8 Popular Self-Help Recommendations That Do More Harm Than Good

self-help recommendations

Let’s stop kidding ourselves, some of these self-help tips just make life more difficult. There’s too much pressure to be positive.

I’m probably about to make more than a few of you angry at me, and the rest of you might just stand and applaud. None-the-less, I am about to tear a hole in the proverbial good guy and make the anti-hero seem like the logical one.

In this day and age, we need more understanding and fewer self-help gurus that make everything look easy.

WARNING

I’m going to go ahead and post a trigger warning right here so you know I’m about to destroy all your preconceived notions of getting things done. Not everything you’ve been taught from your positive peers and self-help manuals is actually good for you.

I am about to bust out of traditional feel good routines and show you how to really get past the crap that builds up in your life. So, put on your seat belts and take your “please don’t offend me” medications. It might get rough.

I present to you popular self-help strategies that aren’t that great.

A self-help tip, strategy or piece of advice is usually a positive statement or direction. This advice, I will admit, is given with the best intentions. Unfortunately, these little tips cause more negative effects in the long run.

Venting

So, I think this was my hardest thing to understand. I was always told to talk to people about my problems in order to get better, feel better or find a solution. The consensus is to share to release the negativity, to heal oneself, right.

Well, this is not always the best thing to do. In fact, venting can cause more damage than it helps. And of course, there is a difference in venting and getting in touch with your emotions, after all. To say we shouldn’t share out true feelings is false, but to go about complaining about everything is simply annoying and bad for your health.

Diets

I get disgusted hearing people talk about going on diets. It makes me want to eat more and not worry about it. This suggestion has caused many people to stop trying, those that otherwise desire to get back into shape, or their ideal condition, that is.

First of all, no one should be told to improve their appearance, but if they choose to, then telling them to go on a diet is not the solution. Diets don’t work. I remember writing an article about this topic back in 2008. Guess what, I still think diets don’t work.

Diets are simply fads, like wearing the newest fashion for a while before changing your look once more. It’s a phase and it will pass because diets are not designed to help you but designed to market products. Instead of dieting to make a change, just gradually change your lifestyle, transforming yourself over time for a more permanent solution.

Positive thinking

I have had it with those people who always squawk about being positive. I mean, every time you try to discuss something bad that happened or could happen, they are quick to say, “Don’t be so negative.” But what if being negative was the best way to approach the topic?

In some cultures, purposely thinking of negative scenarios helps anxiety sufferers face their fears. And guess what? They were successful too! Where all this positive reinforcement used to be the way to go, the road is now paved with negative thoughts, not random worrying mind you, but realistic ruminations that just might change your life for the better. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

Faith

I’m about to step on some toes and make the choir drop their song books. But people, this is why we get curious about church, temple or synagogue, but we cannot make ourselves step through the door! We just don’t have enough faith for you! Not only do we lack the faith, but we are reprimanded because we’re just not strong enough to blindly believe. If you’re trying to get us through the doors, we’re backing away by the minute. Some of us are running away.

And not all of us want to attend service/mass… whatever, but all of us want to feel like whole human beings. I think hearing that we have no faith means that we shouldn’t try because no matter what we do, without faith, we are doomed to failure.

The truth is, it’s okay to have weak faith, it’s okay to doubt because, in today’s world, we cannot be sure. People keep kicking us when we’re down and it’s hard to believe they won’t do it again. It’s even unhealthy to have faith like this. Give us a break. Let us just be normal human beings that don’t know for sure!

Invincibility

I bet you’ve heard this saying millions of times, “you can do anything you put your mind to.” If you haven’t heard it before, you just did, and doesn’t it sound corny? Well, that statement is cute and all, but it irritates me to no end, and I will tell you why.

Telling someone that they can do anything is a lie, plain and simple. I know, as humans, we are capable of great things, and we may not be aware of some abilities. We could be great scholars and scientists if we went to school to study these things and really put forth the huge effort, but then again, maybe we can’t do this at all.

Not everyone is capable of doing the exact same thing as someone else. We have natural talents and we also have various weaknesses. I think it’s a bad idea to tell us we can conquer the world when maybe our destiny is only to get our butts up in the morning and get to our job at the supermarket. Think about it, somebody is needed in all walks of life, so leave them alone. Let them do what they feel that they can.

