positive affirmations negative effects, independence chair, the palpable truth

independence chair.

The Problem with Self-Help Books: Study shows the negative side to positive self-statements

The researchers asked participants with low self-esteem and high self-esteem to repeat the self-help book phrase “I am a lovable person.” The psychologists then measured the participants’ moods and their momentary feelings about themselves. As it turned out, the individuals with low self-esteem felt worse after repeating the positive self-statement compared to another low self-esteem group who did not repeat the self-statement. The individuals with high self-esteem felt better after repeating the positive self-statement–but only slightly.

In a follow-up study, the psychologists allowed the participants to list negative self-thoughts along with positive self-thoughts. They found that, paradoxically, low self-esteem participants’ moods fared better when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts.

The psychologists suggested that, like overly positive praise, unreasonably positive self-statements, such as “I accept myself completely,” can provoke contradictory thoughts in individuals with low self-esteem. Such negative thoughts can overwhelm the positive thoughts. And, if people are instructed to focus exclusively on positive thoughts, they may find negative thoughts to be especially discouraging.

The recent post I did about the pacebo effect came to mind as I read this article. Wouldn’t some people, maybe a slight majority deceive themselves into feeling about about better themselves or their situation with repeated positive affirmations ( many Sunday services and prayer group meetings, at least part of the time, consist of positive affirmations, so we’ve had self-help in one form or another for centuries). Maybe the self-help placebo effect would only work if the positive encouragements were external. Coming from someone the individual perceived as some kind of authority on psychology.It occurred to me that we’ve had self help via TV for decades. If self-esteem issues, whether too low or too conceited, could be solved by way of the media we’d be the most well adjusted happy people on the planet. The occasional negative thought about oneself might not be the worse thing in the world; if it makes you the kind of person that feels conflicted because you’re trying to think these bright shiny thoughts, but something genuinely awful just happened.

lincoln brand oranges depression era (1930s) graphic art for a company logo.

May (July 4) be to the world, what I believe it will be — to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all — the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form (of government) which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them. – from a note that Thomas Jefferson wrote to be read at a 4th of July celebration in Washington, D.C. His deteriorating health would not permit him to attend.

FACT CHECK: The Right-Wing Smear Campaign Against Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools

The Family Research Council (FRC) CLAIM: “Jennings’ and GLSEN’s concept of ’safe schools’ means special protections for privileged groups (especially homosexuals), rather than safety for all.”

FACT: As the gay son of a Southern baptist preacher, Jennings had a “childhood of prejudice, taunts, and harassment.” As an education leader, he has used those experiences to promote tolerance and anti-bullying measures in schools nationwide.

FRC might or might not have read Jefferson’s statement. Where it says opinion, it would be pretentious among other things, to substitute gross distortions and lies as being the same as freedom of opinion. Falsehoods are generally resorted to when one cannot win a war of ideas based on the truth.

Advertisements