Neuroticism and Self Help – a Marriage From Hell?
Neuroticism and Self-Help – a Marriage From Hell?
Neuroticism is a personality trait. And it’s not a particularly pleasant trait for those who experience a high level of it.
Neuroticism refers to a long-term tendency to be in a negative or anxious mood. People high in neuroticism tend to feel negative emotions more often. People who are lucky enough to be naturally low in neuroticism tend to be happier and to experience lighter moods more commonly.
The Curse of Being High In Neuroticism
Highly neurotic people have a tendency to focus on what they perceive as being wrong with the world and with themselves. They often veer towards being ‘glass half empty’ people.
Neurotics are overly-fearful, overly-distrusting of themselves and others, overly-self-conscious, overly-worried about potential negative consequences, overly-self-critical, overly-other-critical.
Blessed With Low Neuroticism
People who are low in neuroticism tend to have a happier demeanour. They get stressed less easily. They are content with themselves and the world. They accept their imperfections and flaws. They are less fearful and anxious and more able to be themselves in the world. They are comfortable in their own skin.
The Neurotic’s Painful Quest to Perfect Themselves
Neurotic people are painfully aware of their perceived flaws. They rail against their imperfections. They crave to iron out their kinks and perfect themselves.
Because people who are high in neuroticism are more self-critical, over-concerned with how their lives are going, and fearful of failing and not living ‘optimally’, it is reasonable to assume that a lot of neurotics consume fairly large quantities of self-help material.
Anecdotally, the least neurotic people that we know consume next to zero self-help material. They simply don’t see the point. They are happy with themselves. They have no festering wounds to heal, no big problems to fix. Life is already breezy and beautiful for these lucky folks!
Neurotic Addiction to Self-Help Material
But for neurotic people who spend a lot of their time consuming self-help material, is this material helping or hindering them?
Self-help can certainly be addictive. And it can become an obsession that takes up way too much space and time in a person’s life. Many neurotics can get obsessed with, and dependant on, self-help.
Is Neuroticism and Self-Help a Marriage From Hell?
Self-help material can be very helpful for a person. Some novel new information about how to think or how to approach life can course-correct someone in a very beneficial way.
But too much self-help material can have a very detrimental effect on a person’s life.
Self-help, because of its focus on improving the self, can easily increase a person’s self-consciousness to a harmful level.
Forget Yourself and Find Happiness
Neurotics tend to be quite self-conscious, and often rather self-obsessed. For neurotics who consume a lot of self-help material, their level of self-obsession can become the biggest obstacle to their finding happiness, contentment, and comfort in their own skin.
If a neurotic person can manage to forget themselves, at least to some extent, then their neurotic feelings can finally abate. Self-help often prevents neurotics from being able to forget themselves and relax.
A little bit of good quality self-help material can improve the life of a neurotic. But too much can certainly be harmful. Neurotics need to beware of self-help.
To the extent that a neurotic can drop their quest to perfect themselves, they can often find contentment.
Neurotics can get trapped in downward spirals of self-help addiction. In certain cases, neuroticism and self-help can be a marriage from hell!!