Why Affirmations Don’t Work for Some Men

Men often add a “tail-ender” to their affirmations that can put an end to positive results.

An affirmation is a positive statement used to encourage and motivate. On any given social media platform, you can find a positive quote or motivational meme inspiring us to dream and reach for a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Positive affirmations make us feel good and hopeful, but there comes a time when they don’t. They become trite and annoying because we realize they don’t work. Or maybe, we haven’t been doing them right.

Motivational gurus urge us to think positive, say affirmations, and make intentions. This is well and good, but for a lot of men, it’s not enough.

The lack of success some men have from thinking positive, reciting affirmations, and believing in intentions are not because they don’t try hard enough, it’s because they’re not entirely convinced the affirmation is valid—not all the way at least.

For many, the affirmations men say have what’s called a “tail-ender.” A silent self-limiting belief that follows the positive affirmation. This tail-ender is the true affirmation that they believe and unfortunately, repeat in their head.

Do the following exercise. Repeat each positive thought with the conjunction “but” and finish the phrase. Then, pay attention to what you say.

  • I am a good guy but…
  • I am confident but…
  • I’m smart but…
  • I deserve the promotion but…
  • I workout but…
  • I eat healthy but…

Take your favorite affirmation, follow it up with the word “but” and what words do you find yourself speaking after?

If you’re able to add something after you say the “but” conjunction, then that phrase you say is the actual “affirmation” or more appropriately, the self-limiting belief that you believe.

Imagine a guy who wants to lose weight and be healthier. Next, let’s take the popular motivational phrase, “New year, new me.” and pretend that is his mantra—the affirmation he recites to himself—to inspire lifestyle changes. What he doesn’t realize is that when he consciously says, “New year, new me.” his subconscious parrots back, “Yeah right, we’ve heard that before, you’ll never change.”

How successful do you think he will be with his resolution to get healthier when his real belief is, “I’m not capable of change.”

If you wonder why an affirmation has not manifested in your life, it’s because you never really believed it could be true for you.

You have a silent and negative deeper belief that overrides it. Like a trojan horse virus, it takes control and ruins your efforts.

Think of a man who wants to find love. Let’s call him Romeo.

Romeo joins several online dating sites and goes on a few dates. Before each date he pumps himself up with affirmations such as, “I’m a good guy. I’m not bad looking. I’m funny. I can do this.”

Shortly thereafter, as the pressure mounts—Romeo starts feeling nervous and anxious because he has expectations—his tail-enders start rolling in.

  • “I’m a good guy, but I know good guys finish last.”
  • “I’m not bad looking, but I really should lose some weight.”
  • “I’m funny, but I don’t think girls get my jokes.”
  • “I can do this, but I hate feeling rejected.”

With tail-enders such as these—and with life experiences that reinforced these limiting beliefs—how well do you think Romeo is going to perform on his date?

In order for an affirmation to come true, you have to fix and heal the self-limiting thought—the tail-ender—that overpowers the more positive idea you want to adopt.

In the case of our fictitious lover Romeo, he has to remedy why he believes “good guys finish last.” He must heal the beliefs where he thinks he has to look a particular way or be a certain weight in order to receive love.

Here are the possible deeper meanings of Romeo’s tail-enders:

  • “But, I know good guys finish last.” = “I’m hopeless”, “Life is not fair”
  • “But, I really should lose some weight.” = “I’m not good enough”, “I’m unlovable”
  • “But, I don’t think girls get my jokes.” = “I’m flawed”, “People must think well of me”
  • “But, I hate feeling rejected.” = “I can’t do it”, “I’m not capable”, “I’m not good enough”

If your affirmations—the positive thoughts you want to believe about yourself—are not taking hold, it’s because you have these bothersome tail-enders.

Do something about it. Don’t be stuck playing the same tired playlist.

An effective way to fix your tail-ender is to remember where you learned it, heal the trauma or experience that started the thought, and then take steps to accept a new and more empowering belief. Therapy methods that work well at remedying this problem are hypnotherapy, NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programing), EFT (emotional freedom techniques), and Matrix Reimprinting. Heal your tail-enders because affirmations do work if you buy into them fully.

If you have tail-enders that you would like to fix—so that you can live the positive, loving, and abundant life you want—then I would be happy to work together and help you resolve those limiting thoughts once and for all.

You coach,


First published on GoodMenProject.com
photo credit: Look, Ma! The Sky Is Blue! via photopin (license)