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For the Skeptical: Self-Help vs. Self-Delusion

I have a love-hate relationship with self-help, having compared it to a heap of bullshit containing a few gold nuggets, but it’s important to remember — even a chunk of gold can look like a turd if it’s not cleaned up.
secret to happiness gold nugget turd
Dismissing sound advice without actually practicing it is like holding a hunk of gold and thinking it’s a turd. 
When I was at the low-point of my depression, I read a ton of self-improvement books, which contained many of these gold-nuggets-disguised-as-turds. Most of the advice was so simple that it sounded like vapid platitudes:
“Meditate… Exercise more… Make a gratitude journal… Look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘I love you.'” And so on.
It all felt so… lame.
“Really? A gratitude journal?! Should I tie my hair in pigtails and pee sitting down while I’m at it?”
Those are the honest-to-God thoughts my mind would feed me. And for a long time, I ate ’em up like candy. I liked my mind. I wanted to believe I was my mind. It wasn’t until years later that I finally realized the truth:
My mind was the source of my depression, and I needed to tell it to fuck off.
It’s a liberating feeling, telling your mind to fuck off, but it’s easier said than done. The mind stalks you like a crazy ex-lover, and unless you get a restraining order, it’s going to keep coming back.
And that’s where Dr. Lyumbomirsky’s list comes into play. Her list is like filing a restraining order against the worst parts of your mind, and you need to turn that list into an iron-clad contract.