By Brianna Wiest

Striking a balance is the key to everything: anything out of moderation can become a problem, even positive psychology. Similar to how the people who dismiss self-help practices are usually the same people who most need them, the people who aren’t ready to fully address their issues use “positivity” to shield their old habits. Here, 5 common ways they do it: 

1. Rather than depend on intuition to guide them, they try to feel out whether or not something is “meant to be” before they try. 

If you can determine whether or not something is “meant to be,” you reduce if not eliminate the chances of you getting hurt by it failing. It seems to make sense, but in reality, it’s the equivalent of using your intuition like a Magic 8 ball. What’s meant to be is what is. Everything else is speculation. What’s meant to be is what you do. Not what you “predict” and then act on.

2. They justify judging other people because what they’re judging them for is how they’re being a detriment to their own lives, and they “care.” 

Even if you’re completely right about what you’re judging someone for, you’re still wrong. (The irony of judging people for judging is not past me, by the way.) The point is: whether they’re right or they’re not, whether they’re completely screwing up their lives or they’re not, it’s not your job to police anybody by condemning a decision. In doing so, you’re masking a desire to feel superior behind wanting to seem like you’re interested in their well-being. If you truly were, you’d help them directly and genuinely, or you’d let them figure it out themselves.

3. They build self-esteem by creating solutions to symptoms, not problems.

If you struggle profoundly with body image, the solution is not to change your body. The solution is to address what it is in your life you feel you can’t control, or what traumatic experience you’ve let go unaddressed, or the ways in which you’re very unhappy with your life but feel helpless to change it. This is just an example, but ultimately, the point is: creating solutions to symptoms doesn’t solve the problem, even when the solution seems positive.

4. They learn to “love themselves” without realizing that the point is to “love yourself first.” 

Nobody is preaching just to love yourself and nobody else, but almost everybody is talking about how you can’t carry anyone when your own gas tank is empty. You cannot give what you do not have. You can’t connect with people if you aren’t connected to yourself. You won’t be able to teach until you know, or change others until you’ve changed yourself and lead by example. The point is that “love yourself” means to give yourself happiness and love first, so you can genuinely share it with those around you.

5. They use introspection as a means of deflection. 

The first and most important piece of advice in the self-help book is always to take a cold, hard look at your life. It’s to be mindful, conscious and self-aware. These things are crucial, but become destructive when you choose to think more than you act, or overthink as a means of avoiding action. It’s about being introspective so you can behave differently, not just so you can get stuck in a different thought pattern.

Image: Anthony Delanoix


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