The New York Times:
If your friend is feeling bad about himself, you might try to convince him that everything’s actually O.K. But a new study suggests this kind of reassurance doesn’t necessarily make people with low self-esteem feel better, and some say it’s further evidence against the idea that positive thinking heals all wounds.
For the study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the psychologist Denise Marigold and her co-authors examined how people with low self-esteem responded to “positive reframing” of difficult events in their lives (statements like “that’s not so bad,” or “at least you learned something”). They also looked at their responses to “negative validation” — i.e., “that really sucks,” or “you must have had a hard time dealing with that.” And they studied how friends who tried to help people with low self-esteem felt about the process.
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