Reading self-development works is reading the dictionary as a child.
It’s like a lightbulb when you know what a word means and then you try to use it so many times until you find where it really fits in your sentences.
Did anyone else just read the dictionary as a child?
No, all right then, that was just me. And my love of words that I could have picked up on sooner rather than waiting till I was halfway through college.
But like anyone, before incognito mode in Chrome, there are things that I avoided looking up. There are titles that I avoided like the plague because certain other people had read them and I didn’t think they were all that snazzy of people.
There’s a lot of flak for reading self-help all the time, that I sit down and ponder out a chapter a day, just like I do a chapter of my bible every morning. But it really depends on how you go about understanding just what is in the book.
First, it is a memoir. It is written in a style that is meant to help with categorical experiences that are meant to make it easier for you to get what they are trying to teach. But it is about their experience with the thing.
Second, your life is yours. It is different. It is a mix of all the choices you’ve made in an effort to get where you are now. If you don’t like where you are now, well make a different choice. A little one, and another and another, and suddenly, your life looks like something else. Make sure you plan where you’re going though that will help you not end up right where you started.
When I read a self-help book I’m not looking for the lightbulb moment that will fix my life. I’m looking for reassurance that all my weird habits and traditions and other some such are actually serving me. That they really work, or I’m just fooling myself because I don’t want to change.
At this point, because I’ve made minute changes along the way, I rarely find something that will magically make my life everything I ever wanted. But I have found out why some self-help works for me and others don’t.
I find ways to make my life better, to make it more as I’ve dreamed. To have what I’ve wanted even when I was unwilling to voice those wants and desires. Because I’m now willing to voice them. That is it’s own form of freeing.
But we usually get bombarded with the new kids on the block of self-development. The everything is new and shiny and those new habits really can radically change their lives.
But they, like overeager puppies, drive us a little crazy. It’s all right, they will mellow out.
I’ve been pursuing my own mental health since I was eighteen. I did not make all the smart choices that my parents think I did.
I’m smart, but I’m also smart enough to be stupid. (see Tortoise and the Hare).
But I realize that life was never meant to be a sprint. It is a marathon and I’m training for the long haul.
And remember, if everything you read is talking about the same topic, maybe that’s a lesson from the universe (insert your faith),