If you have ever tried to use positive affirmations or write down your goals and cultivate a vision in which your goals have already been achieved, you have probably noticed that after a short time your motivation quickly subsides and nothing seems to be happening. Numerous authors and personal development programs in these situations generally suggest that one should be persistent and move on, but in practice, this is not so easy to do, is it?
Quite often, I receive inquiries related to this issue, and in this article, I want to present my opinion on why this happens and why the various methods that involve working with positive affirmations are generally incomplete if some other important factors are not taken into account.
Let’s start from the beginning…
The moment we are born, we know nothing about ourselves and we gradually begin to acquire the first information about ourselves precisely based on the way others treat us. Thanks to the role of the so-called mirror neurons, we are able to interpret and experience the “information” we receive from the environment long before we learn to speak at all.
In the formative years, our brain is not able to critically re-examine the content of the information we receive, so we unconsciously take a lot of information and treat it through life like the nature of reality, forgetting that it is basically just thoughts we have not re-examined – thought is only thought, not fact.
In order to survive (in a physical, emotional, and social sense), from an early age we unconsciously seek confirmation and acceptance of the environment we consider relevant and are willing to do almost anything to get just that.
And so we unconsciously start a “holy war” against ourselves, or rather, against socially inappropriate parts of our own authenticity and in various ways try to “remove” all aspects of ourselves that, at a given moment, we assess as potential “opponents” of the image and role we want to create and show outwards to better fit into the community in question.
According to the oldest spiritual teachings, the most intense part of the “holy war”, which we (unconsciously) wage against our own authenticity, lasts on average until we are twelve (until the moment when our energy centers – chakras are formed) and the main weapon we wage is that aspect of our mind for which ancient spiritual literature uses the name “manas”. It is a center in our mind that constantly analyzes the information we receive from the outside and its main purpose is to let into our conscious mind only that information from the environment that makes us comfortable and discard all that could cause us pain.
And so at one point in our youth, we become a “warrior” who has managed to win and remove his own authenticity, that is, we just think so!
It is precisely these “defeated” parts of our authenticity that have not actually disappeared or “perished”, but have just settled deep in our subconscious mind (“samskara chitta”) where they continue to grow and develop and constantly strive to find new effective strategies so they could come to the surface of our consciousness (“jagrat chitta”).
However, with age, they change their personality and over time become – as the Vedas call it – “tamastic” energy. These are no longer lively and enthusiastic aspects of ourselves but are dominated by despair, apathy, resentment, isolation, abandonment, rejection, helplessness, and shame.
And it is precisely these discarded parts of our authenticity that begin to create a strong negative emotional charge in our body (especially after age 35 when our life energy begins to decline), but as we are often unaware of the process and the fact that it actually causes a dense emotional charge, we begin to believe that some other people are responsible for our emotional state (psychologists often call this a “projection”). Then we begin to play more and more intensely a game that in our consciousness creates a very fertile ground for the development and growth of uncomfortable emotions – the game of blaming.
To protect ourselves from such a dense charge, we begin to believe in all sorts of myths and fantasies – which in our society are mostly reduced to the idea that such a dense charge will stop when we get something we want, get married, have children, get rich, repay the loan, get well, get a better job, etc.
And so our goals, instead of being like “tools” to help us realize the vision of our soul and allow us to become the best version of ourselves, essentially become the way we try to escape and protect ourselves from the pain and emptiness we feel within ourselves. Instead of being inspired by the vision of our soul, they are conditioned by the illusion of our ego (“maya”).
And precisely for the above reasons, as soon as we start using positive affirmations or start the process of writing down goals or imagining ourselves with already achieved goals, we will simultaneously activate motivation and negative emotional charge caused by parts of our own authenticity that we declared “socially unsuitable” – and that is why we often give up our goals and further practice affirmations and very quickly find adequate excuses for “legitimate” giving up.
So, positive affirmations work, writing down goals works, imagining ourselves in a reality where our goal has already been achieved works, but it is essential to first become a person who is willing to become aware and accept ALL PARTS OF OURSELVES so that we can move through life and make affirmations goals that will help us achieve the purpose of our soul – not means that support the fantasies we follow (the belief that our emotional situation will change for the better when we get something we want or when we meet a person we have been dreaming about for a long time or similar).
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell
© Tomislav Tomic – 2021.