Overcoming resistance using the “I Am” page

1669672_285554028268514_2094545939_oThe “I Am” page is the heart of the Shameless Inspiration community. It is where members go to take risks and have others bear witness to their commitment to self-compassion. I’ve received notes from people who have been surprised by the power of releasing their affirmation out to the world. Members have said it provided much needed comfort while coping with the illness of a loved one or their own anxiety issues. I am so grateful for your participation in this initiative and for the bravery of those who have shared affirmations and mantras.

Whether you have contributed to the “I am” page or not, you have more than likely experienced resistance to the idea of these mantras or affirmations. Perhaps you have sat in front of the page trying to think of something and then decided you couldn’t think of anything meaningful, the activity was stupid, no one was going to see it anyway or that it wasn’t going to help you. This is totally normal and I’d like to offer some suggestions for challenging those thoughts when they arise.

“I can’t think of anything meaningful” –> It’s important to make your affirmation meaningful BUT also remember that a really important goal is also overcoming resistance and perfectionism by just doing it. Perhaps the next time will feel more sincere and effortless. There are days when affirmations like “I am enough” or “I am loving” don’t sit as well with me and I usually go with a self-compassion mantra or affirmation like “I am brave and hopeful” or “This is hard for me right now but I am going to respond with self-compassion.”

“This is stupid” –> This can mean a lot of things. I used to think affirmations were lame but now I realize that they are a really important way to capture your positivity. Often times when something is going well, we let it just speed by without really absorbing it and letting it sink in to our attention. On the other hand, when something is negative, it’s easy to ruminate for hours or even years! Affirmations are a great way to pause. For more on this, check out my post “Positive Thinking and Affirmations are New Agey and Lame”

“No one (I know) is going to see this so who cares” –> Yup, someone may or may not see your affirmation but are you doing this for yourself or other people? Posting on the “I am” page is first and foremost an opportunity to inspire yourself.

“I’ll just do an affirmation in my mind” –> Two reasons to use the “I Am” page: shamelessness and accountability. (1) Shamelessness. One of the benefits of the “I Am” page is that it’s an opportunity to shamelessly express the self-compassion you deserve. A pervasive and toxic idea in our culture is that being positive and self-critical is cool or noble and the “I Am” page is all about challenging that. All the anxiety and indifference that arises when you attempt an affirmation is actually a great opportunity to challenge this resistance with affirmation. My resistance to doing an affirmation is often an indication that I should do it. (2) Accountability. The “I am” page encourages you to put your affirmation in writing, which often enhances one’s sense of accountability to an intention. This is particularly useful if you have chosen to work with a specific affirmation for a month such as “I am trusting.” Of course, the affirmation will only be part of the work to expand your ability to trust but it is an opportunity to put your intention in writing and share it with the world.

“This isn’t going to help” –> You won’t know unless you try. When this thought comes up, you might choose the affirmation “I am opening my mind” or “I am taking chances.”

“I don’t need affirmations” –> Perhaps this is true and only you can decide what you need. However, it’s important to realize that this is often another way of hiding. One red flag would be if you were initially interested in the idea and then became deterred in the course of choosing an affirmation. You may also want to ask yourself if you don’t want to “need” affirmations. What does it mean to need or not need an affirmation?

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