- You punch back(not literally of course!)—you react off the cuff and say something that may, momentarily give you a sense of relief (p.s. this never works)
- You pretend it didn’t hurt and self medicate with alcohol, food, shopping or other such feeling stuffing activities. Or my favorite . . . . saying “I’m fine” (when you really feel like crying, screaming or curling up in a corner)
- You allow the feelings. You sit with it and accept it. Then you kindly ask that voice what it wants. You hear it out. And then you let it know it isn’t running the show. Then—you tell the truth about it all—that you are loved and the universe always has your back.
Self help is great in some respects and in others, it can be frustrating, confusing and jut plain wackadoodle.
It’s not that I don’t think it has merit (I am a self help author and coach after all : )
It’s that there are a few central beliefs that are thrown around in the self help world, that may trip people up.
They may actually make you wanna pull your hair out and scream profanities at the universe.
We start to hear them so much—that they are reduced to catchy new age slogans that we sort of tune out after awhile.
You learn about the “manifest your dreams” thing. You study it. You get excited about it. You read more books about it, maybe attend a workshop.
You’re hopeful. Excited even.
And then it doesn’t work.
You still don’t like your job.
You still feel disconnected.
You still don’t have six pack abs, stacks of gold or endless youth and vitality.
And you certainly don’t feel like you’re manifesting your dreams.
So you decide that—
Self help must not work. That woo-woo stuff must be a bunch of b.s.
And you scream profanities at the universe.
I get it. I’ve been there.
If you follow the self help or spiritual growth world—there’s little doubt you’ve heard the following sayings. But as with anything in life, let’s look at them with a curious, open mind and make sure they are truly of benefit to us—and not actually holding us back or a source of frustration (an energy that doesn’t help us to attract what we want)
8 self-help beliefs that may do more harm than good—
1. Everything happens for a reason—Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe some things happens, just because they do. Maybe we don’t need to try to connect ourselves to horrible things, and internalize that we deserve it, or we attracted it. Maybe some things just happen, regardless of our energy, our horoscope or how the planets are lined up. Maybe the only reason it happened is for us to learn to maintain our vibration, no matter what (very good idea indeed)
2. Ask and it is given. Maybe everything we ask for, isn’t given—in exactly the way we ask for it…. Maybe, as the Rolling Stones say—”You can’t always gets what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”
This, I found to be spot on. While I genuinely believed that winning millions in the lottery was not only possible, but highly probable, it still didn’t happen. But what did happen, is that I won the “life lottery” in so many more meaningful ways than just a mountain of money (but yes, the prosperity showed up too : )
3. You get what you give (or you attract everything to you based on what energy you give out in the world) Mmmmmm, as much as Abraham Hicks tries to explain why young kids get horrible diseases, and why traumatic things happen to innocent souls—I don’t buy this one all the time.
And, it’s another potential black hole for guilt. If all these bad things happen to me—then I must have deserved it, right? This one, we need to take with a grain of salt and be easy on ourselves.
Yes, I do believe we are energetic magnets. I do think there is great value in learning to master how we feel and what we think. I also believe that there are certain things that fall out of our ability to explain, or make sense of. And the best thing we can do is get back to a place of feeling good, feeling better and being playful, deliberate and light about our energy, no matter what happens.
4. Don’t do it if it doesn’t feel good. I am pretty sure cleaning toilets won’t ever feel good to me. Or paying taxes. But I do them anyway. I like not being in jail and having a clean toilet! And even beyond those trivial things—there are the larger growth phases we may go through in life, that don’t feel good. But when we move beyond our comfort zone, feel a bit of the uncomfortableness—the gifts that are on the other side are worth it.
5. Live just for the moment, just for the now. As a parent of an 18 and 20 year old, to tell them to only live for the now and today—would be leaving out a big part of it. Yes, I get the idea behind this one. Be present. Enjoy the now. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my “now” is pretty amazing because a few years back, I planned ahead, thought about my future and set things in motion to make sure my “now” would be what I wanted it to be.
Sometimes you gotta live for tomorrow a little bit as well. It’s not just about now. It’s about setting the intention to have a succession of successful and pleasing “nows.” That requires we think ahead, plan ahead and create a vision for what we want our tomorrow to look like.
