13 What if you or someone else doesn’t believe an affirmation?

No one is to be criticized for not understanding, wanting, or believing an affirmation — yourself included. Sometimes people gobble up affirmations. Sometimes they say, “They are nice” and ignore them. Some say, “I don’t get it” and toss them out. Trust people to know what they need and move at a pace that is helpful to them. Don’t give a message to others unless you believe it. You can give yourself affirmations that you wish you believed. You will be tapping into the healthy, loving part of yourself. If other people don’t believe, simply make the Developmental Affirmations available to use if and when they decide they want to use them.

You can grow at your own pace.

Being — Stage 1


DIGGING DEEPER: stories about dealing with resistance.

When we meet children or adults who, for whatever reasons, reject the affirmations, or resent or ridicule the ovals, we accept their right to do that. Sometimes an adult reads the affirmations, recognizes that he or she did not receive them as a child, rejects them, takes time to grieve the loss, and then returns to learn more about these life-supporting messages and uses them to grow.

The mom who accepted the resistance

The son, as he was growing up, often made fun of the ovals. The mom kept them visible in the house and asked about them frequently with the expectation that he would think about and use them. Usually, she spoke about the affirmations with others, not directly to him. No pushing. Gradually the ridicule subsided. Now it was September, time for college. On the day they were packing the son’s bags, Mom dropped four bags of small ovals into his backpack. The son picked up the bags and handed them back to her. With an appreciative look, he said, “Thanks, Mom. I don’t need the affirmations. I already know them.” Late in October, he called home. “Mom, please send four or five sets of affirmations. I have friends who need them.”

For kids who don’t believe, offer the option of putting the ovals in their pockets and giving themselves the messages anyway.

The teacher who let the students discover

The new special education students shuffled reluctantly into the classroom. Their clothing and body language told Jim Sorenson he would have to develop rapport and trust with these kids before he could teach them anything. These are students who don’t learn from lectures. They need action. He decided to handle the kids’ disrespect by modeling completely respectful behavior. He hung poster-sized affirmations for birth through adolescent stages around the classroom. He put them low on the walls below the whiteboards. He left a bowl of the small affirmations on his desk and said nothing about them. The class members read some of the affirmations aloud and asked questions about them.  Jim answered each question very briefly. No lectures. When students asked, “Why do you have those dumb messages everywhere?” Jim’s only answer was, “They help.” One day, a troublemaker interrupted a lesson with a loud, “Sorenson! Put those dumb sayings of yours up on the walls where we can see them.” Jim said nothing and moved the posters up above the whiteboards. At the end of a school day that had included a playground altercation, a sometimes-troublemaker slouched into the room with a boy from another class, grabbed the bowl of ovals, and demanded, “Sorenson! Can I give my friend some of your dumb messages? He needs them.” Jim offered a quiet, “Of course.”

The mom who ignored the resistance, the eye-rolling and the giggling

As soon as afternoon school was out, Effie’s junior high friends descended on her house for food, gossip and complaints about teachers. They also devoted considerable time to giggling about and ridiculing the plate-sized affirmation ovals hanging all around the sunroom. Effie’s mom was learning about Developmental Affirmations and thought they were wonderful. She was even learning how to teach a class about them. Effie’s friends tried to be respectful of the mom’s enthusiasm, but it was hard not to laugh at the words on the ovals. They were so dorky! Years later, after a reunion of the friends, Effie’s Mom got a phone call. “Mom, do you still have those affirmations? The ones that hung in the sunroom, the ones we made so much fun of? We girls got together yesterday. We all have junior high aged kids now, and we realized it would be easier to deal with them if we had the affirmations. Can you help?”

You probably have many stories of your own.


Words that Help: Affirmations for any age, every stage Copyright © by Jean Illsley Clarke, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.


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