Save vs. Stuart Smalley
Cattle Shields and Affirmations
I had the hunch that affirmations were neurolinguistic programming, and a cursory net search was enough to satiate my confirmation bias:
Incantations are a more powerful version of affirmations, which are one of the more mainstream neuro-linguistic programming techniques. An affirmation is a phrase you repeat to yourself about your beliefs and goals. Incantations take it a step further, changing your physiology as well as your words to create a state of total confidence
That “/leadership-impact/nlp-techniques/” from Tony Robbins’ website (for those of you who like sources). Fun Fact: In the New York Times Best Seller 'The Plant Paradox’ Dr. Steven Gundry not only cites Robbins as a client, but also calls him a God and no one bats an eye.
Once Upon a Time, when I was experiencing what I now frame as ‘existential nihilism with escape fantasy ruminations’ I ended up seeking counseling via my employer’s medical benefit program. While there exists the possibility that her advice of an affirmation practice might have benefitted me, I was already inoculated against participating in the practice via MainStream SNL (Saturday Night Live) programming in the form of Stuart Smalley.
Stuart Smalley was one of the characters from sketches that went on to exist in a film version (Stuart Saves His Family, 1995), which satirically lambasted counseling and those who practice it with embodied ridicule in the form of Stuart Smalley. Having been preprogrammed with pop-cultural comedy references to facilitate in-person superficial interactions resulted in me having a +3 to my Saving’s Throw versus Counselor Advice.
In some strange loop, making people who use an affirmation practice publicly ridiculous prevented me from implementing a practice that may have reversed some of the subtext of most regularly scheduled programming: You are insufficient without our product, brought to you by: Something Unhealthy.
Perhaps had the counselor explained to me the affect of public broadcast mind control self-selected programming, I could have been convinced of the efficacy of self-directed neurolinguistic programming. Perhaps embracing her advice with humility would have served me well.
These decades later, I ended up with perhaps an even more ridiculous affirmation practice.
Grizwald Gaius Grim