Everyone likes to think they have the secrets to understanding the human mind. Reading body language, analyzing a childhood anecdote, or monitoring a coworker’s sleep schedule may make you feel more knowledgeable about their mind and thought processes, but in reality it is mostly guesswork. In modern society, there are quite a number of myths abound regarding psychology and how the human mind works. Certain psychological philosophies are widely accepted and recognized for their convenient and positive affirmations, but without academic or clinical merit.
Take a look to see if you’ve fallen for any of these so-called facts.
#1: Classical Music Makes Kids Smarter
Parents who eagerly play Mozart at high volume during pregnancy or at all hours in a child’s infancy may be discouraged to learn that this long-held belief just doesn’t hold water under close scrutiny. Conceptually, it might be a nice idea to think that the music of the masters would assist a child in becoming intelligent, but common sense – and research – tell a different story.
Play Mozart for your child if you like, but the fact is, it is no more likely to make him or her brilliant than if you play Lady Gaga.
#2: Low Self-Esteem Leads to Psychological Issues
If you think highly of yourself, you will have a happy life. If you think poorly of yourself, you will end up depressed or psychologically unstable. These are common beliefs among many of us. While low self-esteem may lead to a more introverted lifestyle, it certainly does not mean a person cannot be psychologically and emotionally well adjusted. Similarly, common sense would indicate that an individual with an inflated view of himself or herself would be even more likely to have issues, as reality crashes down on their bubble of self-value.
Low self-esteem is a personality trait. Quite possibly, it may be an important issue that an individual may wish to address and overcome. However, it is not a sentence to a lifetime of psychological issues – it is simply part of being human.
#3: Homophobes Are Actually Gay
It has often been theorized that individuals with a bias against homosexuals are actually gay people who are denying their true feelings. While people who would belittle or discriminate against others based solely on their sexual preferences may well have issues of their own, it is not a precursor to actually being gay themselves.
Dismissing homophobes as gays in denial detracts from looking for the real problems that lead to hatred and prejudice.
#4: It Is Better to Let Anger Out than Hold It In
While it may be considered unhealthy to never display outward anger and only think about it privately, it is also psychologically unhealthy to lose control and “let it all out”. Forcefully expressing anger can easily start the ball rolling to even more anger, and weaken the mind’s ability to control and harness emotion. Giving in to primal screaming, yelling, or physical manifestations of anger shows will not help individuals become calmer or closer to a real solution. Letting out a yell is not going to eliminate the issue that made a person angry to begin with.
Although it may feel good to let out anger, it’s important to do it in a responsible and controlled manner, and not resort to screaming or even, violence. Quiet reflection and thought about the issues that are creating the feeling of anger may hold a lot more opportunity for ridding oneself of anger than screaming and yelling do.
#5: Opposites Attract
It has been repeatedly said, and backed up by a repetitive litany of Hollywood romantic comedies, that opposites make for the best romantic match. The belief is that the two partners balance each other’s characteristics to create a “whole” couple. The problem with this idea is that it ignores individuality and glosses over the fact that, many times, opposites find themselves feeling alone or “too different” from their significant other, due to their opposing natures.
If history and case studies have proven one thing for certain, when it comes to successful romances, it is that there is nothing for certain—there is no blueprint whatsoever. A pair of opposites is just as likely to end up in divorce court – or married for 50 years – as a pair of like-minded beings.
#6: If You Believe You Will Succeed
It seems so perfect and inspiring: having faith in yourself and your ability will help you achieve your dreams. After years of being encouraged in school and motivational television programs with the message “believe and achieve”, somehow, people began to believe that a positive state of mind and a deep belief in personal goals will magically, amazingly, bring success to their feet.
A positive frame of mind can be quite healthy, and it is certainly preferable to a pessimistic and defeatist attitude, but it is not a surefire recipe for success. The fact is, people usually believe in themselves because they have succeeded, not the other way around. If a person’s dream is to play shortstop for the New York Yankees, but this individual can’t catch a lob from five feet, then that dream is not going to be realized, no matter how much positive thinking there is. What can make a real difference is hard work and dedication, and although positive thinking can motivate a person, it still requires more than just dreams and good intentions.