Affirmations don’t work.

If you have any kind of belief that conflicts with whatever you’re trying to tell yourself in any way, your RAS (reticular activating system) will throw that puppy right out the window so as not to cause any internal conflict.

The way to change long standing beliefs and survival patterns that you don’t find helpful anymore is to understand why your system still believes them, how they may be helpful still in some way, and to work with the parts holding the beliefs to see if they’re open to a different possibility if it might serve you better and make you happier.

Rather than fighting with yourself, you understand and listen to the part which doesn’t feel good enough, or believes that you will always need to struggle and fight, or that you can’t trust anyone. You hear their experiences and you have compassion for how hard they are working to try to protect you. They’ve done a great job. You survived thanks to their efforts.

Once you’ve built their trust and a compassionate relationship with them, you can ask permission for them to be open to the possibility of a different future. That perhaps, it doesn’t ALWAYS have to be the case. Maybe sometimes it might be safe. Maybe there are parts of themselves they could love a little more, which could support those parts to integrate better. Maybe, if you integrate all the parts, you can work together to feel safe and loved and whole, regardless of what seems to happen in the world. Maybe from a place of being open to love and support, you take steps in a different direction, you learn new things and you have different experiences.

If what you’ve been doing helped you survive, of course it’s important. It’s incredible. AND. What helped you survive is often very different to what will help you thrive.