Habitually Helping The Self
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
$elf help is can be a mine field, and we are running in the minefield pausing to grab the latest better-me-morsel to make of run easier. Self help doesn't have a one size fits all solution for our apparent myriad of make goods, it is a multi-billion dollar, multidimensional business that stalks us on social media and looks down upon us from our bookshelves, its not uninvited because us humans, we are always looking to improve our sitchuasi.
We the people, are obsessed with bettering our lives, our eating, our sleeping, studying, exercising, relationship-ing and of course the w-word, work or rather work/life balance. Oh how we need to find balance and you better make it Gram worthy on the way.
“As a society, we are obsessed with optimizing every part of our lives—our eating, sleeping, studying, exercising, relationship-ing, and, of course, working. As a result, the market for self-improvement content continues to skyrocket. In 2018, the self-help industry was worth about $10 billion per year in the United States alone. Experts predict an average of 5.6% yearly gains until 2022, at which point the market should be worth $13.2 billion, writes theHarvard Business Review.” ~ Aytekin Tank,Fast Company
We really, really want the change, but change is hard so we keep browsing, burrowing, looking, leaning in and letting go, speed reading and osmosing podcasts through our AirPods & hoping for that magic illusive unicorn, just add water, two minute noodle fix.
We the improvers have created our very own self improvement culturescape, a wild and wooly wilderness of advice, templates and tutorials for living our best lives. Or at least seeing how someone else managed to live there best life, while we are still depressed at home eating donuts, notwondering why our jeans don’t fit.
Stop, pause, wait just a minute! We seriously need reminding that there is no one road to success, no one size fits all. That person author made it on their own path & so can you. Just like our asana practice there is no perfect shape, no right or wrong way, my way or the highway, magic pill, unicorn puff, holy grail fix me up. Route 69 to success.
We are all unique with our own soul print or divine destiny, different stories swirling in and around us alongside our beliefs, forming the foundations of how we function in this life. These foundations are the patterns and programs gifted to us by early influencers that being our parents, extended family teachers, friends, the news, the government, university and work all play a very large part in the where, who, where, why, what and how of our daily thoughts. It’s a wonder that we have our own thoughts at all, with all the noise, and well I suppose we don’t really unless we have a fairly solid meditation practice that enables us to reconnect to source and find the connection to our most creative higher self.
Our digital obsession has fuelled & expedited the growth of comparison culture, our closeted inner voyeur can dive down the deep often dark digital detour for hours pining for the life of someone who seemingly goes faster, is more bendy, eats healthier, travels more or works less in a society where we often wear our exhaustion like a badge of honour dropping to sleep on the couch iPad resting on the rise and fall of our ribs. Comparison is the thief of happiness and its bloody exhausting!!
Super accessible social media tends to amplify our search results and occasionally leave us with feelings of failure, or not being up to par- no matter how much progress we have actually made. The answer is to focus on your own path, which will include both cheerful successes & fall down learning curves of failure. Failure is just finding your edge, it’s not a dirty word, failure reveals to us those places where we need to do the work - so this undesired exploration or falling off your life path indeed illuminates the way to change!! Whether you’re reading a book or scanning your Instagram feed, use these stories for inspiration & information gathering, not for comparing yourself. My best advice is to curate your digital diet, if people or accounts leave you feeling empty, unfollow or unsubscribe - simples - why torture yourself? Why?!
You can learn plenty, be inspired by good ideas & stories from other peeps, but your path to personal development is going to be unique. I am going to highlight here that it’s essential to be realistic about your goals, dream big, make a plan, break that plan down into pieces of the plan puzzle & do a puzzle piece at a time. Wanna make it really real get someone to hold you accountable, accountability is a superpower in the change game. Remember though real change doesn’t happen overnight, although, it will happen. You have to commit to it & do the work. 21 days is what you need to instil a new habit, there’s no quick fix there is just tenacity & application….along-side this biggie you have to shift your mindset.
Reading books will change your life, reading is awesome. There are so many ahamazing books to be peeled open and dog eared on your journey to your best life. However, reading one self-help book and expecting that book to somehow magically change your life is one of my many definitions of madness.
Think of reading like creating or curating your own development program, where you assess what book & blog writer people are saying and see if it makes sense in your personal circumstances, will it help you create future you, dust off your sparkly soul print and send you off to fields of joy? Just cause it’s on a best seller list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gonna be your game changer “the one” that will resonate, recalibrate, rocket you off into the happiness stratosphere.
This is my MO (modus operandi / method of operation)
When you find a book that resonates, read that bad boy book 6 times, then read another 6 books!!! Soak that information up, read them again then trade what doesn’t resonate with you. Find new stuff, linking common themes along the way, try stuff on test out the tactics. Adopt the practices that work for you helping you too morph onto future you.
BEEP BEEP BEEP (just in case you drifted off lol) It’s ESSENTIAL Get out the highlighter a pen & post it notes turn that book or all of those books into your personal unique transformation program. It’s almost like you should never ever want to loan those books because they will be merssy illegible records of your life change. Scribbles of deeply personal notes and memos for you to read and re read. What is fascinating is reading your notes to self 6-12 months down the track, new you, smiling at old you seeing your personal evolution documented in the indents & paragraphs.
As I said deeply personal & moving stuff these books become your friends, you call on them for reminders like advice from a good friend. That good friend is really just you.
Don’t give up cause that one read of that one best seller list book wasn’t your cure all, re-read the book/ blog get a vision of future you, do the work, form new habits, evolve, read more & repeat!!!
Most of all you have to take action- reading alone won’t break the old patterns programming and beliefs you need to go all in. Get someone, a coach, a mentor, a group to hold you accountable and remember it takes 21 days to form a new habit!
Here are some of the books & blogs that I have loved & learned from:
Ekharte Tolle The Power of Now
This book is profound & life changing - you might not be ready for it on your first read & that's ok it will re appear & come back to you when you are
The Journey Home – Radhnath Swami
I first listened to this as an audio book its one man’s journey across the world from Chicago to the Himalayas, temple cities to the Ganges. This transformation tale is the collection Richard Slavin’s engaging, colourful & mystical personal stories that have transformed him today into one of Indias most respected spiritual leaders.
Likeable relatable insightful factual- Literally anything that she writes I read & reread has shifted me, I particularly like "The Gifts of Imperfection"
The last four years have seen this man journey from student to monk & digital dynamo & then to being the fastest growing influencers on the digital landscape no doubt you have seen him pop up in your FB feed, his first book Think Like a Monk is our now
How to be Human, The Manual by Ruby Wax
This book will have you laughing and learning How to be human by the hilariously talented Ruby Waxher neurologist a monk mates manage to mingle science & philosophy. This book teaches us how to be happier by becoming aware, changing and choosing our thoughts, emotions It will walk you through the how to too!
Happy reading & evolving