6. Never say never. I am never going to intentionally eat insects. Never. Never going to jump out of a plane. Never. I will never again spend so much of my energy on being angry or arguing over pointless things. There are things I know I will never do again. It’s ok to say never when you’re that clear. Clarity is good.
There is good intention behind all these beliefs. And there are aspects of each, that I believe to be absolutely true.
But the main point we need to remember here is this—
Lets not be sheeple!!! (see definition)
Believe it because it feels right and adds value to your life.
We gravitate towards self help to be helped.
To feel better. To manifest our dreams. To feel loved and connected.
We reach out to self help to . . . get help!
So if it isn’t helping, then move on or take a good hard look at YOU.
Maybe it isn’t the saying that doesn’t work. Maybe it’s old beliefs, ways of thinking and feeling that are tripping you up.
Maybe you do create your reality through your energy—but simply understanding what that means, isn’t enough.
It has to be lived.
And it has to be felt, known and believed in such a way that there isn’t an OUNCE OF DOUBT.
AND THAT, my dear friend—takes patience, time and commitment.
But that’s a whole other topic (and post)
Remember—it takes us decades to learn ways of reacting, feeling and thinking in the world that maybe DON’T work in our favor.
So let’s give ourselves a little break, be patient and acknowledge that it may take a bit more that a workshop, a book or one online program—to change something in our life.
Self-help and personal growth are merely tools we can use to get closer to what we want in life.
But ultimately any of those tools, beliefs and online workshops, aren’t worth a dime if your aren’t going to make a conscious choice to change the thing you want to change.
SO IT COMES DOWN TO A CHOICE.
You have to consciously CHOOSE to change.
But how cool is that?
It’s ultimately, your choice.
Your choice how your life looks + feels.
I recently dropped out of a 30-day program, called Whole 30.
It’s like the caveman diet on steroids.
I made it 9 days. Nine days of no dairy, sugar, alcohol or white carbs, plus about a million other things that were on the naughty list (including hummus and legumes……WTH?)
So, by day 8 I was cranky. No, I was bitchy.
It wasn’t a big deal to eliminate a few of those things, namely sugar, alcohol and dairy. But no quinoa, hummus or brown rice?
No thanks, food police.
It started out feeling like a good way to reset after an enjoyably indulgent holiday season— but slowly morphed into feeling like a walk down deprivation lane.
There is a BIG difference between a feeling of deprivation versus a healthy choice to self regulate something in your life (except for the super bad things, but I will assume if you are here, reading this, you are already healthy enough to know you can’t regulate a healthy amount of crack, cigs or mountain dew ; )
In the world of psychology, self-regulation refers to the ability to self manage potentially disruptive emotions and behaviors.
Ideally, we all learn to self regulate (consciously choose) things in our life—food, time, people, our own energy and our overall life choices.
This is where most people end up (hopefully).
We know what we love, know when to say no and when to say yes. It’s common sense for most us, unless we are dealing with addictions and more serious problems than an occasional sugar binge.
We are grown ups about our choices (most days anyway).
And that doesn’t mean we don’t slip. Of course we do.
But it probably doesn’t mean we go as far as drinking a couple bottles of wine on our own, or eating a whole cake in one sitting.
And even then, if we do—we get right back in there and fix it if we are on the path to being conscious.
We own the mistake and aim to not go down that road again.
We get back in the game and choose things that FEED our alignment in life (feeling good, healthy, connected, loved, happy).
Whereas self-regulation is a conscious choice to create a healthy boundary or limit with something (with the main focus on gaining something positive from that)—deprivation has an energy of feeling forced, like we must—or else. It feels restrictive, lacks freedom and doesn’t feel like the main focus is on a gain, but on a loss.
Deprivation isn’t an energy of allowing (and we want to be in an energy of allowing in order to manifest what we want).
Also—when you venture into the “I feel deprived” zone—it can trigger the desire to go the OTHER way, and overindulge in the very thing you are depriving yourself of.
I noticed this with Whole 30. It didn’t feel like a healthy self- regulating—it felt like deprivation and I actually felt unusually hungry all the time, even though I was eating plenty.
Maybe some would say I wasn’t strong enough, didn’t push through the discomfort. That maybe I needed to tough it out.
