Before I go any further, I’m going to break one of the rules of blogging as handed down by a couple of blogging gurus whose blogging material I’ve read. According to the experts, a blogger should never apologize for not posting for a few days or even longer; instead, they should just pick back up where they left off. I just can’t do that. This is “social” media; it’s all about building community and relationships, and if you and I communicated socially in “real life” and I didn’t get back to you for 5 or 6 days, I would apologize. So . . . I apologize for not being around since last week. I’ve missed being here, but this first week back at work every semester is always hectic and extremely busy. And that leads me to the topic of affirmations.
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
I’ll be totally honest. I’m a bit skeptical of the “if you envision it and affirm it enough, it will become reality” concept that has been preached by quite a few self-improvement gurus the past several years. We all know people who have had a goal that they envisioned endlessly, that they worked toward tirelessly and relentlessly for years on end, and that never came to fruition. As a dear friend explains, her desparate desire to become a prima ballerina, over 10 years of lessons with fantastic teachers, dedicated & rigorous practice on her own part, and fervent support and encouragement on the part of her family could not cause her 5’0″ (as she says it) body to grow or overcome the fact that she is one of the least coordinated people on the planet. She is only a prima ballerina in her dreams — literally.
I do believe affirmations in that sense can be helpful, but they are not the end-all and be-all.
But there’s another kind of affirmation that I have come to believe in in the past year or so. I wish I had grasped this concept before; it would have saved me so much trouble an heartache through my lifetime. The type of affirmation I’m referring to involves setting a goal or objective, taking a step or two in that direction, and then assessing the result of those steps. Is everything working out? Did taking those small steps lead to doors opening that in turn lead you closer to the original goal? If the answer is yes, keep on stepping. If not, adjust course and take another step. Lather, rinse, repeat.
For me, there’s another component to the assessment part of the process. As a Christian, I’ve come to believe that if things are working out and doors are opening without me manipulating them to happen and forcing doors to open, they’re happening because I’m in align with God’s plan and am on the right track. With that in mind, over the past few months, as I’ve moved from dreaming and reading about my “new life” to translating those dreams into something more specific, more doable, I’ve also been praying that God would guide me. And, since I can be a little slow on the uptake in the spiritual department, I asked Him to make His affirmations (or His “no, not that”) as clear as possible.
I returned to work this past Tuesday morning for 3 days of meetings before students return this coming Monday. The very first thing that occurred when I walked into the department office was that something very important that I had been told was a “done deal” was no longer going to happen. Not only was it not going to happen, but the person who should have told me back in May didn’t do that. As a result, all of the lesson plans, activities, workshops, etc., I developed over the summer for the entire semester must be completely redone. I felt disrespected and frustrated. I went to my office, closed the door, and my very first thought when I was able to think anything other than “Oh, no!” was “Hmmm . . . maybe this is an affirmation of my desire to relocate.” I reminded myself that this could also be a test of my determination, my commitment to being a joy-filled person despite my circumstances, etc., so I didn’t jump to any conclusions.
This morning I learned, in a very public setting, that someone I had trusted, someone who greatly impacts what I do every day, has been repeatedly untruthful with me in a very significant way since last winter. Not only has this person been misleading me, the act they have been untruthful about is, to me at least, an act of betrayal. I kept a smile on my face, but inside I was again feeling very disrespected and, at first, quite hurt. And then I heard inside my head, “Well, you did ask for affirmation of your goal to relocate.” I couldn’t help but laugh.
Then it dawned on me. I really didn’t feel sad, or even disappointed. In fact, I felt relieved. Not that I’m going to have to redo 16 weeks of classes — no, that still frustrates me. I feel a sense of relief because I see these events as affirmation that I’m on the right track. That a change is in order. That my dreams and goals are ones I should pursue.
So I’m going to keep taking steps. Perhaps along the way a different opportunity will arise that keeps me where I am but working in a different capacity. Or perhaps things will work out in a way that shows me these two incidences were nothing more than tests of my character. But I’m not worried or concerned. I’m very content to simply take another step, and then another, knowing that in the end I will be where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
But no matter what, I understand what Ali was saying. I’m deeply convicted by the idea that I’m on the right track, and I feel as though, after months and years of dreaming and plotting & planning, things are on the verge of changing. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
What are your dreams and goals? What do you imagine your redesigned life to look like? Are you taking steps to make what you imagine your reality? I’d love to hear how things are going for you and what you’ve experienced in the way of affirmations. I hope you’ll share your thoughts by commenting or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org