Self-Help (noun) :
the action or process of bettering oneself or overcoming one’s problems without the aid of others;* especially : the coping with one’s personal or emotional problems without professional help* (Miriam Webster Dictionary)
*This definition is somewhat flawed, as the people who write self-help books are…er…others — their hard work is what helps us — and they’re usually professionals in fields of psychology, coaching, writing, etc.
Adventure (noun) :
1 a : an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks; b : the encountering of risks
2 : an exciting or remarkable experience (Miriam Webster Dictionary)
Self Help. Sometimes they call it “Living Your Best Life” or “Personal Growth and Development.” The bookstores keep changing the signage, maybe to get people to peruse its treasures. It’s the section that people breeze through on their way to Biography or Cookbooks or wherever it is that they’re going. But does anyone really stop there? I do.
I mean, really, who doesn’t want to “live their best life” or grow and develop personally, or maybe, possibly, perhaps change our whole lives? Even if we don’t want to admit it, we all need some help sometimes. For some of us, we book-learners and autodidacts, we stubborn and independent types, a really, really great source of help is through books.
You see, changing your life can be hard. The very prospect of it can be petrifying, even when we know it’s necessary. We structure our lives based on patterns and learned behaviors; sometimes, we don’t even know what they are because they’ve simply become part of How We Are. The work of self-help authors helps us unpack our baggage, recognize what we don’t need, and repack the bags so we can get on with the great journey of life.
Which brings us to adventure. Now, I’m not a self-help guru, and I haven’t done all the work to be done. I’ve but dipped my little toes into the vast pond of internal analysis needed to be the best me I can be. My little forays, though have proven that this is an adventure, fraught with risk and danger (we’ll probably see what those dangers and risks are as we proceed). You, you lucky person, get to accompany me on this adventure, and maybe you can start your very own. If you want. I’m not here to tell you what to do.
Why am I even doing this? Isn’t the work of changing one’s life deeply personal? Absolutely. Doesn’t broadcasting the fact that you read self-help books for fun make one a little…strange? Probably. But I have some changes I’d like to make, big and small. And maybe it’ll help someone else, seeing that changes can be made (if I’m not getting ahead of myself a.) by assuming a readership beyond two friends who promised — you know who you are 😉 and b.) by assuming that I can make these changes in my own life…but I think I can!).
There are a few simple rules I’ll follow:
- Read each book from cover to cover — if it wasn’t important, the author wouldn’t have said it.
- Do all exercises — but, like really do them. Go deep within myself, be uncomfortable, be…vulnerable.
- Blog about the books and my experiences with the exercises — I won’t promise to post the deepest, darkest secrets I reveal (don’t look at me like that, you have them too), but a good sampling will do.
- Put what I learn into practice and blog about that, too.
I’ve never done a blog before, unless you count that early college LiveJournal which was mostly early-adulthood angst and thinly veiled complaints about other people, so you’ll bear with me as I get the hang of this whole thing.