Self Help

cover225x225I was at this funky shop called “Happy Women” in a perfect little downtown on the Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan, when I noticed this book: You are a badass: how to stop doubting your greatness and start living and awesome life by Jen Sincero. Because I really loved the shop and felt anyone who ordered this book for this shop must have really great taste, I bought it. I am not a huge self help book person, they tend to be a bit corny and obvious, but seriously, I need to embrace my inner badassness.

I dove in and started highlighting right away. There were lots of great ideas and I will share a sampling with you:

“You’re gonna have to push past your fears, fail over and over again and make a habit of doing things you’re not so comfy doing. You’re going to have to let go of old, limiting beliefs and cling to your decision to create the life you desire like you’re life depends on it.” 

“If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done.”  (how genius is the simplicity of this?!?!)

“You create your own reality. And you’ve spent a lifetime creating the one you presently have largely based on your limiting beliefs. “

“You get to choose how you perceive your reality. So why, when it comes to perceiving yourself, would you choose to see anything other than a super huge rock star of a creature?”

“We invest everything we’ve got into believing that we’re not good enough…Imagine how different your reality would be if you woke up every morning certain of your own lovability and your critically important role on this planet.”

“What other people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.”

“when you find your calling and you design your life in such a way that you can share your gifts with the world on a consistent basis, you feel like a rock star.”

So this is about ¼ through the book and then things start turning south for me. The meditation chapter was pushing it a bit (I recently read and entire book on mindfulness, 10% Happier, by Dan Harris, very good stuff, but this author seemed to take it a bit too far)

Full disclosure, I have tried less than 5 times to meditate and it really was underwhelming. I am not saying it is bad, I am not saying it can not change your thinking or anything else, but I think I am just skeptical enough to keep the benefits at bay.


But Ms Sincero wants me to mediate and she promises, through wishing hard enough, that anything I want can come true. And there was this split second in which I thought “Yes! If I want it bad enough, if I work hard enough, if I believe in myself truly, I can do anything.” And then I had a flash, two words flashing neon red in my brain: Bull. Shit. (To be fair she gives this topic a lot of time and energy and I am very much oversimplifying it here).

Because, and lets remember I am an optimist and an idealist, life just doesn’t work that way. And if it did work that way it seems like life would be even more miserable. Think of a job search. The position is narrowed down to 3 qualified people. Only one of them is going to get the job, but all three of them are going to do their best. So the two that are told “no thank you”, does that mean they did not wish, try and believe hard enough? They failed?

I just don’t buy it because if it was possible to really think your way into success, would there be starvation and war and divorce and infertility and pain? Would there be constant conflicts of interest pushing each other out of first place?

Every thing I want certainly can NOT come true out of sheer will, believe and dedication. I can believe in myself more than the Pope believes in God and it is still not going to make a difference in the final outcome. Now, it can make a difference in my love and acceptance of myself. And of my ability to get back up and try again. And/or my potential success can also have something to do with luck, or opportunity or access to resources.

Self help has some great ideas. Some lovely perspectives. But it also sets us up for self loathing. Love yourself. Help yourself. Believe in the greatness of yourself. Be a badass and be awesome. But know, that no matter how well you do something there are going to be days where it falls apart. Maybe because of you or maybe because of a comical series of events that domino into your plans. You are not a failure. You are the best you, you can be in that moment, and that is enough.


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