Is All Self Help Wrong?

Most self-help books teach you to do more, change yourself, wake up early, exercise, eat healthy, read, meditate, start a business, be more disciplined, build better habits, and on and on about things you should do, and better ways of forcing yourself to do things that you’re struggling to do. The underlying message being you’re not good enough, you need to change. It’s true you may need to make some changes, but growth isn’t a process of becoming, it’s a shedding of layers, it’s unbecoming. 

The medical system and self-help marketplace are similar in the fact that they treat symptoms and not the root cause. Adding and not subtracting, when instead you need to remove the obstacles in the way that are impeding you from doing what you desire to do, the obstacle being you. The natural state of a human is one that’s happy and healthy, calm and creative, existence being smooth and effortless, not painful and effortful. 

You’re unhappy and trying to do something about it, you pick up a book and it tells you to meditate, eat healthy, and exercise, you start doing those things and notice a slight improvement, but then the pain is back, you start slipping up, eating a little more than you used to, missing the gym more frequently, and falling into other bad habits. This results in even more suffering and you’re back to where you started, you think it’s because you stopped doing what the book said, you think you weren’t disciplined enough, not strong enough, a failure, but you resolve to try again. You repeat this same cycle over and over, repeating the same ups and downs. It seems like you’re fundamentally flawed, maybe you won’t ever be able to fix yourself or maybe you do manage to keep up good eating and exercise habits, and you feel like you’ve made some improvements and your well being is better than it used to be as long as you continue doing what you’re doing, but really it’s not. Just because you take some medication every day it doesn’t mean you’re doing better. The root problem is still there, but now it’s just not as irksome so you can go on killing time till you die. 

That’s the self-help marketplace, a numbing of the pain so that you can go on. What you actually need to do is take a look beyond the symptoms and find out what’s going on. The real reason you are unhappy is that you unconsciously hate yourself and think you don’t deserve to be happy and healthy. All the times I’ve struggled with binge eating food wasn’t because I actually enjoyed it, I actually hated it I felt sick, but that’s what I thought of myself and so I’d unconsciously do it again and again. The same is true for every other pattern of suffering in my life.

When I released all the hate I had towards myself, all the negative ways I viewed myself, lazy, dumb, fat, etc., my life changed. No longer was I creating many of the past situations that would hurt me and remind me of how I felt about myself, no more binge eating, no more struggling to write, no more feeling tired, and all when I shed my beliefs. I then started to perform better in all the things I did, writing, being healthy, playing ball, all without trying, all because I naturally desired to do so. 

If only I could go back in time to tell myself to stop trying to be anything, you don’t have anything to fix, there’s nothing about yourself you have to improve. Just remove the only obstacle in your way, the belief that you aren’t perfect as you are. I always was the person I wanted to be, I just had to accept myself, isn’t that the damndest thing? Isn’t it funny that through unbecoming I became the person I always wanted to be.

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