No thanks. I don’t play in that world. I play in the world where I stay aligned with my truth, feel what feels right and follow that.
I’ve pushed enough.
I’ve paddled my canoe upstream enough.
I like the downstream flow better.
It’s easier, more peaceful and way more scenic.
Trusting our inner guidance is where it’s at.
Otherwise, we are living a lie—and we know right where that leads us—to 2 bottles of wine and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s : )
There is no point in denying yourself pleasurable things…just because someone else says it’s the new best thing!
The new, best thing changes all the time, doesn’t it?
So I have a better idea—do your best thing.
Self regulate where you need to. You know where that is.
If you don’t, then get help from someone who can show you how to find your healthy, conscious boundaries and limits.
But if you’re really committed to living a life that’s more of a flame than a flicker—don’t dim that fire by disallowing things that you know make you happy and bring pleasure.
The real kind. Not the transitory, quick fix pleasure. Or addictions that masquerade as healthy pleasures.
As always, this is about you getting very clear about YOU—your desires, your dreams, your challenges and your truth in life.
This isn’t about some silly diet, following what everyone else does, or a rigid way of being in the world.
It’s simply about being you. And listening what feels right for you.
It matters because you’re robbing yourself of your truth if you adhere to things that don’t truly align with who you are.
It’s super dorky, but it’s true—you gotta be true to you.
Choose you. Choose to say YES to what feeds you (in more ways than just food).
And be ok with saying NO to what doesn’t nourish your soul.
Now I am off to have some cheese : )
p.s I am not anti-Whole 30. It just didn’t work for me. But I have seen it work for many people who need a reset, from a dietary perspective. I know in some situations, it really is a great program. I have been athletic and super healthy all my life, so I didn’t need to lose weight, nor do I have bad eating habits. So for me, this just wasn’t my thang. I also am a recovered bulimic and this started kicking in negative ideas about some foods being “bad.” From an energetic standpoint, it wasn’t in my best interest to force myself to continue. But I do think the program has value for certain people.
Yesterday I spent the entire day writing—yet ended up deleting it all. It sucked.
It felt off. It wasn’t clear and I was tip toeing around what I really wanted to say.
And I am not a good tiptoer. I like to dive right in to the meat of the matter. That’s my energy.
But yesterday I was tiptoeing, rather than being in my truth.
I wasn’t getting to the heart of the matter, saying what needed to be said and moving on.
And what happens when we do that?
We get bitchy, confused, foggy.
We complain, eat too much, drink too much and come up with all sort of excuses and justifications as to why we aren’t in our truth.
We spend way too much time on Instagram or FB wasting time looking at other peoples lives. We hide.
And the cost, aside from that feeling of being “off” is that it’s soul sucking.
Yep, it’s soul sucking to be disconnected from our truth in life.
Ultimately, if we stay in that space for too long—it robs us of our joy, connection, passion and health.
And being in our truth isn’t always an easy road, as well. Because sometimes that means you may offend people, they may not like what you have to say and they may judge you. They may be threatened by you standing in your power. It may make them feel a whole slew of things, that in the end—aren’t your responsibility.
People may not like you.
So what if they judge you. Move ahead anyway.
So what if they make fun of you and talk behind your back. Speak your truth anyway.
So what if they don’t want to be your friend anymore, or stop contacting you. They aren’t a friend anyway. Friends love you—the real you. Not the “you” that conforms to who they think you should be, what you should say, or not say. If they are really supposed to be in your energy vortex—they will be there.
Otherwise . . . next.
Just be you.
It’s more than enough.
Sometimes life just gets messy (as in red-hot mess, messy)
- Why are we even here if it’s such a struggle?
- Why do we get on such a great life high— only to have shitty things happen?
- Why cant it just be easier?
- Why are people so insensitive (or worse)?
- Why can’t we all just be born with lasting heath, endless supplies of money and unquestionable values, morals and common sense?
- You can see every problem a gift. You can see perceived problems as beautiful opportunities for an even deeper sense of acceptance, love and faith. You can see your health issues, your money issue, and your relationship issues—as a great big chance to get super honest and real about what you are truly feeling and thinking in life. It’s a chance to be 100% accountable for your energy.
