The 6 Biggest Lies in Self Help
Self-help media can be very… self-helping. For somebody who has never read a self-help book, their first reading can be a revelation. Even people who’ve read lots of self-help can benefit from a top-up every so often.
Self-help is a genre that contains lots of wonderful advice and information. But like in any genre, there is also plenty of lower-quality content.
Some self-help is trite, cheesy, and overflowing with pseudoscience. Some self-help content is riddled with lies. Big promises that can never come true are often utilized by authors to make a buck. Self-help authors are trying to sell products, and many are willing to tell lies for money.
As a self-help consumer, it is crucial to be discerning. Do not fall for lies or false promises!
Believing self-help lies can seriously hamper your progress in life. It can give your irrational expectations and desires. It can make you feel self-loathing for not progressing as fast as you’ve been told you should.
Here are the 6 biggest lies in self-help.
You Must Change Your Situation to Be Happy
In many ways, happiness is a choice.
“I’ll be happy when I change x, y, z in my life” is a harmful belief. Your life situation will never be perfect.
Your life situation will always include negative elements, stresses, strains, and problems. You do not need to have all of your ducks perfectly in line, and a life devoid of troubles, in order to be happy! You can be happy now even with an imperfect life and plenty of problems.
Life will always give you lemons, and when it does… make lemonade!
Awareness Destroys the Ego
Unless you are a Buddhist monk who has spent the last several decades meditating in a cave, you have an ego! Even most (all?) master meditators have an ego. There is probably no way to destroy your ego.
Becoming aware of your ego is very productive, and it can hugely improve your life. But awareness does not destroy the ego, it simply allows you to manage it better.
So don’t worry about trying to destroy your ego, just learn to live with it better. The more aware of your ego you are, the better you can manage it.
Anything Can Be Changed With the Right Mental Judo
You can not think your way out of distress, sadness, and pain every time. Thinking more clearly and rationally will often alleviate mental distress. But sometimes you need to change a situation in the real world in order to feel truly better.
For example, if your finances are in a mess, it may make you feel better to reframe by thinking “there are worse things than this… at least nobody died and I still have my health”. But what would make you feel even better is to take action in the world and sort your finances out.
Some Emotions Are Negative Or Wrong
Emotions exist for a reason. Our emotions, both positive and negative, have been honed over millions of years. They have benefitted us and kept us alive since time immemorial. You can never escape your emotions, they are as much a part of you as your heart or lungs.
Negative emotions exist for a reason. They hold a message for us. They give us important information about the world, other people, and ourselves.
When you feel a painful emotion, there is always a reason for it. The emotion itself is always reasonable – your thoughts have brought the emotion about.
If the emotion seems overblown or unnecessary, then you must explore your thoughts to find out what irrational thinking is causing the out of context emotion.
Emotions are never wrong. The thoughts that are causing them, however, may be irrational. Never beat yourself up for feeling an emotion.
Changing Yourself is Easy, Quick, and Enjoyable
Change happens slowly. No matter what any self-help guru says when they are trying to entice you to pay them for a quick fix cure!
Believing the lie that changing yourself is easy, quick or enjoyable is very harmful. It gives people false hope. And it makes people very down on themselves when they end up not changing as quickly as they had been led to believe they should.
Changing yourself takes a long time. And it usually requires a lot of difficult soul-searching and hard work.
Those On the Self-Help Path Are Far More Enlightened Than the Average Person
It’s never helpful to look down your nose at other people. Or to believe you are above the masses.
Self-help suits some people. Some people get a lot of value from it. For other people, self-help content just doesn’t resonate. Many people feel, right or wrong, that they don’t need self-help and would not benefit from it.
Never believe the lie that some self-help gurus propagate that you are in a super-exclusive group of enlightened ‘winners’… just because you have watched or read some of their content.
To each his or her own! We can and should learn from everybody we meet, whether or not they have an interest in self-help.