Nowadays, more and more people all over the world are looking for advice on how to live a more productive and happier life. Such information is readily available on the internet, TV, radio, magazines and books. As a result of the great demand, self-help has grown to become a billion dollar industry. However, some of the popular advice offered by the so-called experts is not helpful or even true. Here are some of the most common self-help myths you need to look out for:
1. The best way to deal with anger is by venting
Many ‘self-help’ experts will advise you to punch a pillow or punching bag when angry. If you are angry at someone, imagine their face on the object as you punch it. Others will recommend going somewhere and yelling as loudly as possible. However, recent research has shown that venting anger might actually not reduce, it, but fan it instead. When this method does not work, you might end up getting even more frustrated and angry. A better approach would be to do something that is contrary to aggression and anger. This could be listening to music, spending time with a friend or watching a funny movie. With time, your anger will subside thus, allowing you to deal with the situation in a better way.
2. Think positively by suppressing negative thoughts
According to this myth, the best way of dealing with negative thoughts is by suppressing them with positive ones. Instead of focusing on your failures and unpleasant circumstances, take charge of your mind and direct it to more positive images. However, suppressing negative thoughts does not make them go away. In fact, you might find yourself getting more miserable than happier. Therefore, instead of trying to avoid them, address your negative thoughts and move on. It would be advisable to find a relative, friend, therapist or clergy with whom you can share your problems.
3. Visualize your goal and it will come true
This is one of the most common myths being peddled by self-help experts. It says that if you visualize what you want vividly and long enough, success will eventually come. However, merely envisaging that you have attained a dream will not bring it any closer. All you will experience is the feeling of success without having actually achieved anything. This could make you relaxed and unwilling to work towards what you are visualizing. Therefore, instead of simply daydreaming, you should think of specific steps you can take towards achieving your goals.
4. Self affirmations are an antidote for low self-esteem
This myth says that the cure for low self-esteem is repeating or listening to affirmations over and over. However, this technique by itself is not very helpful. Self-esteem is the sum total of your interactions with others. How you feel about yourself will be influenced greatly by the opinions that friends, spouses, siblings, parents, teachers and workmates have of us. Therefore, if you are always receiving negative feedback from someone, you might need to walk away from that relationship or change how you are treated by being assertive.
5. The more self-help books you read, the more your life will improve
Many people often read self-help books, watch videos and attend conferences hoping that their lives will improve. However, many end up disappointed when they don’t see any real change in their lives after acquiring so much information. What you need to realize is that a book, video or conference cannot make changes in your life. It is your responsibility to implement what you learn.
What other self-help myths are you aware of? Please share with us in the comments section below.