For a long time now, the self-help industry has innocently been pointing us all in the wrong direction of how to really help ourselves. I think it’s time to start realizing we don’t need self-help books. We’re not broken. We don’t need to be fixed. We need to trust our own realizations about our own lives and make shifts and changes from there. That comes directly from your own experience and wisdom.
Something I often hear in self-help is you’ll never be truly ready to do something, so just feel the fear and do it anyway. From your own personal experience this may work for you. If it does, that’s fantastic. If your wisdom has shown you that’s what works best, then by all means, please keep doing that.
If this isn’t you however, I’d like to take a step back and say maybe it’s not about having the fear and doing it. Maybe it’s not even about the fear.
It’s just your mind spewing all sorts of thoughts, which it does naturally all day long, and you’re just feeling those thoughts. We’re always feeling our thinking. It’s how we experience life. A thought comes up about ourselves or a circumstance, we feel an emotion, then it washes back out again. It’s like an ocean wave coming onto a sandy beach then receding again. It’s only when we try to keep the water from going back into the ocean that we get stuck.
Here’s an example. A few years back, a friend asked if I wanted to hike a section of the Appalachian trail with her. Right away my mind filled with thoughts about what kind of physical shape I was in, did I have the right gear, how do I figure out all the logistics, on and on. I was clearly not ready to do this. However, I was intrigued by the idea. There was some excitement in it. It sounded interesting, fun, adventurous, and it was something I’d never done before. This is what I did (or didn’t do to be honest). Nothing. I sat with it. I let all the thoughts about whether it was something I was ready for or wanted to do, as well as the, this sounds like it might be cool thoughts all come and go like the waves on the sand.
Those different thoughts all came and went over the next months. They washed in, I noticed them, then they washed back out again. Again I didn’t “do” anything with them. I didn’t hold onto the one that asked, is it fair to your husband to just up and go hike for 10 days with a friend? I didn’t hold onto the one that said you’ve got to figure this all out now and take this adventure. Nope, I just let them come and go.
And one day, I had the realization (which is just another thought BTW), I can do this. I WANT to do this. And just like that I was ready to move forward with the idea.
This is our innate, provided-for-us, always-there, amazingly perfect design.
We don’t need self help books to “help” us make changes or move us in a direction. We just need to realize that our own wisdom about what’s right for us, what we want to do, what we’re ready for and when we’re ready for it, is right there. It’s underneath all of the thought processes we innocently go through to try and figure it all out. Those thought processes are natural. They come and go. Underneath is the clear answer about what you’re ready for and when you’re ready for it. I couldn’t read that in a book. No one could tell me how I would know when I was ready. I had to trust my own realizations of my own experience. No one else can have them for me. I can’t have them for others.
Like when you learned to ride a bike. Sure you could read about riding a bike, or have your parents tell you how to work the pedals, steer, and stay balanced. You’re still not ready until you are. No matter what thoughts are traveling through your mind about how long it’s taking you to learn to ride, how you’re clumsier than your best friend, or how everyone else can ride but you. When you’re ready, you just ride, not thoughts needed.
Do you see the lack of need for self-help? You’ve already got all you need.
I think we often are trying so hard to fit in or feel like we belong somewhere that if our wisdom and experience tells us something different from friends or something we’ve read in a book, we feel like we’re wrong. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. What’s true for you is what’s true for you, no matter if it’s true or works for someone else?
Your wisdom is yours alone.
She’s deep underneath all your thinking.
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Image by Pixabay, with permission.