So, I talked a while ago about toxic positivity and how it was really quite detrimental to mental health since it is impossible to be ‘happy’ all of the time. Well, I’ve been looking at a lot of self-help advice lately and to be honest, have to wonder about these too 🤓. I’m here to tell you: there are some doozies out there.
Hows about a book I found that basically tell you that if you read it…and follow it’s advice to a T, you will have NO WORRIES. None. Zippo. Zilch. Really? OMG! So…if I read this gem and practice what it says, I will literally HAVE NO WORRIES? Well spank me hard. The whole world should be on board with this one. Right?? 🙄
Or, how about this advice which is literally labeled under the title “How to Improve your Life.” One tidbit is to deep condition your hair once a week and another is to have a skincare routine. OK. I’m all for these 2 things. However, I find it difficult to believe that the happiness of my life is dependent on what I do in the shower. After all, I deep condition more than once a week (which is why my hair is often ‘stringy’ but healthy 😳) and my skincare routine is consistent, but hey, I’ve still experienced ‘unhappiness’ at times. But, if you want to try to improve your life, try my skin care routine which consists of the following:
- Wash face with one of the 15 cleansers I have accumulated over the last month because each one said they would make my skin ‘radiant’ after just the first use.
- Tone my face with one of my 20 bottles of Witch Hazel which I hoarded because it contains alcohol and I figured there’d be a shortage during the first quarantine.
- Re-wash my face with another one of my cleansers because now it feels a little tight and ‘sticky’ because of the coveted Witch Hazel.
- SLOWLY open the medicine cabinet in case some of the products are jarred and start tumbling in the sink and select: 1 tube of deep wrinkle cream, 1 jar of retinol, 1 jar of collagen blend, 1 jar of hydralaunic acid, 1 jar of ‘water boost’ gel, and 1 tube of acne medication since I always have a fucking (sorry, ma…😐) zit on my face regardless of my age.
- Looking like a mad chemist in a lab, I begin mixing, rubbing, slathering and schmearing all of the goop from the previous point until my face is covered with 3 layers of ‘stuff’.
- Find one of my 100’s of tubes of Carmex (EVERY single time I’m at Walgreens, CVS, or the ‘General’ I buy one by the cash register 🤨) and then plaster on a nice thick coat like I’m icing a cake until my lips become stuck together if I’m not careful.
Now, looking at this, I can see how my regular skin care routine makes me a better person. So, my sweet peeps…if my life is in the shits and I find myself struggling, I’ll just do my routine a couple more times a day and I’ll be fine and dandy. Phew. 🙄
I like this advice too: “Start working NOW!” Ummmmm. OK. Now? Middle of the night? While I’m on the toilet? While I’m fixing dinner? Just do it? OK! I’ll get right on that.
Another self help goodie that is packaged in various ways is this: “Avoid negative people.” Hmmmm. First, a lot of times I don’t know a person is negative until I’m with them so avoiding them would be difficult unless they had a shirt on that said “I’m a negative person. Avoid me.” (You know…I might just make this shirt…I can see it selling 🙄). Second, what if you work with a negative person? Have one in your house? Have one living next to you? Have one in your class? Have one at church? You have to avoid them all the time? We’re not talking toxic people here…just negative.
So my question is this: why? Why avoid negative people? Why not interact with them and find out why the hell they’re negative? What bee is in their bonnet (perfect title for a self-help book…remember this one, ma)? Maybe we need to learn to get along with all types of people and not live in a Pollyanna bubble. Just sayin’.
Another self-help tip for y’all: “You are your only limit.” Heh? Really? Soooooooo…if I want to be President (and I’m here to tell you I’d be WAY more polite in the debates if I was 🤨 ) I’m my only limit? I’m a middle class woman who doesn’t have any millionaire friends that can start off my campaign with lots of moolah in the coffers. And, if I quit teaching to campaign…then lose (which I undoubtedly would since running my house is stressful enough for me)…I’m outta work? OK! No limits on this girl!
I like this one: “Read a book everyday!” Yes! I love love love to read, so…after I take care of the 8 classes I’m teaching online this semester while starting to prepare for spring semester that will also be online but with different classes I have to develop, get my laundry done, eat and do dishes, take care of Eddie and Dottie, do my daily grooming, water the 50 plants I have, run errands, finish painting the house, mow the yard, trim the bushes, and help ma with stuff, I’ll read a 300 page book today! No problemo.
