Perception is malleable. We can choose to think of ourselves as being made of atoms, or a soul, or cheese. Going around repeating to oneself, “I am made of cheese” is likely to have very odd effects on daily life – because affirming certain perceptions about oneself can indeed cause change. Does that mean affirmations could cause a person to actually become cheese? Well, I kind of doubt it. But a person could become convinced that such a transformation had occurred.
Which is my first main point here: We can convince ourselves of anything. If your mantra is “I am made of hate,” you’ll likely start seeing a turn for the negative in your mind, and it can spread like an oil spill into other areas, such as how you treat other people and how much you respect yourself. Same with mantras like “love doesn’t exist,” or “love is an illusion.” Convincing yourself of these things builds up a mental wall between you and the world around you. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong – such mantras can prevent you from being able to experience love. Denying love’s existence is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Conversely, convincing yourself that you are made of love will make you a more loving person. And regardless of whether you currently believe love doesn’t exist, convincing yourself that you are love will cause love to manifest in your mind. And then it can spread and permeate just as much as fear or hate or any negative emotion.
Before you ask, no, you won’t have a rude awakening down the line where you realize it’s all made up, because you’re not creating a fantasy world in your mind and pretending to be someone else – you’re creating real love in yourself and actually changing yourself into a more loving person.
The difficulty here comes in persistence and habit – our minds can have (sometimes misguided) patterns we need to work around. For example, if your definition of love includes negative connotations such as “love means having to give up whatever makes me happy” or other such subtly–but often–repeated untruths, you may have some mental work to do to get to the realization that pure, unconditional love asks no questions and requests no changes – it accepts you. Not just anyone, you, exactly how you are in this moment, with everything you dislike about yourself. Pure, unconditional love means accepting that you are, in fact, beautiful.