I fell in love with self-help books at the age of fifteen. I think it was the sense of control it reignited in me. The term ‘self-help’ implied that I wasn’t always helpless and a victim to my circumstances but rather no matter what situation I was in, I was always in control to a certain extent. Even if it means my control is limited to how I react to things that are beyond my control. Throughout the years, I’ve read many self-help books from many brilliants authors. Here are 5 tips or ideas that I’ve found to have contributed to my growth as a person tremendously.
- Angels in your evolution (Robin Sharma in ‘The Greatness Guide: Part 2’)
Robin Sharma is a Canadian writer who is best known for his ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ book series. I found his ideas of angels in your evolution particularly fascinating among the three books I’ve read written by him. Robin shares that “each encounter represents a defining moment that gets you to the excellence meant for you”. Whether it’s good or bad, and especially when it’s bad, you need all of it to grow. The very people or situations that irritate, anger, or hurt you the most are what you need to help you learn the most important life lessons to achieve greatness. Maybe that health issue was a wake-up call to really rethink your eating habits. Maybe that break-up is the very thing you needed to start focusing on yourself more. Everyone who is generating stress, struggle and challenge in you might be an angel of sorts, here to help you.
Recall back the worst moments in your life and reflect how they might have indirectly contributed to your well-being. Think about how it has helped shape you as a person and if you would be who you are if these moments were not present. Ask yourself what you have learned from them.
- Refine your intentions (Jay Shetty)
As a bestselling author of ‘Think Like a Monk’, the host of his podcast ‘On Purpose’, and a former monk, Jay Shetty’s purpose in life is to make wisdom go viral. One of the ideas he talks about often in his videos and podcasts would be how he refines his intentions when it comes to doing anything. He encourages each of us to ask ourselves whether we’re planting seeds or weeds. Every morning, Jay takes a moment to look at the myriads of options he has, whether it’s a project or an offer or a deal, and contemplates why he wants to take it up. If the intention is negative such as to feed his ego or jealousy, he doesn’t pursue them while when the intention is positive such as to spread love and have a positive impact on others, he pursues them. So every day he plucks out the weeds (ego, envy, jealousy) in the garden of his life and plants more seeds (purpose, compassion, fulfilment).
It is of course needs to acknowledge that it is privileged to be in a position where we can actually make such choices. However, even if we cannot stick to this 100 percent, we can always apply it in the areas of our lives that we have more control over. This may include the friends we make or how we spend our time. Rethink your intentions and decide wisely.
- They don’t focus on things they can’t control (Amy Morin in 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do)
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, lecturer at Northeastern University, and editor-in-chief at Verywell Mind. In 2013 at one of the lowest points of her life she wrote a letter to herself about all the things mentally strong people don’t do which later manifested into her first and bestselling book. And we’re going to focus on the fourth thing mentally strong people don’t do, they don’t focus on things they can’t control. The problem with trying to control everything Amy says is that it leads to increased anxiety, wastes time and energy, damages relationships, and initiates self-blaming. Instead one of the strategies she suggests is to wisely invest your energy in what you can control. As simple as it sounds, it was a game-changer for me because it was a smarter alternative to feel more in control of your life. The more you let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can, the more you are in control.
If you’ve been feeling like things are going out of hand or at least not going your way and feels like all control is lost, rethink your circumstances. Dive deep and figure out what you still have control and influence over even if it’s only to a certain extent. Just like it was stated at the beginning of this article, there is always something you can control even if it’s just how you react to the things you can’t control.
- The feedback loop from hell (Mark Manson in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck)
Mark Manson is a self-help author of two bestselling books, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ and ‘’Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope’. I’m sure you would have definitely heard of these books for how famous they were when they first came out for their very unique take on life. Mark in his book introduces a concept called ‘Feedback loop from hell’ that basically means “the desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience”. Please take a moment and reread those brilliant lines.
This idea extends from Alan Watts’ ‘the backward law’ that discusses how the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become as pursuing it reinforces the notion that you actually lack it, to begin with. For instance, the more we chase after happiness, the sadder we become. Thus, Mark encourages us to accept the negative. There is a reason we call it the “backwards” law. He explains how if pursuing the positive is negative, then pursuing the negative generates the positive. So instead of trying to constantly achieve something, we focus on what we can learn from the failures. Instead of chasing the notions of “power couple” or “couple goals”, we focus on how to have honest conversations during fights with our partners. By doing so, we end up with our end goal while embracing the struggles that help us get there.
- Building Homes (Najwa Zebian)
Najwa Zebian is a Lebanese-Canadian activist, poet, author and educator. In one of her famous Ted talks Najwa stated,
“The biggest mistake we make is that we build our homes in other people. We build those homes and we decorate them with love and care and respect that we want to come home to at the end of the day. We invest in homes in other people, and we evaluate our self-worth based on how much those homes welcome us. And when those people walk away, those homes walk away with them, and all of a sudden, we feel empty because everything we had within us, we put in those homes. We trusted someone else with pieces of us. That emptiness that we feel doesn’t mean that we have nothing to give, or that we have nothing within us. It’s just that we built our home in the wrong place”.
I’m sure as humans, heartbreaks are inevitable. We all have been in places where we have questioned our self-worth and if we’re ever good enough when people have chosen to walk away from us. This is a reminder that there is nothing wrong with us and that we have just built our homes at the wrong places; in the wrong people.
Self-help tips and ideas only enlighten us. They don’t fix us. It would require conscious effort from us to practice these tips and ideas in our daily lives. And most importantly, it would take patience because change doesn’t come overnight and the quest to becomes a better person is a journey.
Jananie Chandrarao is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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