Maybe this would be easier: “Quit bad habits.” Yes, this is another one I need because I know I got them…big time. Since I was little Professor K in her crib, I have rubbed my upper lip when I’m thinking, worried, stewing about something, etc. It’s a 53 year habit (shutty…) and I don’t think reading 3 words is going to compel me to stop doing it. Great advice? Maybe. Reasonable? No. We all have bad habits. So what? We’re human for piss sakes (see ma, I didn’t say fuck again…aren’t you proud?? 😀).
“NEVER GIVE UP!” This is another common self-help theme out there and is great advice. For some. Not for me though…because sometimes I give up. If I’m working on a project that isn’t going well…that I hate…that is causing me more stress than good…and it’s not a necessary thing I need, I give up on it. Why waste my time? In fact, why is it bad to quit things? Don’t we all have to do that periodically?
Some of you runners out there may know who Paula Radcliffe is…an AMAZING runner from Britain who has set numerous world records including the one for the marathon which she then held for 16 years. Now, in the 2004 Olympics that were held in Greece, she dropped out of the marathon with just 4 miles to go after veering around and trying to start back up after she stopped. People were HORRIBLE to her after this…calling her a quitter and slandering her in the press. Of course, this came from people who couldn’t walk from the couch to the fridge without a break, but anyhoot, they should stand in judgment. So why did she ‘quit’ and disappoint all of her Olympic fans? Two weeks prior she had a leg injury, the anti-inflammatory drugs made her nauseas with her food/nutrients not being absorbed, and the temperature was 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When you run, you tack 20 degrees on the temp in terms of how you feel: so, we had this woman who was injured, sick to her stomach, not fueled well, running a 26 mile race in heat that equaled 115 degrees. How dare she quit. Right?
And finally? “Always let out your feelings.” Now, I’m all for letting out feelings…bottling them up isn’t healthy and pretending they don’t exist doesn’t work either. However, you can’t always let them out when YOU want too. What if your boss upsets you and want to cry and yell? I would kindly suggest you wait until you are out of their office…and earshot. K?
Look peeps. Self-help advice is out there everywhere and to be brutally honest with you, much of it’s crap. Really. It’s just someone taking a few choice words and turning it into something ‘necessary’ that we all have to do in order to be the ‘very best ever.’ You know, my belief is that the more you read ‘self-help’ advice and books, the more you feed into the fact that you aren’t OK like you are. As if having flaws and challenges and bad days is something you should be able to avoid since the advice feeds into you thinking you have to be ‘perfect’…the ‘best’…the ‘most’…etc. all the time. Sweetie peeps, you are never going to be all of that. We are never going to be perfect unless we are the one who can walk on water, and we all have different obstacles, situations, environments, etc. that affect how we are at any given time.
So, here’s my self-help advice for tailored just for you: do the best you can, be as kind as you can, try as hard as you can, cut yourself slack when you need too, and remember that bad times don’t equal bad life. They are simply a part of a regular life and trying to avoid anything ‘bad’ to always feel ‘good’ is not possible on this particular earth. All of this may sound simple and not very exciting, but honestly…I think it’s way more realistic. 😃
5 thoughts on ““Your problem is you’re…too busy holding on to your unworthiness.” ~ Ram Dass”
There have been times in my life when I would have liked to wear a “I’m negative – avoid me” t-shirt…
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I’m really wanting to make one!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
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OMG, I love this post so much. Especially, I love the “let out your feelings” crapola – because it ALWAYS seems like it’s okay for everyone else to let out their feelings but not okay for me to do it. Okay, let’s ignore that I’m a crier and bawling in public is frowned upon – there are still people who avoid me at the park after I melted into the grass and cried till I could cry no more because Maverick was being a complete and total asshole and I couldn’t take any more. And my other favorite? “You’ve been doing this wrong!” Hell, I’ve been doing it and it turned out okay all these years but NOW you tell me it’s wrong? Also, you have way too many skin care products, says the woman who has eye makeup remover and hasn’t worn eye makeup in probably 20 years. ❤
I love this! I have always kind of hated most advice. It’s usually generic or cliche, not specific enough, or doesn’t bother to disclaim the assumptions it is being given under eg. Always letting out your feelings assumes you’re not about to have a temper tantrum while online at the supermarket, or during a performance review meeting with your boss. But they never say that, you know! Self-help advice tends to be uniquely preachy and awful.
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VERY well said!! 🙂 xoxo
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