What Is The Critical Faculty, And How Does It Affect Your Affirmations?

What is the Critical Faculty, and how does it affect your affirmations?

The Critical Faculty is the part of your mind that is responsible for evaluating all incoming information to determine whether it is true, or untrue.

But the interesting thing is that the Critical Faculty is not actually objective, and actually judges and decides what is true or not true in a very subjective way. 

In fact, the Critical Faculty measures all incoming information against the collection of beliefs, assumptions and experiences that have shaped your unique model of the world since you were born, and it decides what is true - and what is untrue - largely based on what you personally already believe! 

But it wasn’t always this way. Before the age of 7-9 years old - during what Dr. Morris Massey calls the “imprint period” - the Critical Faculty is virtually non-existent. That is why kids tend to believe everything they are told! They have no Critical Faculty to distinguish what is true from what is not true.

But this feature of youth also has an adaptive function. 

First, the lack of a Critical Faculty is what makes kids such fast learners. Because when you take in information without analyzing or questioning it, you are able to learn very quickly. 

This is why we want to adopt what is referred to as the "beginner's mind" when trying to learn something new. If we can drop our preconceptions about ANYTHING, we can change and grow and learn much much more quickly!

Secondly, the lack of a developed Critical Faculty when we are children is also what allows us to quickly and unconsciously adapt to all the cultural customs and expectations of wherever we happen to be born. 

But of course, beyond a certain age, it wouldn't be functional for us to stay in this sponge-like state where we take in everything without questioning. And so after that initial imprint period is when the Critical Faculty develops.

Once developed, the Critical Faculty gives us the ability to think logically and critically, and make intelligent decisions. It allows us to question assumptions, and weigh different points of view before choosing a perspective or drawing a conclusion.

So it is of obvious importance - we wouldn't want to be without it - but it also can get in our way.

While it is essential for discernment and critical thinking, it can also lead to overthinking, skepticism, and analysis paralysis if it becomes too dominant or rigid.

And when it comes to using affirmations for change and for creating more of the things you want in your life, the Critical Faculty is the biggest obstacle between you and the change you seek.

Knowing what you know now about the role of the Critical Faculty, can you see why this would be?

The Critical Faculty stands as a gatekeeper to your subconscious mind, and when it encounters your incoming affirmations, it does what it is designed to do: it evaluates them to see whether or not they fit with what you already believe to be true. 

Since the very purpose of affirmations is to make positive and empowering changes to your existing beliefs, perspectives and assumptions, you can see how this can present quite a problem! 

And if you want your affirmations to be effective, you need to learn to work with the Critical Faculty so that it will accept and allow your affirmations through, even if you don't quite believe them to be true, just yet.

So then the question becomes, how do you write affirmations that can get past the Critical Faculty and into your subconscious mind where all real change and transformation takes place?

To write affirmations that can get past the Critical Faculty, you need to approach them in a way that feels authentic and believable to you. 

Here are 3 practical ways to start doing just that.

Use emotion:

Elevated emotions are powerful motivators and can help to bypass your Critical Faculty. When writing affirmations, try to include emotionally moving language that gets you excited and inspired. You can also include the emotional states themselves that you want to feel in the content of your affirmations. 

States such as happiness, confidence, or gratitude are a great place to start. For example, instead of saying "I am successful," you could say "I am grateful for the success I am creating in my life."

Be realistic: 

Affirmations that feel unrealistic or unattainable will be quickly rejected by your Critical Faculty. Make sure your affirmations feel authentic and achievable to you. One way to start with small steps toward your ultimate outcomes, visions and dreams, and work your way up to bigger goals over time.

Use persuasive language: 

The Critical Faculty can be persuaded to accept new ideas and beliefs when those ideas and concepts are worded in specific ways that make them more appealing and easier to accept. 

A simple way to use language that is persuasive to the Critical Faculty is to use words that I call "softeners". Softeners are words that turn the usual easy-to-reject, definitive-type statement affirmations into less definitive statements that are more easily accepted by the Critical Faculty. 

There are many words you could use, but it will be easiest to understand the concept if we work with an example.

"I am deeply confident" is an example of an affirmation that would be easily rejected by the Critical Faculty.

But if you were to simply change the focus of the affirmation from "I am confident" to "I believe I am capable of becoming deeply confident", the affirmation becomes instantly more believable and acceptable to your Critical Faculty.

And it is effective because once you believe you are capable of something, the path to attaining it becomes infinitely easier.

Another example of softening the affirmation "I am confident" to make it easier for your Critical Faculty to accept could be to change it to "I am learning to be more confident every day." This can help to create a sense of progress and growth, which can be more motivating and easier to accept.

One last example, just so you can see how many ways there are to soften an affirmation, would be to change "I am confident" to "I am open to the possibility of becoming more confident."

The key to making affirmations effective is to choose statements that are authentic to you and feel believable, even if they may stretch your current comfort zone a bit. By framing your affirmations in ways that feel achievable and realistic, you can help to bypass your Critical Faculty and create a sense of possibility and openness. 

And as you repeat these better affirmations consistently, you will start to internalize them and create neural pathways that support the new beliefs and new patterns of thinking and behavior.

Experiment with these approaches and find what works best for you. By using what you have learned here about the Critical Faculty, you can start creating well-crafted affirmations that can help you align with your highest intentions and greatest visions for yourself, and your life.