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for all of my adult life, i have been skeptical about “self-help stuff”, especially the kind peddled by Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. why? because it simply doesn’t work. and it turns out i am right.

“There are other researchers who question the validity and utility of self-affirmations. Canadian researcher, Dr. Joanne Wood at the University of Waterloo and her colleagues at the University of New Brunswick who have recently published their research in the Journal of Psychological Science, concluded “repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, such as individuals with high self-esteem, but backfire for the very people who need them the most.”

The researchers asked people with and low self-esteem to say “I am a lovable person.” They then measured the participants’ moods and their feelings about themselves. The low-esteem group felt worse afterwards compared with others who did not. However, people with high self-esteem felt better after repeating the positive affirmation–but only slightly. The psychologists then asked the participants to list negative and positive thoughts about themselves. They found, paradoxically, those with low self-esteem were in a better mood when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts.

The researchers suggest that, like overly positive praise, unreasonably positive self-statements, such as “I accept myself completely” can provoke contradictory thoughts in individuals in individuals with low self-esteem. When positive self-statements strongly conflict with self-perception, the researchers argue, there is not mere resistance but a reinforcing of self-perception. People who view themselves as unlovable, for example, find that saying that when they don’t really believe it, strengthens their own negative view rather than reversing it.

These findings were supported by previous research published in 1994 in the Journal of Social Psychology, showing that when people get feedback that they believe is overly positive, they actually feel worse, not better.

Dr. Wood goes even further. In her Psychology Today blog, she says that most self-help books advocating positive affirmations may be based on good intentions or personal experience, but they are rarely based on even one iota of scientific evidence. She cites psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness as an exception.” (from Psychology Today)

the reason it doesn’t work is because the mind is not easily fooled. really. unless of course one already has high self-esteem – in which case one does not need to use positive affirmations.

so guys like eckhart tolle and deepack chopra are simple, vile liars, peddling their expensive shit to people who don’t know it doesn’t help and who will keep having low self-esteem, because what they are told will help, doesn’t help THEM – i.e they are so flawed that they are beyond help (and poor to boot), with a whole lot of useless books.