Lies We Tell Ourselves #2 – You Can Have It All

Cover“Decide what you want .. believe you can have it, believe you deserve it, believe it’s possible for you Thoughts are magnetic, and thoughts have a frequency. As you think, those thoughts are sent out into the Universe, and they magnetically attract all like things that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to its source. And that source is You”.The Secret

Seriously? Do you really believe that if you want something bad enough that the universe will realign itself to make that happen for you. Really?

Life is not a beer commercial, you can’t have it all. You can wish all you want but your cancer may not disappear. No amount of ‘visioning’ will bring your deadbeat dad back home. Reading the Secret over and over will never force your spouse to love you. It just isn’t reality. The reason philosophies like “The Secret” are so prevalent is because they sound great. Who doesn’t want their wildest dreams to come true?”

I remember growing up around Christians who believed that God will give us whatever we want if we had enough faith. While it sounded great in theory it did not wash in reality. I have met many people who have believed this ridiculous philosophy who have been left feeling insecure, guilt-ridden and insecure. Why didn’t God answer their prayers? Weren’t they spiritual enough? Maybe they didn’t try hard enough, or had some hidden sin in their life, or weren’t working the formula correctly. Whatever the reason it must have been their fault.

Every day we hear on commercials, in self-help books, in songs and movies that we can everything in life we ever dreamed of if we will have the right ‘go for it’ attitude. And it’s a lie. As I mentioned in an earlier post the world is not fair and there is no guarantee that you will be rich, happy, and famous. Sometimes good things do happen to bad people. Sometimes the best of us suffer the most. As Oscar Wilde said, “no good dead goes unpunished”.

It’s easy to look around and see others who seem to have it all. It can make us salivate, covet and dream. It is also easy to define our value and success by what we have or what we do. Culture has an obsession with performance, an obsession with success. As much as we hate to admit it we have tied our concept of success with material success and notoriety.

The Secret attempts to combine Christianity, quantum physics, and more in an effort to convince readers that our minds are some sort of universal force governed by frequencies and wavelengths and so on. This is bullshit of the highest order.  Where is the evidence? Where is the reality?

Everything that happens to us is a result of our thinking? Really. Six million Jews? Tsunami victims? What, they’re all collectively wishing the ocean would wash them away? If you can buy into a philosophy that says six million Jews were killed because on some level they willed it, The Secret may be for you.

Don’t get me wrong: the psychological ideas at the heart of The Secret are excellent. I firmly believe that there is true power in positive thinking. Believing in yourself is a great way to develop confidence. But The Secret promises too much; it goes too far in declaring that the Universe will grant all of your desires if you simply wish hard enough.

In the real world we cannot have it all and to believe this lie only bringing heartache, disappointment, and bitterness.

I love the second half of the Serenity Prayer where it says,
“Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life.

Reasonable happy. I like that. Real change doesn’t come from some flavour of the month book title it comes from within, from you. You have the ability to change your life today, talk to someone who can help.

10 thoughts on “Lies We Tell Ourselves #2 – You Can Have It All

  1. I think the author of The Secret knew that there are so many people out there who will grasp onto anything for a glimpse of hope, and sometimes it is tempting to want to believe you can think yourself into some sort of success. I know a few people who are hard core wishers, and I’d like them to read this. I have never heard the second half of the Serenity prayer, but I love it and will post it at home, it is perfect.

  2. I started reading this book out of curiosity because of all the hype in the media a few years ago and quite frankly it made me angry. Instead of promoting the benefits of positive thinking and its effect on human behaviour, it blew the whole idea up and made it into the gigantic and ridiculous power of magical thinking. The authors supported their theories with the help of a few successful individuals whose function was to convince the readers of the theory’s validity. After all, we all desire what they have… The truth is that these people came into wealth and power because of hard work, high self- esteem and self-efficacy, knowledge, capacities, determination, ambition,luck,a good net -work and not through wishful thinking and passively waiting on the universe to deliver. The message in the book encourages magical thinking, passivity, blind faith and undermines the importance of self-growth,overcoming struggles and actively perusing and investing in your dreams. In a way, I think that it also devalues the success and achievements of these individuals , as it seems that it was not achieved by their own abilities and hard work, but the universe gave it to them. Thinking about something hard enough does not in reality bring results. It is the choice of action, hard work together with a strong positive belief that might, because even then there are no guarantees, bring the desired results in the long term. In theory in might be nice to think that faith and wishes alone will make things come true, we all love a good fairy tale, but the reality is hard and difficult for most of us. In fact things don’t work that way, otherwise we will all be very wealthy, powerful, successful, highly intelligent individuals with a model’s body, right?

    1. ok, I’m pretty sure you said this better than I could have in the article. It’s interested how much more ‘sexy’ magical thinking sounds than hard work over an extended period of time.
      thanks, awesome input.

  3. I have yet to pick up a copy of the Secret, honestly it hasn’t rattled my interest and now after reading your post (love it) I probably wont bother. I find most self-help books somewhat useless. Have you ever heard George Carlin’s take on self-help books. I find him extremely entertaining – maybe too much swearing – but indeed very funny.

    Hey and thanks for visiting my recent post. Glad I found your blog – where are you located?

  4. Though I feel your article is slightly biased I do agree with a few point you make. I’m not a blind follower of the ideas presented in “The Secret” but I think this book’s role in opening people’s eyes to possibilities laying ahead of them is enormous. The idea is very similar to many older philosophies and common science is on the path to validate it too. I think your strong opposition comes from the fact that you – in my humble opinion – misunderstand what these teachings are really about. I’ve never heard or read anyone claiming that mass tragedies such as The Holocaust or Tsunamis are direct results of people deliberately “wanting” this to happen to them. Please point me to the places where you read or heard such a claim. Where mass operation is discussed is only in relation to healing and thus relates to things (good things) wished on other people not masses of people wishing something on themselves. The “everything that happens to us is a result of our thinking” is a radical exaggeration of a practical teaching that is as old as humanity itself, namely: ” Your thoughts influence your reality.” This is a mantra that is in fact told to every single sportsman on Earth while training. This isn’t merely positive thinking. I can think positively about my chances of winning a race but unless I can truly imagine myself winning it (thus having faith in myself and my abilities and in God if I happen to be religious) I cannot win.
    I respect your argument that this alone isn’t enough. Unless people are ready to make meaningful changes by taking action in the right direction knowing that they may never succeed and accepting that life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, real healing cannot happen. I also feel that some people took the book’s ideas a bit too far, sometimes even misinterpret it but we shouldn’t throw the whole idea out just because some people misunderstands it. I do understand however that your aim is to help people with their daily struggle and you have a right to your opinion on it but I just feel you’re opposing to some people’s false interpretation of it rather than the actual idea.

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