Saturday, May 23, 2020

When Self-Help Becomes Self-Damaging

The right self-help book or course can be a tremendously powerful tool. I have personally seen it transform people’s lives: I’ve seen people go from being nervous, shy, and unconfident and become far more naturally attractive, confident, and interesting.

In fact, in the classical culture the most admired thinkers like Plato (The Republic), Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics), Cicero, Seneca (on anger), Plutarch, and Marcus Aurelius (on meditation), all wrote the so-called, undeniably, self-help books. 

They deployed every resource of intelligence, wit, and style in writing their manuals in order to make sure their message would delight the intellectual as well as emotional faculties and ultimately helps humanity to make progress in life.  

But I would also argue on the damaging side of the self-help that things have been taken a little too far. There is so much self-help literature out there now and so much advice on how we can become better versions of who we are. But is it all constructive? If we consume everything labeled as self-help out there, are we really helping ourselves or damaging ourselves?

Why Self-Help Can be Damaging

While I’ve seen people who have been positively influenced by self-help texts, I’ve also seen people who have been damaged by them.

One of the most common ways this can happen is when self-help becomes a delay tactic. What I mean by this, is that people can use self-help as a means to delay the work they actually should be doing to improve themselves. You should clearly understand that: there's no alternative to hard work! Except on rare occasions that the job may be easy depending on how much resourceful and expert you are.

People will buy a self-help book and then will instantly feel as though they are making good progress toward being a better version of themselves. They’ve made the effort by buying the book after all: so they can pat themselves on the back and keep on reading.

And then they buy the next book. And the next book. And they feel great about themselves except they haven’t actually changed anything.

Self-help is destructive when it ends up being a delay tactic. If you are only using it in theory and never in practice, then it is hindering rather than helping your progress.

Knowing Who to Trust

"Follow the advice of your own heart,

for it is devoted to you more than anyone is.

Sometimes our own mind 

does a better job of keeping us informed

than seven watchmen sitting in a watchtower.

But above all these things

pray to the Most-High 

that he may direct you along the path of truth." 

Sirach 37:13-15, NLT.

The other issue is that self-help can be very mixed depending on where you get it from.

The problem with the internet is that anyone can contribute and there is lots of incentive to do so as a way to get views and thereby earn some cash.

The problem then is that you can end up following advice that is based on zero evidence and that has been written by someone in no position to be giving said advice. Hypocrites! They want to deal with your eyes' speck while they can't see clearly enough because of the log in their own eyes. First, they need to get rid of the log in their own eyes. They need to be honest in their approach. 

It’s common knowledge for example that visualizing your goals can help you to get what you want from life. But did you know that this only works if you visualize them in the correct way? Some studies suggest that having a goal is much less important than having a plan.

So question what you read, act on it, and then decide what works for you personally.

"Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,

but hasty short cuts lead to poverty." 

Proverbs 21: 5, NLT.

The useful takeaway in the following video is that we should not give away, the power to change our life. To seek personal fulfillment we have to ask ourselves what we need to create instead of wallowing in self-judgment and trying to fix what isn't broken in real sense. The speaker concluded that: "Self-judgment can never, ever get you where you want to go."    



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​​Text Wisdom's mission is to provide an entertaining but faithful and objective exploration of the wisdom behind some popular text speeches like: "Less is more", or "Wisdom is better than strength" and "The pen is mightier than the sword" and so forth. We've committed ourselves to do that so that the readers of our site can appreciate and learn why they should become wise and be transformed to live their lives in all fullness. We strongly believe that wisdom, once gained, can help anyone attain any level of success in any situation. In an actual sense, we strive to live up to the Golden Rule that says: Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Similarly, the idea of what we try to accomplish is well-expressed in this biblical quote: “Be instructed, whatever be the cost, and you’ll gain what is better than gold.” Sirach 51:28, (New Community Bible). LM Edward is a university graduate with a keen interest in working hard to finding out a universal step-by-step method, if any, on how to become wise, and then share those findings to our curious worldwide visitors.

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