Magic & Faith: The power of the curse in our modern lives. The nocebo (and placebo) effect.
Welcome to another episode of Wild and  Precious Conversations. This  week, I contemplate the power of the curse in our modern lives: The nocebo effect. This week, I have been contemplating the power of our words. There’s quite an industry dedicated to the idea that affirmations, positive thinking, and the like can make you rich, powerful, beautiful and healthy. Contrast that with the reality (which hit me this last week) that there is one emotion we all struggle mightily with that we use as a
Oct 29, 2020
(reading time: 2 min.)

Welcome to another episode of Wild and  Precious Conversations. This  week, I contemplate the power of the curse in our modern lives: The nocebo effect.

This week, I have been contemplating the power of our words. There’s quite an industry dedicated to the idea that affirmations, positive thinking, and the like can make you rich, powerful, beautiful and healthy.

Contrast that with the reality (which hit me this last week) that there is one emotion we all struggle mightily with that we use as a curse: Shame.

We have a fraught relationship with shame, as we do with many of our emotions. My Dad introduced me to John Bradshaw’s “Healing the Shame That Binds You” and the idea of toxic shame. More recently, Bréne Brown has taken up the conversation around how much shame can hurt us.

But obviously, sometimes shame is exactly what we should feel. If we’ve done something horrid, the appropriate feelings is shame.

What, then, is up with our weird relationship to this emotion? I believe it’s the fact that it’s the only emotion we use as a curse.

“Shame on you!” is a pretty powerful thing to say to someone. I go into more depth in the podcast on this topic, leading from shame to other ways our words can and have had a “nocebo” (“I will do harm”) effect on people. There are plenty of interesting examples.

My point being, basically, that it isn’t really “magic” but our words, thoughts, and actions do have an effect and we should choose them wisely.

We should consider whether we have the luxury of evoking negative past and future events, or whether you (like me!) don’t really have space for that in our lives. <= lots of pronouns in that sentence!


I share lots of interesting case studies in the podcast. Give it a listen and let me know what you think!


Notes:

Onward.   I have changed course a bit and we are moving into magic.

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