Top 3 Self-Help Myths

Most of the self-help premises out there are actually sound and solid principles to live by. But what happens if we take them solely at face value as concrete and absolute truths? For starters, even the best self-help teachings may be too simplistic to manage complex problems. And in fact, in some cases we can end up just becoming more miserable.

Here are the three major concepts taught in most self-help programs that are actually adding to your struggle and increasing your frustration.

Be In The Now

Eckhart Tolle teaches it. The Buddhists teach it. Stay in the now… Be in the now… Well when you are 100% fully present in the now, of course there are no problems because your point of power and focus is completely in the now. The problem with that is that it goes against the way our brains work. Staying in the now 24×7 is difficult as well it should be, because that is not how our brains function. Being present as much as possible is a good thing but to strive to continually stay in that state cuts you off from the rest of life.

Just Think Positive

Every day you are working with your emotions and that means all emotions, the full range. You just can’t always be positive. You are going to have contrasts that are going to come up. And in those contrasts it’s going to tell you what you don’t want so then you can focus on what it is that you do want. But in every single minute of every single day you cannot be thinking positively all of the time. If you are thinking positively and you are staying positive 24×7, seven days a week, you are not dealing with your emotions. If one is always joyful, one might miss noticing things that are wrong.

If you are driving down the road and your gas gauge goes to empty, you just can’t put a smiley sticker over it and leave it be. You are going to run out of gas. Hopefully you can pull over and fill up. It is the same with our emotions, whether they are positive or negative, they are our gauge. And you just can’t be thinking positively all the time. It’s a great goal but is it realistic all the time? No. Pay attention to what your emotions are telling you, release those emotions and that will get you back to your natural state where things flow naturally for you.

There Are Negative Emotions

All emotions are positive. All emotions are there to guide us in some way. So they really are all positive. Whatever we are feeling is absolutely perfect and as it should be. Every emotion, belief, and feeling in fact has a message for us and is always in our best interest. All emotions serve important functions. The emotions that are viewed as “negative” basically show us there is something we don’t know and can’t deal with. If that becomes motivation to then learn and deal with it, that can be very useful.

It is always preferred to be in the present, but to completely try to live in the present cuts us off from our pasts and futures, and blinds us in a sense.

It is always desired to have positive or better feeling thoughts, and to look at the glass as half full. But you cannot think positively 24×7 and put reality at peril. For example no matter how positive the thoughts the captain of the Titanic might have had, that ship was going down, regardless.

Honor your emotions and feelings as they are. Do not try to box them into some linear scale of good or bad, positive or negative. Even when considering the emotional guidance system as it is described by the Law of Attraction, emotions are solely viewed at set points and the goal is always to move to the next one… not that the previous one was bad or the next one is better.

Studying self-help principles, philosophies, and teachings are a great way to nurture growth and awareness in one’s life. Just don’t forget to use some common sense and reason when you apply what you learn.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado


  1. […] addition to the Top 3 Self-Help Myths there is another self-help or motivational myth that I would like to debunk and that is the one […]

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