The other night I attended our local ‘Choices’ meeting. Choices seminars runs powerful intensive week-long personal growth & development programs for individuals, and over the years I have volunteered hundreds of hours of my time as a Coach/Facilitator to pay it forward to the current attendees. This program provided me with a large amount of value when I was a young man, and I still utilize many of the ‘tools’ to this day.
Throughout the Choices program, attendees learn a number of ‘tools’ that they can utilize in their day-day life. At our monthly meetings we share what ‘tools’ we currently utilize in our lives, and how they are working out for us.
At last nights meeting I decided to share a NLP tool that I learned awhile back. John Grinder & Richard Bandler originally created NLP, and I personally have a huge collection of Dr. Richard Bandler’s books & audio material, accumulated over the years, that I utilize regularly in my day-to-day life. I am not sure if the technique I am about to describe came directly from Dr. Bandler, or if it was created as a result of his material. Either way, the technique is called Smurfing.
Yes, Smurfing! You know, the little blue androgynous creatures that hum that unforgettable tune ‘la, la, la-la, la, la… la, la-la, la, la’. The Smurfs!
Now one of the most memorable experiences I had Smurfing someone, took place at my cousins wedding about four years back. There was a large group of our family and friends sitting at a table outside the reception area, socializing, and enjoying the fresh outdoor air. Everyone was having a great time, when this lady that nobody knew, suddenly approached our groups table and sat down. Instead of adding to the conversation positively, she chose to ‘negatively infect’ the group with complaints about her life, complaints about her boyfriend, a typical ‘Debbie Downer’ persona. Everyone else at the group could sense the ‘negative’ energy this individual was giving off, at one point my brother attempted to socialize/console this women, only to find himself regretting the decision soon after.
Sensing the annoyance and irritation of the others at the table, I decided I had to do something, I decided I would Smurf her. In my mind/imagination I painted her blue, shrunk her down to about the size of an inch or two, and began replaying the Smurf theme song inside my head. In addition to my self-created hallucination, I began hearing her voice, not in her normal tone, but instead in a high pitched Smurf-like tone. I continued this hallucination/visualization for about a minute or two and witnessed an interesting thing happen. She stood up, left our table, and did not return. Almost, as soon as she left, the energy at the table began to increase back to normal.
This is a great technique to utilize on others that bring negativity into our external environment. However, often the negativity will appear to come from our internal environment inside our own head. In Choices we refer to these as ‘tapes’. Tapes are the continual looping of negative self-talk tracks that we repeat to ourselves in a destructive self-defeating manner.
First we need to become aware of what are tapes are, and what information they present to ourselves. After we do this, we can then re-frame the tape and adjust the playback. If our tape is speaking to us, and saying something like ‘you can’t do that’, we can change the pitch of the voice into a high squeaky voice (ex: Mickey Mouse) saying ‘you can’t do that’.
Alternatively, I will sometimes slow down and soften my internal voice to sound like a sexy woman speaking things like ‘you can’t do that’, or ‘you’re bad’ whatever the internal voice is stating in my mind at the moment. Personally I find the ‘sexy woman’ voice inside my head re-frames negative information quite well.
Nowadays when I encounter an aggressive individual acting like your typical Ass Canoe, I will begin to look them in the eyes, hold their gaze, and smile/smirk as I then picture them shrinking down to the size of an inch tall Smurf. Internally I giggle a little as well.
At the end of the day remember, the reality you are experiencing is ‘your reality’, and you have the power to decide how you perceive the things you bring into it. You have the power to create your reality, and change the way you ‘see’ your environment, and those existing in it.
So the next time you find yourself becoming the target of some ones negativity, whether it is directed towards you or other people you are with… deliver a big smile, then Smurf ‘em!