Thursday, August 6, 2009


Affirmations - a positive way of changing our world from the inside out?

Or a dangerous delusion?

I was browsing through Apple's App Store the other day when I saw something that was labelled something like 'affirmations for creativity'. It was 79 cents and I thought, that's cheap and I'm creative, let's see what this is.

It's a series of cards from a lady called Louise L. Hay with the idea being that you look at one at the start of the day and it will help with creativity.

It downloaded. I opened it up.

And this is what I saw - "My job allows me to express my talents and abilities and I rejoice in this employment".

Hang on, I thought, there's a problem here. What if my job is a soul-destroying hell? Like, for example, back when I worked in advertising. Or what if I worked in a burger joint while my talent for sculpture went untapped? What is to be gained by telling myself that my job allows me to express my talents?

Louise L. Hay, I have to call you out on this. Personally, I think this does far more harm than good. Having people try convince themselves that they are happy in the status quo when in fact a life change could do them the world of good is positively dangerous. So let's say your affirmation works and they stay put, in Burger King, taking on your message each day to get through it. And, each day, they lose a piece of their soul, they get a day closer to death and a day further away from their dreams.

Who benefits?

I'm all for affirmations that can express our potential. Remind ourselves just what we are capable of. But an affirmation that could very well be a flat-out lie? How many people on this Earth do you think are genuinely in a job that can allow them to express their talents?

What you are saying to people is this - you are no better than where you are right now.

And I think that's utter bollocks.

On an unrelated note, I got an absolutely lovely mention over at the excellent Healing Philosophy blog. Thanks, Alex!
I also meant to mention the passing of John Ryan, of Captain Pugwash fame. A remarkable creative talent from a golden age of UK children's shows. Brian Sibley has put up a lovely tribute over at his blog and I left my feelings in the comments.


susan said...

Wow. Lots in this post. First of all- to the powers that be- I want a ipod touch!

Regarding your picture- it reminds of me that line from Kipling- i know i am going to mess it up, but, something about keeping your head when all others around you are loosing yours?

The fact that the world is going to heck in a handbasket and you are still in your lawn chair, listening to tunes and being mellow, you are going to be OK. All that's missing is some gorgeous bikinied girl handing out the Guinness.....

Regarding the dreams and jobs= my father did that, every day for 27 years, worked for Big Pharma and died a little each day until he could come home and hang out with mom and his daughters.

I did those jobs during college during the summers, I did it cause I needed to do something to pay for the tuition, and I knew it was just for 2 and a half months. I could leave. My dad couldn't. he had a wife, children and a mortgage. Now dad is old, loosing it, and I wish there was someway i could take the Delorean out and give him those 27 years back. So he could do something fun like buy a Winnebago and go see baseball games in all the parks.

The rub was my dad had a chance to play pro ball with the Yankees and turned it down because he and mom wanted to start a family and there wasn't money for that. Hence the job that destroyed his soul and faith in mankind.

In an ideal world Ms. Hqay would be correct. But most of us have jobs we like only a little bit of the time, so..... well...

Heck, she was big in the 60s and 70s!

Red Pill Junkie said...

A question re. those affirmation cards:

Are they the same for everybody, or are they sent to the user in a completely random way?

Has it occurred to you that you had a moment of synchronicity? Because, the fact is that you DO NOT work in a Burger King; you do happen to be in a work where you employ your creativity.

I know you went to the tangent of thinking about your fellow men who are in a worse position than yourself, because that's your empathic nature.

But... have you considered that this particular message was meant to you, and you alone?

Author said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Author said...

Thanks for the kind comments.
About that affirmation: your job does allow you to express your talents and abilities and affirming that will make it more so.
The bit about rejoicing in your job is about affirming gratitude (even if you want more) and that is a major key to being happy, and hence more creative, and hence getting more.
You might want to add the line 'My joy and my creativity are leading me to new (job) opportunities beyond anything I have previously imagined' or something like that...

Spirit of 1976 said...

Ahhh, positive affirmations.

CBT practitioners seem to speak very highly of them, but in my experience generally a load of bollocks.

Anyone who can be lifted out of their problems simply by repeating a feelgood proverb from a greetings card probably doesn't have that bad a set of problems.

Author said...

For sure repeating an affirmation without thinking about what you are saying, without visualizing the goal, will not help you. But when you do visualize your affirmation, you harness the power of your subconscious which governs what you experience in this life. Affirmations are about taking control of what you will concentrate on, because what you think about all the time is what you will get. I recommend you read the classic 'The Power of your Subconscious Mind' by Joesph Murphy and then decide.

Bitter Animator said...

RPJ - you know, if that affirmation was meant just for me, that would make a lot of sense. Who knows, maybe Louise L. Hay knew I needed to see that at that very moment.

Red Pill Junkie said...

...Or rather, the Universe used Louise L. Hay as a tool to get the message across ;-)

Synchronicities: they are the Universe's Twitter :-P