If you’ve been around this blog for any significant amount of time – you know how much I love self-help. I absolutely believe that therapy can have an amazing life-changing effect on our lives and I also believe that self-led healing is important too. Both are very valid paths and so is a combination of them both.
When I first started my self-love journey, I kept a binder full of notes, worksheets I’d found online, inspiring quotes, and anything else that I wanted to know and remember. I read so many books about healing and discovering a joyful life. I gave myself little self-care assignments. I’d walk to the park to journal. I started a meditation practice. I really focused on my self-care.
Having such a hands-on experience really helped me heal a lot of things. My anger issues, the severity of my mental illness issues, my dysfunctional relationships, and abusive actions.
It was such a beautiful journey. My learning style is very much a solo thing – give me information, preferably written, and let me do my thing. Other people are the complete opposite – they learn better from being in a social environment, by talking through issues, or by being in a group setting. All paths are valid as long as they lead you to a happier and healthier place.
But I also want to talk about some red flags you might find in the self-help community.
An entire industry has risen around telling you how to be yourself, and how to better yourself, and how to overdo yourself. Some of this advice can be very good, even excellent. In fact, you’ve likely noticed how much I value honesty, authenticity, and I’m not afraid (okay, I’m a little afraid) of being vulnerable.
And you should expect that from any source you use as a tool to be a healthier you.
Storytime: One of my all time favorite bloggers went from being all into self-care and mental to becoming a business blogger. Suddenly it was all about how you can make six-figured by doing this. You can have a four-hour work week by doing that. I remember the vulnerable posts of burn out, of being overworked, of crying for two days because there was no way they would meet a deadline. But that narrative doesn’t sell business products so it was quietly erased.
I think that it’s so important to be able to teach (and write) not only from the place we are now, but from the places we used to be. That’s something that I sincerely try to do with Blessing Manifesting. I haven’t been depressed in a very long time, my anxiety is very managed, but I still struggle and I think it’s so important to show that.
Self-Help Red Flags
The Law of Attraction is Everything
The law of attraction is essential this: that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life.
Any book that tells you that you can solve your mental health issues or struggles by simply wishing yourself through it, or using ‘the law of attraction’ … be very critical of the advice therein.
You attract the kind of energy you put out can be applied to some areas of life, but it’s so important to acknowledge that it’s not always mind over matter.
Be Aware Of Subscription Schemes
Perhaps one of the strongest indicators of a questionable self-improvement scheme is your need to pay for it in installments, and perhaps even increase your donations to the provider before you can learn the ‘correct information.’
If the amount of money you spend is directly related to your level of “enlightenment”, be wary. If anyone tells you that you don’t *really* care about xyz unless you buy their new product – run.
Be Careful With Spirituality-At-All-Costs
If you’re dealing with trauma, a loss of identity, or depression, for instance, it’s so easy to fall into information that promises to make that better.
Religion or spirituality is one of those things that can help give people a sense of wellbeing and a feeling that there is a purpose. Which is really awesome right?
Some organizations, and people, prey on that. They convince you to go against your values if they don’t fit their ideals and you do it because you want to feel better. They tell you to cut out anyone that doesn’t agree with them and you do it – because you want to feel better.
If you find yourself having to give up everything, really question the value of what you’re being asked to give up. Letting go of toxic cycles and behaviors – yes. Giving up your opinions and ability to question – no.
Ignoring Your Struggles
It’s important to stay honest about your struggles and vulnerabilities. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m fine when I am anything but.
Saying “I’m not okay right now.” is such an empowering act – even when it feels like weakness. You can’t get better unless you acknowledge the problem.
You can’t heal what you’re ignoring is wounded.
Don’t Take On Too Much At Once
It’s also important not to take too much on at once. You don’t have to completely change everything about your life and your routine all at once.
You don’t have to win everything today. All good, lasting changes, happen one change at a time. You’ve got to integrate it into your routine. Progress will go up and down, but if the overall trend is positive, you’re doing okay. Don’t take too much on at once. It will make a massive difference to you going forward.
Understand What Works for You
We’re all different, and the foundation of what I try to share through Blessing Manifesting is that there is no right way. We are all different and that means that our needs are different and that’s the beauty of it.
One person might feel inspired by reading a memoir about a Navy Seal commander and another might be inspired by an art class. Maybe you wish to learn more about supplements that work for you. I’ve had a lot of success with lemon balm for anxiety.
The most important thing to remember about your self-help journey is that it’s yours. It gets to look like whatever you want it to. It gets to be full of the things that work for you.