Is Self-Help too Self-Centered?
After spending most of my up-bringing seeing all sorts of self-help and new-age teachers and coaches on the bookshelves, I have seen it all when it comes to the alternative wellness space and self-healing modalities.
My mom was ahead of her time, opening Health food stores in our small town, offering advice and natural remedies, and helping to relieve anxiety and stress through mindfulness and meditation. She now operates one of the most successful podcasts on Anxiety called the Anxiety Coaches Podcast, offering free support and remedies to help alleviate some of the most common ailments in Western culture today.
The category she happens to be most successful in on iTunes is the "Self-Help" category, and while living in a world where we seem to put everyone else's needs in front of our own, self-help seems to be a wonderful concept for the busy lives many of us live.
Yet as I continued to grow along my own path, I noticed that many of the concepts of the New Age and Spiritual Healing communities seemed to only focus on self, and the desires of self as a whole.
I had studied many facets of religions, and spiritual ideologies like Buddhism to recognize that the very popular "Law of Attraction" teachings were missing out on some of the most important aspects of true healing. And without these aspects, it can be a slippery slope of spiritual bypassing and cultural appropriation, all stemming from the selfish acts that are at the very foundation of patriarchal culture.
As my research continues to unfold, there is a common theme amongst any industry, religion, or ideology when they become more about control versus healing, and this theme is NARCISSISM. The relationship between NARCISSIST and CODEPENDENT runs deeply amongst anything and everything that turns into abusive, power-over dynamics.
So how does this relate to the Self-Help and New-Age communities? Well, it's a fine line to balance with anything SELF related, especially when we live in a world that is steeped in patriarchal pedestals and trying to be the BEST and the PRETTIEST or MOST SPIRITUAL. Which is why I like the term SELF-AWARENESS more than anything, because helping our SELF can often translate to ONLY helping ourselves, especially when the Law of Attraction teachings get involved. "YOU CREATE EVERYTHING IN YOUR WORLD" is complete horse shit. I gotta be real people. It is so far from TRUTH that I can't believe so many people take it and run with it and expect to have a full bank account and fancy cars and luxury laptop lifestyles (GAG ME WITH A SPOON...).
Even the term Self-Love is a bit of a fine line... because I know all of my virgo-ish buddies reading this are typically not in a space of self-love, and the pressure of needing to LOVE myself can cause even more self-loathing. Self-AWARENESS leaves space for EVERYTHING, including those darker more shadowy parts of ourselves, (and in turn the reflection of the WORLD and the people and relationships around us), and I don't believe there is any other path to healing than this space of awareness.
I am grateful to some of the leaders who have come before, but I also know it's time to dissect their self-help teachings and find what's working and what is NOT working, and be authentic with the realities of dismantling the patriarchal powers that be, so we can lead more authentic + empathic lives. There is no rule book, or guidebook, no person knows EVERYTHING, or how to do this whole LIFE thing. A real teacher will admit this out of the gates, knowing that it doesn't serve any student to act like a know it all (thats a huge red flag if someone acts like this... because "Knowing it ALL" literally doesn't exist).
As we learn to face our fears of the unknown, and embrace the courage to face the mystery, we can open our being up to true authentic awakening which does NOT translate to HIGH VIBRATIONAL, or POSITIVE ONLY. Awareness embraces all aspects of life, the bright, the dark, the boring, and everything in between.
This takes some intense COURAGE, especially because it transcends that extremism that is so trendy lately. So beware, there may not be a lot of support in your public sphere with this, but knowing that you have this online space here with me, as well as the Empathic Entrepreneurs Group to provide that safe space to learn and unlearn all of the things. ALLLLLL of the things!
This is all grounds for more learning, and there truly is no END game with this work, so when you look into "Self-Help" ask yourself if the people teaching it are making promises that they can't truly deliver on, or if you are the one looking for a fixed solution to "Helping the Self".
Keep asking the questions, and watching your own thoughts and behaviors, and you're on the path of self-awareness, which is truly the mark of major change and healing for self and this world. You are doing amazing, wherever you're at. Keep it up love, you're exactly where you need to be, self-loving or not.