“Self -love”, “inner peace” … Words with magical power?

“The bestseller that changed the lives of over 200,000 readers”. To lean Self -love: the exercise book to finally accept yourself!, is to resort in a way that has already proven itself. In any case, this is what the flag that adorns the book says. Released in February, it is the adaptation of a U.S. marketing success, by Megan Logan, an American therapist who “specializes in the care of trauma, abuse, eating disorders and grief”, explained in the press release.

There are no more protocols for the method tested last month. Here the author offers a series of exercises to do in writing to “free ourselves from our doubts” and “love who we are”. A playful approach? It has to communicate to the sudoku fan, quizzes and personality tests that I am (like most of us, right?).

However, from the first pages of the book, one detail appeals to me: a sense of deja-vu or, rather, of “already read”. “Self -love”, “gratitude”, “kindness”, “kindness”, “compassion” … There are so many legion terms in the personal development sector.

I quickly realized during my reading that my mind was caught up in this whirlwind of kind words with a delicious marshmallow, which appeared and returned in a loop of chapters. Magic terms that act like spellings? I asked Laurence Brunet-Hunault, professor of linguistics and semiology at La Rochelle University, to help me understand the images and lexicon of self -love.

The exercise book

Let’s start with the form. The book does not leave anyone indifferent. The quilt is full of fun colors and shapes that catch attention. The promise of fresh and fun reading. Inside, the author’s advice mixes famously promised exercises. There are tests and quizzes (bingo!), To -do lists, breathing exercises or even blank texts to complete. It has the merit of changing suggestions and attracting attention.

Laurence Brunet-Hunault’s opinion: “There is a little artistic side to the composition of the cover, but it is also very childish in the drawings. The background is black and all the other colors: it will allow you to get out of the darkness of your soul! Inside, all the colors light, pastel, it’s the world of softness.The layout is reminiscent of a holiday homework book.It’s only when there are no thumbnails to put… This playful aspect is a bit young.Since it’s an exercise book, we can’t prevents the thought that, one way or another, there are points that will tell us whether we are right or wrong. With evaluation, we will go back to our schooling. »

“The best version of yourself”

It’s the title of Blanche Gardin’s very funny series, but it’s also an expression that finds its place many times in the book. “The energy that comes from self -love will give you the motivation to be the best version of yourself”, it is written, for example, page 22. But what exactly does that mean? That right now – and even for many years a priori -, I’m pursuing a typical version of myself? That someone exists somewhere (tied to a space-time error perhaps), a more interesting and successful self?

Laurence Brunet-Hunault’s opinion: “We are truly multiple personalities. There are days we are on stage, others are not… It happens to everyone. But in this way of saying it, I think it is above all with the spirit of the times and with this show society where we are always rated. We can improve, it’s not negative, but it evokes management where we are always trying to improve ourselves. »

“Free yourself” and seek “inner peace”

These two expressions squat on personal development techniques, where self -love. Right, right? Who hasn’t dreamed of “escaping” and finding the evil “inner peace”? But if you think about it a little, what do these words mean? What do we want to be free of ourselves? From what prison guards or what obstacles? Is “war” really raging deep in our creatures to justify this unexpected search for peace?

Laurence Brunet-Hunault’s opinion: “During therapy, these expressions remain intimate. If they appear in books like that, we’ll take them to the public square and that will clear up the words of their meaning. It’s the trend. aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us aka us words are used incorrectly and by, such as “war” to refer to the virus and the pandemic.These words are strong but, by force, we it is combined with expressions like “It’s a war on my neighbors” or “I’m fighting my kids” to transcribe part of the aggression.Above all, I find these words calming it is quite the opposite of what people have suffered. In the world of work, for example, we are not peaceful, we are constantly harassed, stressed … This kind of book is like a charm to try to balance the aggressive and individual society in which we live ”.

“Self -love”

This is the title of the book and the central concept on which the method revolves. In the text, this “self -love” is sometimes translated in French as “self -love”, or even translated into action with the expression “practicing self -love”. But why leave it in English when it is so easy to translate?

Laurence Brunet-Hunault’s opinion: “Perhaps ‘self-love’ for a Frenchman can also be high on greed. Although, narcissism: I love myself, I look at myself and I’m the only one beautiful! But it shouldn’t be forbidden to love yourself. Or if it’s not to make it a marketing scam.It’s like the term “self -pity.” “Yes, but it’s not my fault” is still a popular saying that has this idea of ​​stopping talking to ourselves that it is our fault. Is it self -indulgence? I do not know. »

Repeat the magic words

Love, generosity, gratitude… What is unique about using these words is the promise of joy and lightness that is in them like the rhythm in which they are repeated. We are even offered to say aloud some of these terms to ourselves, such as page 109. “I deserve to be loved” and “every day I will learn to love myself” are words that are repeated to be ” [sa] first fan “. But will it work? Is hammering a word enough to give it magical power?

Laurence Brunet-Hunault’s opinion: “ This is done to create a sphere of benefit and a bubble. That is, if you do this, you will eventually “love yourself”. We can push the clouds around us, prioritize worries, be open to others … We are only in the positive and that can erase our dark side! They are like the mantras we repeat. It is done to write things down in our psyche. Looking at myself every morning, telling myself “I’m beautiful, I have confidence in myself” and taking this time for yourself, it will give these moments and these words a power to you . We are assigned by words. If you’re small, you’re told “You can’t get anywhere”, you’ll believe it. That’s the pragmatics of language, words can assign people functions, they have an active emphasis. »

In conclusion, do I have more self -confidence after reading and practicing self -love ? No, because I am more interested in the scope of the words than the practical use of the method. And other questions push back this chaotic quest for happiness: do we have to follow this gentle, relatively soft and kind state of mind in order to be happy? Does irony and sarcasm have a right to inner peace? Case to follow.

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