Neuroplasticity (and affirmations)
Okay, the first thing I should tell you, is this entire thing happened on Facebook, so, like 100% bullshit, right? Anyway, this woman I know, we’re acquainted, not friends IRL, posted something about affirmations on her page. But, her comment said something about neuroplasticity and that affirmations don’t work. “Oh well, fuck it, I’ll do them anyway,” she concluded.
Being somewhat of an affirmer myself, I jumped in with a comment saying that I thought affirmations were powerful and effective. Again, getting in a *fight* on FB is stupid. Trying to have a conversation on FB shouldn’t be that hard. Her next comment was prickly. “Yeah, that’s about the same feedback I got on LinkedIn about this.” So, I diligently looked her up on LinkedIn, and though we were no longer connected, she was a 2nd tier connection. And in her bio, somewhere she’s gone from being a professional doodler to a life/mental/meditation coach, or something. “So…” I said, in my mind, “She’s the authority on mental stuff.” I was being sarcastic.
I popped back over to FB and added another thought. Again, not meaning to pick a fight, but some people see a fight whenever they want to. “Affirmations are part of my mindfulness practice.”
Now, I can’t remember exactly what her next comment was, but she was claiming the high authority of someone who meditates for money. It was something about my lack of understanding of mindfulness. Oh wait, the big trigger for me, was that she started her comment with this, “Sigh.”
Contempt? Disdain? Not very mindful if you ask me, which you most certainly did not. Nor did she. But, the sigh said everything I needed to know about her and our tenuous friendship. I looked at her LinkedIn profile again, recalling that I had gifted one of her books to my son this Christmas. Of course, she had no idea who I was, some yahoo just making trouble on her “neuroplasticity failure affirmation” post on Facebook.
I spooled up a really good response or two in my mind.
Then, in a moment of mindfulness, I deleted all of my comments (taking her snark with them) and let her affirmation failure post stand all by itself. No one else had liked or responded. There was nothing really to say, I suppose.
Except this. The point of affirmations is that it focuses your mind on the positive things in your life, even for a few minutes. The goal is not the change the structure of the brain, but to rest your thoughts in positive emotions. And as far as the long-term fix my “friend” was hoping for, this came from simply continuing to do affirmations. The mindfulness of the affirmation is the goal and the process and the way forward.
She wouldn’t have heard me.
Read more Short-Short Stories from John.