I once succumbed to an online shopping network’s excellent marketing. Even in the middle of the night, I would awaken wondering what the current specially-priced item was. I bought stuff I neither needed nor really wanted. The deals seemed irresistible. My wake-up call arrived with the maxed-out credit card bill. When I came to myself, I promptly returned all the stuff and counted the experience as an important lesson in what happens when we allow ourselves to be influenced erroneously.
Rigorous marketing isn’t limited to consumer messages. There is a subtler and more aggressive form that goes on in thought, and it can attack one’s health. Fear and discouragement act as relentless marketing agents for disease. Fear opens the mental door to the possibilities of disease, selling vulnerability through a catalog that vividly images stress, heredity, weakness, or whatever it would take to convince us that we must have the disease of the day.
Once fear has its say, discouragement wedges in to ensure that the mental door stays open, at least a crack, so that fear can come back for follow-up high-pressure pitches. Discouragement’s tactic is to make a low-grade, constant pitch for all that is negative. Discouragement often slips in quietly, unnoticed; but once it is there, its presence is felt. As a backup singer in the disease marketing duo, discouragement repeats the chorus, “What fear says, what fear says, you’ll never get away from what fear says.”
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