So, the other night I was driving home and was listening to one of my fave radio shows on NPR, Fresh Air. Terry Gross is an excellent interviewer and always has interesting guests and topics. That night, the topic was Self Help.
“This is going to be good”, I thought to myself because I am a self help junkie and it’s pretty much my industry and mostly what I stand for, I found out.
It turned out that the topic was actually to mostly rip on self help and the often misunderstood concepts that it builds it’s foundations upon.
The guest was talking about her book she had just had published about self help and is very skeptical of self help books, seminars, programs and information in general.
It was funny that she basically wrote a self help book that criticizes self help, but more importantly, I was surprised at how quickly I fell into doubting self help too, just by listening to some of their comments and jokes about self help.
There was also an emphasis on there being shady characters waiting in corners to not only take advantage of you but also rob you of all your money.
Tell me what industry doesn’t have it’s shadow side? Let’s do a little run down, shall we? Hmmm….starting with the financial industry, that one is easy. Education. Government. Wellness. Clergy. Hospitality. Publishing. Direct Sales. Real Estate. Utilities. Auto. Retail. Groceries.
You name it, pretty much every industry under the sun has it’s bad apples that want to take advantage of others, so the Self Help industry is no different.
Then came the stereotypes, the assuming, the what felt like judgement of people who are into self help.
I found myself shrinking and not wanting to be seen as part of this group. I felt silly, wrong and definitely not taken seriously. It really bothered me!
I could not stop thinking about that interview. I listened to it again on the podcast AND read the transcript online.
I thought about and deconstructed what was said.
I went on a long walk and thought about it and turned on some tunes to get me out of my funk about the topic.
What happened was truly amazing and awesome at the same time. I reconnected with why I totally love self help and am not at all going to hide that fact anymore.
The simple truth about self help is just like anything else in a world filled with people who have strong opinions about any number of things: if you don’t agree with or believe in the principles of self help, detach yourself from it and take no part in it! It really is that simple!
What are the principles I speak of? Basically that everything in your life is your responsibility and up to you and only you to change if it isn’t what you want. Such a simple concept, yet sometimes very challenging to act on.
Most people are not ready to do that OR really consider what that responsibility really means.
A majority of folks are really looking for a quick and easy fix to all their woes and preferably without having to look at one’s own shit. I get it, I totally get it!
Not everybody is ready to live the lives they dream of, to receive what IS truly possible for them. Many aren’t even ready to believe that!
So I can really understand the assumptions that go along with sayings such as “Anything is possible” or “You can have anything you want”. I understand how that could really charge a person up and make them say “yeah, right, I’ll believe it when I see it”, without looking beyond the surface and really exploring the deeper meaning of those words.
The biggest take away for me was the fact that I have studied this for long enough now that I DO understand the meanings beyond the surface, or at least, am starting to really understand them on a deeper level. I think it is a lifelong process, but it feels really good that I don’t get triggered or charged by the fluff phrases because I mostly agree with them!
It also was a good lesson for me to really be true to myself and not shrink or doubt when someone I respect riffs on what I believe in. That happens to people everyday, so just shake it off!
Being true to myself and not attaching to what people think of my industry was another big one for me. I am part of what I consider to be an empowering, motivating and inspiring movement and even though it isn’t for everyone, it is what I love and it’s okay if others criticize it. In fact, I’d question what was going on if it WASN’T criticized, just like every other industry should be.
The coolest thing though, is that self help is available to ANYONE who is ready for it, or curious about it and could possible be ready to start looking at it and learning from it. The concepts are not complicated, but do require personal responsibility for ones outcome and that is where the real transformation comes from.
So wherever you are on the self help spectrum, it’s all good.
Share with me your feelings about self help. Are you one of those people that may read self help books and hide them when other people come in the room? Do you have disdain for self help? I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts, so share them below!