The Real Secret is a different kind of self help. We debunk the empty promises of so many books and DVDs and bring you a simple, sensible approach to real life fulfillment. We don't believe you can achieve happiness, or anything else, by simply wishing for, thinking about or visualising it. Our book - and this blog - takes only the best of what really works and turns it into a positive, practical 12-step programme that will enable you to take control of your life and raise your happiness levels.

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The Real Secret is simple, sensible, scientifically supported self help
by Lucy McCarraher & Annabel Shaw


Affirmations For Self Esteem - Happiness Habit No. 5

Do you have opinions and beliefs about yourself and the world in general that you consider to be “fact” and set in stone?

Well, think again.

Our core attitudes and values are simply learned thought patterns that we have developed since childhood. Thoughts are neurological pathways in our brain and the more frequently we think them, the deeper we cut the pathways. “Right” or “wrong” is an inappropriate way to assess them. It is more the case that, while many of our thought patterns continue to work well for us, others are working against us because we ourselves, our conditions or environment, have changed. They are dysfunctional and sabotage our ability to be happy and achieve what we want.

"We all have mental habits, and once they are set, they are as hard
to break as stopping smoking or biting your fingernails.”
Frank Pajares, Educational Psychologist

Throughout your lifetime, other people – and you yourself – have fed you negative messages about yourself, sometimes in words, other times by implication; sometimes on purpose, other times by accident. The most destructive of these are the ones that have been reinforced by repetition of someone else’s opinion, by circumstances that seem to validate this view of you, through negative comparisons to other people or your own continual acceptance of these limiting beliefs.

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with the hand-break on”
Maxwell Maltz, writer (1899-1975)

These negative views of yourself affect your ability to be happy, to enjoy life and be at ease with yourself, even when you’re not consciously aware of holding them. They transmit themselves to other people via your body language, your turn of phrase, your attitude and your whole approach to life; they hold you back from enjoying good experiences, strong relationships and positive developments.

Would you purposely let a child of yours constantly hear yours or others’ negative thoughts about them? Hopefully not, because you wouldn’t want these ideas to enter their belief system, leading them to internalise a poor self-image. But, consciously or unconsciously, you are repeating these harmful messages back to your own mind. After all, whose ears are the first to hear the words you speak or even think?

Exactly – yours.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
Maya Angelou, writer

Research into self-efficacy and resilience demonstrates that it is never too late to recover from low self esteem. One key is to avoid self-defeating assumptions. If you lose a job or a partner leaves you, it is important not to internalise the rejection and assume you’ll never be employed or loved again. Don’t allow one rejection to derail your dreams. Negative self-perception also leads to fear of humiliation. You won’t achieve a fully happy life if you can never take risks or always avoid challenges because you are afraid of making mistakes.

Every thought you think, and every word you say is an affirmation. Your inner dialogue is a stream of affirmations which provide the framework of how you experience your life at every moment. In The Real Secret's Step Two we show you how to take any misguided, negative perceptions of yourself, expose them to the light of day and see them for the unhelpful thought patterns they are. Then  replace them with positive, constructive and self-nurturing messages that will bolster your confidence and speed the journey to happiness.

Happiness Habit 5, "Yes I Can!", in the Happiness Habits Experiment - asks participants to replace up to four negative self-perceptions with positive affirmations and repeat those daily for three weeks. This Happiness Habit has proved to be the second least popular, with only half as many people signing up to do it as for the two most popular, "Simply Smile" and "Three Good Things". It will be interesting to see, though, which of the Happiness Habits has has had the greatest effects on people's happiness levels when we get the surveys back in and analysed.

There's more about taking control of your life, defeating negative beliefs and low self esteem in The Real Secret which is available in paperback and Kindle on and
Post by Lucy

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