The author Joanna Scutts dedicates a chapter of her book, The Extra Woman, to America’s self-help book phenomenon.
I found this really interesting because I have been an avid buyer in the self-help section. It’s said that most of these books are best sold during times of war, natural disaster and depressions in our economy.
Everything from Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People to Hill’s Think and Grow Rich was written in times where the United States was suffering from large unemployment rates. Every self-help book (including those listed) that I’ve read have put light on thinking positive and watching how it creates a domino effect into more positive things happening. I do believe if we focus on the positive, the more positive things will seem. But also, in hindsight, if you’re being oppressed how much can positive thinking do for you?
My generation seems to be a bit pretentious and somewhat patronizing when we rage about thinking positive. Anyone who is negative or posts… let’s say… real life things on social media is outcasted. It’s as if you are weak for being distracted by external events. More recently, I lost an old friend to a suicide. I remember having many talks with her and at one point telling her she was always so negative, she later thanked me and told me that helped her change. It clearly did not. And I’m somewhat haunted that I even told her that. (But I didn’t know better!)
Although, it’s best that we do put time into wanting to improve and be the best people… I think what we forget is that the self-help book industry is an industry. Meaning people write these things to make change. (Change=$$$).
We must not neglect the fact that we are humans with emotions. Calling someone out for thinking negatively is helpful to a certain extent…but does it really help? Could one read a self-help book about thinking positively when they are starved from nutrients? From war? From deep human misery?
I don’t know. A friend of mine that believes we should avoid the unhappy has advised me to do the same … and when I mentioned preventing a suicide. He said that there isn’t much we can do for those fighting their own demons. I agreed, but what if we had the same demons? What if I fought mine off and you were still fighting yours? Is it best to avoid you still?
I don’t really have an opinion on what is right or wrong. I’m just mildly fascinated by the fact that we’ve turned negative thinking into an std. Even in the midst of bullying I was called negative. A gang of girls began hash-tagging “positive vibes only” as a way to shun me as the negative one. (In hindsight, isn’t bullying negative vibes? Lol!)
I don’t know. What I do know is that this world can be a very hard place to live in…especially when you don’t have the means or the love. Maybe, in addition to pointing out negative habits… we can just relate and give love. It doesn’t seem right to base the knowledge of our universe in books written by authors who are just trying to make a buck. Right?