You may have experimented with affirmations, telling yourself you are rich, wise, and good looking, but nothing happened in spite of all the hoopla about how they are supposed to produce miracles. You may have even been mindful of keeping them present tense, positive, and powerful, but they had little effect. I said affirmations for years, thinking they were taking me exactly where I wanted to go, but when I woke up feeling like a semi had hit me – my husband of three months had spent the last two days gleeful sharing with me who he now loved, and it was not me – I decided I needed to figure out what went wrong.

My first major breakthrough came when I realized my affirmations need to directly assault my negative core beliefs. Core beliefs form in our early years before most of us can remember creating them, much less realize we are formulating rules we will live by until we consciously work to change them. Even in the rosiest of childhoods, nearly everyone faces some kind of challenge. Unfortunately, we tend to focus on these negative experiences and they carry more weight than all the hugs and kisses we received.

As a child I had grown deeply attached to a teddy bear. I loved him better than anything. When I was four, he was lost in a move. My parents thought I was too old for such things, so when he surfaced, they tucked him away. I may have been beyond such things age-wise, but emotionally I was devastated. At their refusal to help me find him, I made up the following rules that set the course for how I lived the next fifty years:

  • I am dependent on others for my happiness, but they probably won’t help me.
  • I don’t deserve to have what I really want and value.
  • I have to be what others want me to be in order to gain their love and support.
  • Happiness is beyond my grasp.

When my husband dumped me for someone else, I began a long journey on the road to self-examination. While traveling this course, I saw how the actions that got me into my marriage were based on the negative core beliefs that I had formulated as a child. Once I understood what I was dealing with – the steering beliefs that dictated my actions at a subconscious level – then I started using my affirmations to combat those negative core beliefs. Some of the ones I was already saying applied, but they now had new meaning because used them to combat the negative tapes running in my head. I also gave myself permission to create new affirmations that addressed feelings of inadequacy, dependencies, and lacking confidence. Here are a few of those:

  • I am unique, precious, and authentic.
  • I am my vision, how I see myself and others.
  • I am the flow of change, and I am grateful for the gifts that shifting brings.

That last one about change says it all. Change is the gift of affirmations. They change me at a core level, and with change, I see the benefits of replacing that struggling child lost in victimhood with a focused, clear-thinking adult. My hurt child still surfaces on occasion. After all, she has had the job quite a long time. Still, I am getting better and better at recognizing who’s in charge – and shifting back to where I want to be – with my healthy adult at the steering wheel.

Too Much Gold to Flush chronicles my journey out of victimhood while exploring the lessons I learned along the way.



  1. Leslie

    Excellent posting, and this advice is relevant for everyone, especially those who’ve experienced trauma, stress, or abandonment. Did you ever find your lost teddy bear?

    • Pat Grissom

      Thanks for your insightful comment. Yes, I did find My Bear. He was given to me again as a Christmas present when I was in my 40’s.

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