When it comes to self-help books – I’ll be honest I’ve always had a snooty opinion of those who read them. I know that’s a pretty terrible thing to admit but when I think of a woman reading a self-help book I find myself conjuring up an image of a lonely ‘cat-lady’ type in my mind She has a string of failed romances, lipstick on her teeth, a bad hair cut and shelves full of books promising to change her life. She only needs to accept the goddesses power of the wind into her soul to heal her chakras by bathing in the moonlight with purple flowers in her hair . . . or something like that.
Now if I’ve just described your perfect evening then then more power to you! I’ll cheer you from the sidelines in my PJ’s. I’ve a friend who totally changed her mind and body once she discovered yoga and has since traveled to India to qualify as an instructor and is now teaching full time. For Darren his ultimate de-stress activity is long distance running which is something I can’t even imagine doing. I mean not even for fun but just doing it at all. In any way.
If you can find what keeps you centred and motivates you then I’m all for it so why the negativity when it comes to reading a self-help book, listing to a motivational speaker or attending a workshop?
I’m going to blame Bridget Jones. Okay not her specifically but the Bridget Jones-esc character portrayed in the media who tends to be a single 30’s something, out of shape ball of chaos with an apartment littered with self-help books and yet no clue how to take control of her life. That’s not a a particularly appealing character profile, nor something I’d like to emulate.
So how then have I found myself as 30 something, out of shape women who feels like everyone around her was given some secret cheat code to adulting that I missed out on?
Don’t get me wrong I’m pretty happy and satisfied with my life, I have a wonderful partner in Darren, a beautiful home, great friends and family, a day job I enjoy (mostly) and the ability to take a nice holiday each year. I realise that my current situation would be some peoples end goal and while I’m grateful for what I have but just like Ariel in the little mermaid sang “I want more”.
I’ve found myself wandering down the path of self-help audio books recently and while the category of ‘self-help’ still makes my skin a little itchy I have to admit I’ve really been enjoying them. I stumbled into the Rachel Hollis Rise podcast after seeing an instagram post from one of my favourite crafters – Amber Damask Love who had recently been interviewed not the show.
Like any good fan I downloaded and listed to the podcast and I really enjoyed Rachel’s interview style. At the end of the podcast was a plug for her upcoming book ‘Girl – Stop Apologising’ which hadn’t been released yet and I was curious.
A little googling showed me that this book was in fact a follow up to ‘Girl – Wash Your Face’. I had enjoyed Rachel’s interviewing so much I promptly download a trial of Audiable and used my credits to purchase the audiobook figuring it hadn’t cost me anything so it was fine if I thought it was a load of old waffle.
Here I am a couple of months later and not only have I listened to that first book but also the follow up and another audio book Rachel references by Mel Robbins called ‘5 Second Rule’. I think i’ve become a bit of a ‘self-help’ (yup still makes me cringe) junkie. I’ve not yet turned my life around 180, or become super fit and healthy, or become a millionaire but I have learnt some new techniques and habits to help me on my way.
I’ve tried to reconcile my gut reaction to the category of ‘self-help’ with the knowledge that some of the most successful women in the world are open to the idea that they too need support, motivation and guidance from others. Am I really so obnoxious as to think that I don’t have anything to learn from those who have come before me? Really!
So I’m at the start of my journey . . . and just typing that makes me feel a little silly but it’s true. I won’t be taking every piece of advice from the various books i’ve read but Ian trying to practice some of the tips that feel right to me. To anyone else that shies away or cringes as the thought of self-help books maybe give these a try. I have links below to the books i’ve listed to and would recommend. Feel free to add your own to the comments and to anyone that’s working on themselves either via self-help, further learning or exercise goals I think you are amazing. Just doing something is so much more than you did yesterday and who knows where it will lead.
Addition – Just before posting this blog I spotted an instagram post from a relatively new enamel pin store with a ‘What would Rachel Hollis do’ pin I’ve added a link as I think it’s just perfect and what great timing for me to spot this. If you would like to get one of these limited edition pins you can do so here.