Ever since I started my recovery, I’ve been obsessed with self-help books. I love me some Eckhart Tolle and Geneen Roth. I still read their books once a year, but I used to have a constant rotation of self-help books in my bag.
These books helped me become aware of my negative thought patterns and take steps to change them. They were my therapist between visits. They were my most supportive friends. They understood what I was going through and they were there for me without judgment.
After years of self-help reading, I still dabble, but I don’t read self-help nearly as much as I did. Know why? Because I’ve learned that self-help isn’t the answer.
It’s taken me all my life to admit that I need other people.
I am incredibly stubborn, which works to my advantage sometimes when it comes to going after goals and getting through difficult setbacks. That same stubbornness, however, kept me from reaching out for help and guidance when I could have really used it.
Through every stage of my early growth, I resisted help. I didn’t want to talk about my depression and OCD. I didn’t want to tell anyone I was using drugs because I hated who I was. I didn’t want to let anyone know I was in an abusive relationship because that would mean I had acknowledged it for what it was.
I would grit my teeth and tell myself that I just needed to be “strong” enough to do it myself; that it must be my lack of willpower that I needed to fix in myself. Why ask or pay for help when no one else could help me with my broken parts?
I’d isolate myself from others so that they wouldn’t see how hard a time I was having. I didn’t want anyone else to realize that I might need help.
I tried to self-help my way into a full recovery and I failed.
Self-help isn’t the answer. Reaching out, being vulnerable, opening up IS.
It wasn’t until I was forced into getting help from others that my true healing began. People need other people.
You don’t have all the answers. I sure as hell didn’t.
Put aside your ego. Take a deep breath. You don’t have to shoulder all of this on your own.
There are people out there who know how to help. There are people out there who can guide you because they’ve been where you are or they’ve helped people who have been.
You can read all the self-help books you want, but it would take an extraordinary amount of willpower, grit and just unnecessary effort to do it all on your own.
Let people help you. Let them take some of the responsibility off your shoulders. Let us in.
You don’t have to do this alone.
Stay strong, vulnerable, open, humble and real,
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