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How to Love and Accept Yourself. The Power of Repetition

This lesson is a part of an audio course How to Love and Accept Yourself by Linda Bjork

One way to begin to believe the truth that you have value, and are worthy of love and belonging is through the power of repetition. We can create positive statements about ourselves, and repeat them over and over, to create a new, healthier, positive belief system.

Research shows that if you hear something enough times, you begin to believe it. We are more likely to believe things that we hear over and over again, just because we heard it over and over again, and it doesn't matter if it's true or not. We believe things because they are familiar. Scientists call this phenomenon the "mere exposure effect" and it's baffling because it has nothing to do with truth, reason, or logic. This is one reason why it's so dangerous to have circulating thoughts and statements like, "I'm not good enough," or, "I don't fit in." If you repeat those thoughts and those statements often enough, you begin to believe them, even when they're not true. Furthermore, a child who has been told over and over again that they can't do something, or that they're stupid, or worthless, or not safe, or not good enough, will accept these familiar sayings as true.

The flip side of the coin is that once we believe something, whether or not it is true, our subconscious will fight to protect those beliefs by rejecting anything that is unfamiliar or contradicts what we already believe. Sadly, that means that the child who has grown up with the belief that they're stupid, or worthless, or not safe, or not good enough, will then fight to defend and support those beliefs their whole life. That is unless they go through the conscious effort to change those beliefs.

When thoughts and feelings are repeated over and over, they become familiar, and we believe them to be the only possible truth. It may seem ironic, but a person may subconsciously believe that feelings of worthlessness, unworthiness, invisibility, or rejection, are more "safe" than feelings of being loved, valued, accepted, and appreciated, because those thoughts and feelings are unfamiliar, and therefore "dangerous." People often subconsciously fight to hold onto those hurtful thoughts and beliefs. They reject thoughts about happiness, positivity, hopefulness, confidence, worthiness, success, or peace, because they contradict what their minds already believe to be true.

The mere exposure effect makes it difficult to feel confident and worthy when you're stuck in a pattern of feeling worthless and unlovable. However, there is a difference between difficult and impossible.

If a thought keeps running through your mind like, "I'm not good enough," replace it with another opposite and positive statement such as, "I am worthy and deserving of being loved, valued and appreciated. I am loved, valued and appreciated. I am good enough." And repeat that over and over again. There's a lot of truth taught in the children's book "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper. Repeating, "I think I can, I think I can," (or whatever positive mantra is applicable) really makes a difference.

It won't be easy, however. When you say those things, your subconscious may tell you that they're lies. Studies show that once we believe something, we instinctively defend and protect it without even being aware of it. But if we keep at it relentlessly and consistently, that power of repetition can retrain our brains to accept those things as true.

In the next lesson, we'll be talking about why people give up and how to overcome that urge to give up so you can keep progressing and reach your potential.

In closing, I'd like to share a quote from boxer Muhammad Ali, "It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."

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Written by

Linda Bjork