fun. I struggle to find a lover that is worth carving out time for… In short, I struggle.
I began to think about this “negative affirmation” idea, and a few things began to click into place. Instead of worrying about what I didn’t want to happen, I asked myself, “What do you want?” What I realized was that a huge part of my mental and physical resources were being spent on the notion that I can’t afford to live where I do (which is Brooklyn). I was looking for jobs in other markets and feeling distraught with every rejection. I was truly at the end of my rope, fighting with the ex over support, crying to my dad about my circumstances. It was truly hell.
When I stripped away all this negativity, I realized that what truly was upsetting me was the thought of moving. Again. Not having a home. Again. Suddenly it seemed so simple: Instead of thinking, “How can I get the rent money this month?”, I started thinking, “I live in Brookyn. Brooklyn is my home.” This led me to start a new enterprise focusing on my craft beer PR and marketing experience. I’m not working towards something instead of fighting against something; yes, I’m still swimming against the current, but my resolve is so much greater.
I’m still not comfortable with the whole affirmation idea, but I am working them nonetheless. My post-its are ironic and possibly askew. My daily meditations are not always phrased as they are “supposed” to be (you don’t “want” and you don’t “will” as these are not present statuses). As Liz told me, there’s a reason that God is “I AM.”
That said, I’m not going to worry about my slightly askew affirmations. To judge that would be anathema of the entire purpose. I’m not trying to get it right. I’m getting it right.