Authentic Affirmations

There are a great number of standard phrases people use to comfort others or offer advice, such as, “it is what it is” or “never say never.” Sometimes these phrases are truly meaningful and do their job by providing a sense of relief. However, sometimes these phrases, while well intended, can do more damage than aid. There is one phrase in particular that I have beef with: fake it ‘til you make it. If you’ve read my previous blog entry I’m Fine, you may already know where I’m going with this, but let’s talk about why faking it may not help you make it as well as how using a more authentic approach to affirmations could flip the script. 

Being Fake

What is the definition of the word “fake?” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means, “not true, real, or genuine.” Consider the use of “fake” when referring to peers, coworkers, family members, or acquaintances – do we trust the individual we are labelling as “fake?” Would we tell them our deepest, darkest secrets? Would we want them to comfort us during times of need? I think it is safe to assume (even though I try to steer clear of assumptions) that we would not want this individual in our inner circle given that they are not being truthful, real, or genuine with us. So, if that is the case, why do we allow disingenuous inner talk when we would not allow someone into our support system if they were being fake?

Authentic Self

Before I continue, I want to note that, as with any ideology, this is not one size fits all. Of course there will be certain scenarios where perhaps “faking it” is the safest way to maneuver through the situation. However, if we can help it, I encourage you to be as authentic as possible. This not only builds a stronger relationship with yourself, but also builds a strong relationship with others.

When using the phrase, “fake it ‘til you make it,” you are essentially giving your subconsciouspermission to lie to yourself. A perfect example would be someone who is depressed using a positive affirmation of: I am happy. Is that true? If that were the case, this individual would not be described as depressed. However, if we swing to the other end of the spectrum, a depressed individual using negative inner talk would be extremely damaging. So how do we be authentic to ourselves when we are feeling low?

Neutral Self-Talk

The answer is easier than think: we remove the judgement. Positive and negative affirmations can apply judgment to our thoughts. If were sad, but claim happiness, our brain can refute that lie. This may end up making us feel as though we are failing the goal of happiness. Cycling failure only perpetuates depression’s hold on the individual and digs the struggle hole deeper and deeper. However, if we stick to neutral self-talk based off of facts, we can cycle accomplishment!

For example, the affirmation “I am trying” would most certainly be an accurate statement, especially if you are reading this blog as you are seeking assistance with your mental health. Beyond that, you are trying because you got out of bed or you ate something today. Perhaps you even engaged in an activity that brings you joy. All of these things are ways you are actively trying to improve depressive symptoms. As we use neutral self-talk, our brain accepts this as truth (because it is) and recognizes it as a goal accomplished and the more we continue this cycle, we slowly begin to climb out of the struggle hole! Then, one day, you may find a positive affirmation of “I am happy” is no longer a lie because we are truly and authentically happy.

There is so much more to overcoming depressive symptoms, but being authentic and neutral to yourself is a great place to start. You deserve kindness from others just as you deserve kindness to yourself. If you’re interested in learning more about how to climb out of the struggle hole by using more authentic affirmations, please call our office at 832-352-1600 or contact us through our website at txharmonycounseling.com/contact-us.

We are here to help!

Krista Bassani, LPC Associate

Krista Bassani, LPC Associate

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