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I'm OK, You're Not So Hot

 article about self-help

This article belongs to Self-help theme.


Seeking self-help implies one has a self-problem, and who doesn't? Too shy, too fat, too skinny, too nervous, not artistic enough, too autistic'the list goes on forever--nobody is perfect. Funnyman Jim Carey was depressed most of his adult life. Supermodel Heather Locklear thought she was ugly. Billionaires go to therapists. What chance do the rest of us have when the people we look up to are falling apart?

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Hillary was to imagine the most influential person in her life and act as if she were her.
Most self-help books employ a technique called visualization. The theory goes that if you cannot imagine the behaviour that you want to make a key part of your personality then how can you achieve it? A recent Obama remark about Nancy Reagan and séances, was actually derived from comments made about Hillary Clinton and her infamous séance in the White House. As usual the media got the story wrong. Clinton had hired the amazing Jean Houston to guide her through a visualization technique. Hillary was to imagine the most influential person in her life (live or dead, it doesn't matter when you use your imagination) and act as if she were her - in this case Eleanor Roosevelt.

You don't need Ouija Board to imagine yourself as somebody else. When one contemplates the infamous bracelet W.W.J.D. and considers what would Jesus do before acting, they are employing the same type of manoeuvre that Clinton got ridiculed for.

Born out of the fourth wave of psychology--and the resurrection of the new age movement of the 1960s--self-help books have found their way into most American households. It is telling that self-help books for dogs are now bigger sellers than ones for humans. So maybe we have finally realized that books will never solve our problems, but perhaps they will solve our pet's neurotic lives. "I know I'm a total mess, but you, Fido, have real problems!"

Meditation is often a tool that self-help books will ask one to consider. Slowing the brain down for a moment, weeding through the thousands of mental distractions that distort our sense of self, and seeking a quite pasture to contemplate the important things in life - can be some of the effects of meditation. Of course, the Pope believes meditation to be a tool of the devil and there's only one self-help book he believes doesn't lead one down a dark path. And it's not Hustler.

My girlfriend and I are finally on the same page. . . of different self-help books. She's reading I'm Doing a Good Job, You're Not, while I'm reading Thanks for Dinner, Now Get Me a Beer. Different strokes different folks. Whatever gets you through the night and helps you cope during the day is the aim.

TM, Rolfing, Men are from Mars, Iron John, Eckhart Tolle, Krishnamurti, Ashrams, Toltec Philosophy, Shamanism, The Power of Magic Mushrooms - there are as many avenues to self-help as there are seekers. Since Adam and Eve were branded as flawed by their maker, people have been on a quest to perfection. Perhaps if we were able to just accept our selves as we are, we could begin the process of healing. But that's not as easy a task as it sounds.

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Change your behaviour patterns and you change your belief systems.
Harvard University recently completed a study that showed that we speak thousands of words to ourselves a minute. And if the bulk of those words are along the lines of, "I am stupid. I am worthless. I am a loser," then our cognitive brain kicks in with reasons why we are stupid, worthless and a loser. Change the data in and you can change the data out. We are locked into robotic functions that run 24/7 and cannot be changed without some major crisis, transcendent experience or focused attempt. Change your behaviour patterns and you change your belief systems. Change your belief systems and watch the world change. No wonder the Pope has such reservations about meditation and "new age" techniques.
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The path to self-help is a journey.

The most important thing to realize about self-help is that there is no one surefire way to feel better about yourself. Everyone wants you to buy their book, take their class, convert to their religion, take their pill - if any one of those things worked for everybody we would all be doing it. The path to self-help is a journey. There is no final goal of perfection - that is an illusion. And it's a daily chore, accompanied by tremendous backsliding. The things that haunt us in the deepest recesses of our mind, will always be there, perhaps out of sight, waiting for a moment to resurface. "Hello Loser, remember me!"

One of the most popular self-help books on the market right now is called The Secret. Let me save you the money. Be happy, think happy thoughts, stay positive, look for the good in people, find common ground, take responsibility for your action and thoughts, don't take everything personally - if you can do that you're on your way to better days. Yes, it was all summed up in that goofy song, Don't Worry, Be Happy. So simple, so hard. Good luck on your journey. Feel free to let me know how it's going.


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