Ignoring problems

“If your stomach hurts, just ignore it. The pain will go away if you don’t think about it.” That statement makes me furious and honestly, I wish they would shut up with their self-help mumbo jumbo. If I am in pain, I want it to go away, NOW!

There is no sense in seeing someone hurting and telling them to think about something else or tell them that it’s all in their minds. This kind of thinking is present in mental health situations and it’s what has caused much of the stigma involved in that area as well.

Oh, if we can only stop thinking about depression, it will go away, right? Wrong, in fact, ignoring a problem will even make it get worse.

Leave your comfort zone

You knew this one was coming. I talked about this extensively in a previous post It’s Okay If You Don’t Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and received mixed reactions. Listen, leaving the comfort zone may work for some people, but for others, it’s terrifying and can even make them want to give up. Sometimes there is just too much stimulation out there for us to leave our little nests.

And we are familiar with everything that goes on in our comfort zones – we have reliable friends, comfortable nooks to spend our down time and our own little ways of doing things. You may want to travel the world to satisfy your desires, and that’s perfectly fine, but we may want to relax in our little shells and read a good book. To each his own, that’s what I say.

Change

Last, of all, I want to discuss change. As you know, society is always advocating change as a way to transform your life. But what if change was exactly what turns you into something that you’re not and causes you to be miserable? If you are a person who truly likes themselves, then changing things could be the wrong way to go.

The only time that change is good is when you choose to make the change for better concerning healthy choices, ditching addictions and removing bad influences and toxic individuals. Never should change be something suggested or forced in order to “make you a better person”. Becoming the best you can be will be up to you, and only possible with your choices – if you change or not.

The rides over, guess you survived…now get out!

Look, I speak roughly to you because I care. I see so many people trying hard to force these “positive” standards upon their lives. It grieves me to see others in places where I used to be, always striving to keep a positive attitude, faking the smile and reading every self-help book on the shelf.

I might not candy coat my words, but you can rest assured that I will give you the best advice that I know how. So stop listening to everyone else’s opinion on your life, and start living it as your own. If you need to get mad, get furious if you need to sleep in, take the day off, and if you feel like you need to cry, then get up in your comfort zone and let it all out.

This is what matters, this is real. You do what you need to do in order to be happy with yourself. And if it takes being negative for a while, then that’s okay too!

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Sherrie

Sherrie

Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.





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6 Comments

  1. Don May 27, 2017 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    There is much I agree with here. The flood of upbeat answers to everything do little to actually help people in more opinions than just mine. There is a book out that takes a somewhat similar view you described called “The Last Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need” by Paul Pearsall. It is a completely different approach, well written, and worth considering.

    • Sherrie
      Sherrie May 30, 2017 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      I believe the biggest issue I have with “positive thinking miracle cures” is that they are not Miracle cures at all, quite the opposite, I am afraid. During my life, I have encountered so many people who were experts on giving advice, but with no intention of helping me reach the goals, they said I could attain. It’s as if they dropped a few lines and walked away. Some people stick around to help us reach those positive goals and even offer motivation, which is okay, but most people just love to assert an opinion and leave the rest to us. Self-help tips, in my opinion, are just a way of saying, “Hey, do what I did! See, how thinking positive has helped me?”

      Anyway, I believe there is a middle ground here, where a truly positive energy meets the stability of human logic. Let’s find that place.

  2. Mike McClement May 28, 2017 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Thank you for this. Completely disagree I’m afraid. You’ll never move on if you treat life like this. Thanks for the different perspective though.

    • Sherrie
      Sherrie May 30, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      You are welcome. I always love hearing a different opinion, it adds perspective to everything.

  3. Tanya Vaughn June 7, 2017 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    I find that I can take certain things that help when I read a self help item. Not all of them work for me, but some things do. I feel to read positive just helps me daily anyway. I am currently reading Activate Your Untapped Potential by Marco LeRoc. Does it cover all aspects for me? No, but I have found great things that have changed my habits and thoughts and to me that is where I find I can get the most from it.

    • Sherrie
      Sherrie August 1, 2017 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Tanya,

      I agree. Some things help so much, while other things just leave me feeling empty. I believe your spirit will tell you when something works. You will just have an overwhelming urge to try something new. Other times, it will feel forced. Never do it when it’s forced.

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8 Popular Self-Help Recommendations That Do More Harm Than Good