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Affirming Love, Realness and Dodging Pitfalls


Mini-Love-Lesson #295

Synopsis: Affirmational love is so important in helping loved ones and love relationships grow but it doesn’t work well without realness and avoiding certain pitfalls.  This mini-love-lesson covers and helps with that.

Being Real

Affirmational love is incredibly powerful!

Affirmation rests on authenticity and sincerity.   If our affirmations are perceived as credible and realistic, they will encourage trust in us and what we are asserting.  If our affirmations are perceived as genuine, they can be relied on, whether or not the recipient perceives in themselves any of the same affirmed quality.  

When affirmations are seen as false, fake or unrealistic, they get discounted.  The person making a phony affirmation loses credibility and may be judged as untrustworthy.  Even if the motivation is to improve or advance a relationship, making false affirmations is like building a relationship on feet of clay --  it likely will topple in the first storm.

Positive affirmational love can encourage hope, especially when someone is facing a difficult challenge.  It sends the messages, “You’re not alone”, “I’ve got your back” or “You can do it”.  Be careful not to overstate your affirmation because the affirmation is to help a person grow strength in themselves.  Plus, if it is not seen as plausible, it will do little or no good.    Heartfelt affirmations are more likely to ring true and get through to loved ones.  

Sometimes no matter how sincere or accurate an affirmation is, it may get discounted.  For example, a parent validly might say to their child, “You played really well” and the child’s response might be, “You’re just saying that because you’re my parent”.  A loving, stronger, more detailed affirmational message may be required to get through a disqualification barrier and help the receiver glean its benefits.  

Some of What To Avoid

It is important to know what is important to our loved ones in order to be accurate when affirming their spheres of interest and who they are intrinsically.  If we overshadow their concerns or enthusiasms with our own, affirmations can fall flat or not even occur.  Remember, an affirmation is an assertion of something we find admirable in our loved ones and we want them to feel good with what we have seen in them.

It is best not to affirm the harmful.  “You are so sexy and cute when you get drunk” said to an alcoholic, rewards alcoholic behavior.  “You are a super daredevil” may encourage dangerous behavior.  “You are so lucky, why don’t you go ahead and bet the ranch” could result in considerable financial harm.  Encouraging unhealthy, dangerous or risky behavior by way of affirmations is not in the best practices of love category.

Another affirmational blunder is praising the same thing over and over.  If a couple has lived together for 40 years and she has heard him say, “You have such a cute upturned nose”, usually it will be brushed off because it has become boring and has lost its endearing impact.  What works well is developing a broad ranging and ever varying awareness of the qualities of those we love and affirming all of them. 

Of course, avoiding affirmations that smack of insincerity, phoniness, hypocrisy, mockery, over exaggeration or anything less than heartfelt affirmation might harm a relationship.  So, let’s not do that.  

Looks, sex, and work are areas too frequently singled out for affirmation, to the exclusion of all the many others.  These areas do not need to be avoided but need to be in balance with other important qualities deserving affirmative attention. 

Affirmations can fizzle or flop, as in this interaction.  

“I admire how social you are at the country club”.  “I don’t care.  I don’t want to mess with those people, even though I mess well with them”.  

If an affirmation sent is not agreed with or valued, it likely will fail.  What we do with that, if it happens, and it does happen, is up to us.  There are a number of ways to handle this but the overarching point is to stay loving to ourselves as well as to the sender when an affirmation flops.

Affirmations can be ill-used manipulatively.  Something to definitely avoid.  If an affirmation is used to soften up somebody only for selfish gain, it is not for the other person’s benefit.  Another example of manipulative affirmations are those books and courses on salesmanship that encourage using concocted praise and compliments to sell stuff.  Such tactics are destructively manipulative when used within a personal network.  Our affirmations need to be constructive to have loving effect.  After all, the very word affirmation means to strengthen and improve. 

One More Thing

How about telling someone about this mini-love-lesson and this website about love?  Spreading the positives about love really might make your world more love enriched. 

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

♥ Love Success Question: With those you love and care about, do your praises outnumber your criticisms, your approval statements sound stronger than your disapproval utterances and you appreciation remarks number more than your fault finding?

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