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In Russian, there's an aphorism that says roughly this:

No matter how many times you repeat the word "sweet", you won't feel sweeter in your mouth

Meaning that attempt to deceive oneself into believing (typically positive things, typically about oneself) if unsupported by reality will fail regardless of amount of effort one applies.

What would be an analogous English aphorism or an idiomatic way to convey the same idea?

  • My immediate association was to “a rose by any other name”, but that is of course the opposite: calling something by a different name won’t change what the thing itself is. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 30 '18 at 8:50
  • Btw, it's actually possible to self-hypnotize by repeated suggestion. – Kris Oct 30 '18 at 9:53
  • There is no direct equivalent. There are lots of phrases that convey a similar meaning to one extent or another, but they are all over the map. A hog in armor is still but a hog. The tiger cannot change its stripes. You can't polish a turd. Don't spit on my cake and call it icing. Call a spade a spade. And of course the proverbial lipstick on a pig. And a myriad others. But all quite different in their own way, so caveat emptor. I know of no direct translation for your "сколько «сладко» ни скажи" (or "сколько ни говори «халва»"). – RegDwigнt Oct 30 '18 at 12:11

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