What is the difference between self help and spirituality?

What is the difference between self help and spirituality? Do we know? Realize they are actually the opposite directions? Is the Western spiritual world just another form of self absorption or actually spiritual?


Stuart Smalley is a fictional character invented and performed by satirist, and later United States Senator Al Franken. The character originated on the television show Saturday Night Live in a mock self help show called “Daily Affirmation With Stuart Smalley.” It first aired on SNL’s February 9, 1991. Franken has stated that him going to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings inspired the character Stuart Smalley.

Within the context of the show, Stuart is quick to point out that he is not a licensed therapist but relies instead upon the credibility of his own experiences as a non professional. His guests are very often celebrities, however Smalley is seemingly unaware of his guests’ fame as he never uses their full names so as to “protect (their) anonymity.”

An audiobook was also released, You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You. The content of this audio book was completely different from the printed one, but followed through on the same gag. The tapes played guided visualizations meant to help the listener relax and focus; however, Stuart makes a vow at the beginning not to make any edits or corrections in the recording process because “I’m a perfectionist and if I start making changes, I’ll never stop.” As such it is full of humorous errors, including one gag in which Stuart tells his listeners who are driving to work to “close their eyes and envision…” something. (As such, there is a warning label on the box that says, “Do not listen while driving,” a joke that doesn’t make sense until one has actually listened to the tape.)

There were several catch phrases made from the show:

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

“That’s just stinkin’ thinkin!”

“You’re should-ing all over yourself.”

“I am a worthy human being.”

“…and that’s…okay.”

“Trace it, face it, and erase it.”

“I don’t know what I’m doing. They’re gonna cancel the show. I’m gonna die homeless and penniless and twenty pounds overweight and no one will ever love me.”

“I’m in a shame spiral.”

“You’re only as sick as your secrets.”

“Compare and despair.”

“You need a checkup from the neckup.”

“I am a human being, not a human doing.”

The catch phrases, the lack of credibility except for a membership card that proves you were at a training that also paid the same membership company to be a certified training by them, the affirmations, is any of it actually spiritual? or just pure self centered/self absorption?


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