Over the weekend, I took a look at The Secret (didn’t buy it, just took notes) for this essay I’m writing on positive thinking.
While some of the book seems sound, such as like attracts like – if you go around thinking everyone is out to get you, you will put out those vibes and no one will want to come near you – I’m troubled by other ideas.
The book claims this “like attracts like,” or law of attraction, can be applied to all negative events:
Often when people hear this part of the Secret [like attracts like], they recall events in history when masses of lives were lost, and they find it incomprehensible that so many people could have attracted themselves to the event. It doesn’t necessarily mean they thought of that exact event, but the frequency of their thoughts matched the frequency of the event. If people believe they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they have no control over outside circumstances, these thoughts of fear, separation, and powerlessness, if persistent, can attract them to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So, um, the Holocaust, genocide wars in Africa, apartheid in Africa, the Iraq war, the Nanjing massacre, Hiroshima, the tsunami, Katrina, 9/11 – it was all their, our, own fault for thinking wrong thoughts? Hunh? Wha? Really?
If the author had qualified her claims, saying that there are indeed events over which we as individuals have no control, such as war and natural disaster, I might be more inclined to buy these ideas.
Another thing that bugged me was that she never ascribed any actions to go along with the thoughts. For instance, to lose weight she says basically don’t think fat thoughts, think like a thin person. Think, I can eat anything I want and not gain weight! and somehow miraculously you will lose weight.
First, think like which thin person? Someone who really can eat anything she wants without exercising? Or someone like me who has to struggle a bit. I think, I can eat almost anything I want, and luckily I mostly want healthy foods, and I think, I’d better exercise today and tomorrow and the next day.
Basically what she’s saying is don’t focus on your fatness. Focus on healthy actions, like eating better and exercising.
One thing I did like was the whole think-like-the-person-you-want-to-be thing. So I’ve started to tell myself to think like a confident, attractive woman who deserves the best from whatever guy she happens to be with.
Since the whole H. breakup, I’ve had low self-esteem when it comes to dating. Despite his good qualities, he had a lot of insecurities he projected on me. Of course it takes two to tango. I believed that it was me who was too accomodating, too much of a pushover, not vocal enough, and so I totally shut down.
I want to be more myself in a relationship, not because it’s what the other person wants, but because it’s right. So it’s like I almost have to pretend to be that person, and soon pretending will become real.
This thinking might work for my job as well. Pretend to be a confident manager type. It’s about self-doubt. Self-doubt reeks.