I have a genuine contempt for, I was going to just list the self-help industry, but I think it goes above and beyond all of that. Self-help, religion, or anything that claims to make anyone a better person.
My first gripe with self-help is that most of the books/methods/paradigms make the broad assumption that all parties involved are sane, rational people. Particularly relationship gurus. Sure… That communication method might help if my partner wasn’t a raging alcoholic/narcissist/depressed/anxious/etc… person. Finally, it seems, some folks are creeping out of the woodwork and are actually acknowledging that most people are damaged in some capacity, so you functioning on a “normal” plane is not going to resonate with someone who is bat-shit. Never mind why a “normal” person wants to relate to or work things out with “bat-shit.” I mean, shouldn’t the goal just be to get the hell out of there? That’s fodder for another blog, though. So let’s not go there yet.
But.. the gist of all these things is to make people feel bad about themselves. If you don’t have the magically wonderful life of your dreams after following paradigm a, religion c, method x, or routine k then you aren’t doing it right. What a fantastic way to keep people coming back for more, pouring in more money, and not realizing that your method is a steaming pile of horse shit designed to ensnare you in a vicious cycle of always being sucked into the vortex of paying people money to help you become someone you like.
Imagine my dismay at being constantly drawn to the self-help books. I haven’t been snagged or bogged down by it in a very long time, though. I’ve cultivated the ability to take what I need from each one and chuck the rest into the fuck-it bucket. Plus? I tend to gravitate toward those who acknowledge that we are all fucked up. Some, though, you really can’t take seriously or work with on any level. Like this book I’m perusing now on Kindle Unlimited (someone remind me to cancel that free one month trial). “Self Discovery Journal: 200 Questions to Find Who You Are and What You Want In Life.”
There’s a whole section on beliefs we’ve formulated of ourselves over time. “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m ugly, no one will ever love me…” you get the gist. So the exercise says we should analyze our beliefs about ourselves, think about how we have come to have those beliefs, then “prove your belief wrong.”
belief: “I’m too short for anyone to love me.”
solution: Look up info about short celebrities dating hotties.
Seriously, people? I mean… I’m not the only one who sees through this, right? There are scads of reasons why this solution holds not even one molecule of water. Just because something works in the favor of a short celebrity who is probably ragingly hot, incredibly charming, and (let’s not forget) very wealthy in addition to being short, well, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for an average short person who believes his or her self undeserving of love because of this perceived defect.
Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to think these kinds of mind games people try to get us to play with ourselves are incredibly shallow, and no person that has any kind of intelligence whatsoever is helped by them. If you have the ability to think outside the box in any capacity, this kind of trite advice is only going to make you feel worse. Especially if you’re committed to feeling like shit for the rest of your life. Go ahead… try it.
My other favorite? “Find a way to make short sexy.”
Ummm… If I have shortness on a list of reasons that I’m unlovable, I’m not going to really be able to pull that one off, now am I? Now, I could be incredibly wrong in making this assumption, but I don’t think I am. I think it would be easier for a short female to do something to make herself feel sexy, but what is a short male going to do? And it seems to me that shortness making someone feel unlovable is, by and large, more of a factor with the fellas than the ladies.
Maybe this is why therapy never works for me. I think of the 80,000 ways around some method and come up with every reason in the world why that shit is ridiculous.
So, Self Discovery Journal, what have you got for the gal who hates her brain? Let’s see about picking that apart.