This a response an article from the Economist about positive affirmations and their negative affect on negative people. Since I am responding to it, this may make more sense if you read the article it is a response to first.
I am a positive person, but it wasn't always the case. In fact I was, at one time, one of the more negative people you could meet. I was constantly in a bad mood and I had to struggle to find it within myself to be friendly. I am still not outgoing, but I am at least pleasant to be around.
Part of the reason for this is through "affirmations" like the one in the article. "I am a lovable person" is similar to an actual affirmation I used: "People like me because I am friendly." While I felt terrifically silly saying that out loud to myself over time it did have an effect. I slowly began to believe it.
Now this is a study and it has to have quantifiable datum to analyze. And it uses established psychological tests to determine happiness (or positive outlook) and the study - for what it is - isn't in question. I accept their results. However, I'd be interested to see how it would change over a longer time period. I'd also be interested to see if the subjects of the study really wanted to improve their outlook.
I say this because the one thing that drives more change than any other is desire. If you do not want to change then change is very hard. This is a big hurdle to overcome. This is why people have a hard time losing weight in a lot of cases...they don't want to lose weight. They may FEEL they have to, but they don't really want it that badly.
I know *I* don't want to. Becasue I know that once I've lost it I can't go grab some Burger King whenever I want to because I don't care about the health risks. I'd have to really care about my weight and I don't. But enough about me and my fat-ass, the point is did the subjects of the study want to be "lovable"? I'd be interested to find out.