Pace (ubiquity) wrote in fix_the_world,

"Don't bother with self-work, it's futile and will only get you down"

ladydreamtime posted a link to a study concluding that introspection is harmful and will only lead to unhappiness. It's an interesting read, but I have two major beefs with it.

  1. The study they're drawing their conclusions from is about the success or failure of relationships. It may well be the case that intuition is more reliable than analytical introspection when trying to determine one's feelings about something or someone. This doesn't support the overly general conclusion that introspection is harmful.
  2. I think it's more like this.

    Yes, at first introspection and self-work just suck, and they make you unhappy. Most people give up after a few tries, because they reach the same conclusion as the cited study. But if you remain dedicated to it, you end up happier after pushing through the suckfulness. Realistically, it's a lot more bumpy, probably more like this:

    but my point remains the same.

I find it a bit depressing that the meme of "Don't bother with self-work, it's futile and will only get you down" is being spread. How sad it is that so many people actually buy into this lie! Out of fear of change, out of ignorance that change is possible, or out of misinformation that change is desirable -- regardless of the reason, it's a damn shame. I want to make as many people as possible aware of the knowledge that self-improvement is possible and can help you live a happier life. This is part of what I hope to achieve by collecting, ontologizing, and reviewing all these self-improvement resources in the hopes that others will find them useful. More and more people than ever before are conquering fear, ignorance, and misinformation. There's still a long way to go, but I'm happy to take a few small steps along the path.

EDIT: heptadecagram has some illuminating thoughts on the matter as well.
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