- Or there’s always choice two. Choice two is to stay stuck, give into the problem, believe it and go down the rabbit hole of despair, disease, distrust and fear. Choice two is the one that perpetuates the lie that we are powerless. Choice two, if we don’t learn from it and turn it from foe to friend—is the one that can wreak havoc on your otherwise incredible life. This choice moves you further away from the life you want. It’s simply the choice to survive (or nose dive) get by, exist and feel more as a victim in life.
“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
So I’m not really going to write about the art of being a whiner, in the sense that I really think it’s an art—and to be appreciated or revered like the Mona Lisa.
Rather, I want to whine about the whiners.
And if you don’t know what the official definition of a whiner is, see below and thank you to the almighty Merriam Webster—
- a person who makes frequent complaints usually about little things
I think we could expand that definition to include big things as well. There are plenty of people who make a habit out of whining about the big things—taxes, politics, environmental and social issues, etc.
But the MAJOR difference I see between whining and constructively bringing awareness to “big” topics —is that whining generally doesn’t involve any sort of solution and it tends to be a repetitive pattern–sort of like a broken record.
I mean, most of us don’t LOVE taxes, but is whining about it 24/7 really doing anything? No it isn’t.
Yes, we can bring awareness to important topics, but in order to fix a perceived problem—we have to quickly switch our predominant focus (vibration) to solution based thinking.
The truth is—we’ve become a society of chronic whiners. And why is that? We have more “stuff,” more supposed freedom and more choices than ever before—yet we whine, we whine and we whine a little more.
We complain about little things like our iPhone reception, the horrible wifi connection, the traffic, how much we don’t like our ______our_______and our________. And we complain about the larger, much more pressing issues—but it seems few actually get out in the trenches and do something about it.
We like to complain A LOT for a society that supposedly has A LOT. So . . . .maybe it’s not the stuff that makes us happy (big hint).
Or maybe it’s that the complaining is actually a pretty big clue that our lives are—
- out of balance
- not appreciated enough
- or a big combination of both
The point is—if you care anything about living a life that is energetically awesome, joy filled and full of things you love—whining won’t be instrumental in getting (or keeping) you there.
Whining ruins things. Whining makes you feel icky. It is an insidious little jerk that winds up sucking the sparkle and light from your soul.
So, what this article is really about isn’t the art of whining—it’s about the art of appreciating.
Because appreciating is really the opposite energy of whining. And appreciation is what gets you happy, healthy, abundant and just basically like a puppy frolicking in a spring meadow full of flowers (I know, it’s dorky, but isn’t it a cute visual?)
Here are 4 simple tips to turn a bad case of the whines into a better case of appreciation and gratitude (because this is what gets you the goods)—
- Pay attention. Most people are super detached from who they really are and how they are showing up in life. Choose to pay attention to the overall vibes you are putting out into the universe. Committing to becoming more aware of what you are offering is critical.
- Notice patterns and major “themes” that you tend to repeat. Do you manage to feel a great deal of gratitude in certain situation or at certain times? And in other situations, notice it heads south into the deep, dark abyss of whiner-land? Note those times that you feel deep gratitude and appreciation and—DO THAT MORE. And note those times you head towards the dark side and—DO THAT LESS.
- Appreciation journal. Create an appreciation journal and before you go to bed every night and write down what you appreciate in your life. If you’re too tired or lazy to do this—go back to step one and start over. The more you find to appreciate, the more to appreciate will find you.
- Practice, commit and repeat. Turn these simple few steps into a new habit. It only takes about 30 days to change a behavior and the same amount of time to create a better habit.
You can’t fix a problem by putting the majority of your energy and focus on what’s wrong. You fix a problem, big or small (world hunger or a hangnail)—by focusing on the solution and then bringing action and appreciation into the mix.
Is it idealistic (or nearly impossible) to try to find something to appreciate in the face of something painful or horrible? Yes, it can be. But it’s the key to being able to change it. Plus, it just feels way better than staying stuck in feeling bad, powerless, frustrated, angry or resentful.
Let’s choose to create habits and ways of being that support living beautiful lives—lives that we find more to appreciate and be grateful for than we do to complain about.
Lives that our dear grandmas would be proud of.
Here’s to you! I know you will choose wisely.