Why is there such a stigma surrounding self-help books?
How can we begin to embrace our greatness instead of settling for what we think we deserve?
When a moment of creator’s or writer’s block rears its head, I often turn to reading for inspiration. Over the last few years, continuing on my self-reflective journey, I have been drawn to reading self-help books. I realize how much they inspire and speak to me,whatever I am going through, procrastinating on, or planning to overcome.
When I began reading these books, I felt self conscious because I thought something was wrong with me and that I was broken. At the time, I was broken and searching for myself. I was searching for any guidance I could get my hands on, anything to bring the pieces of myself back together. I knew these books would help in this quest and give me guidance. After reading them, applying the parts that resonated with me to my life, and becoming more comfortable in my own skin, I enjoyed venturing through this section. I became excited to see what motivational and thought-provoking books I would stumble upon NEXT!
It’s unfortunate that our society tends to view these books in such an unfavorable light. They can make such an impact in our lives. As we grow into adulthood, there is no how-to guide to tell us what to do, which path to take, or how to live our lives. There is no one resource that we can explore as we embark on our journey. But there are the stories and thoughts of other authors to accompany each of us on our journey. One of my new MUST HAVE resources is a self-help book that I have been dying to share: “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero.
The title alone got me excited to read it! Who doesn’t want to be a badass!?
Sincero is not afraid to tell it like it is with her advice. She makes her readers face challenges that they have been pushing aside and helps them to understand why. This is not your average self-help book, but is also a how-to guide for letting your inner confidence and fearlessness take charge.
As I went back and forth with feeling inspired and frustrated, Sincero’s book was just the balance I needed. She helped prepare me for a kind of shoot I had never done before! -- A major moment for a photographer. As I heard myself agreeing to and confirming a date for the shoot, I was excited and then, seconds later, the fear ensued.
What if I don’t know what I’m doing?
What if I am horrible with this person?
What if I can’t get ANY good shots?
As fear began to cloud my energy, flipping the pages of Sincero’s book gave me the confidence that I needed to push past it. Her chapter on fear whipped me into shape!
“We’ve made being in fear a habit…No matter how intimidating your next great leap forward seems at the moment, it will be a pipsqueak when you look back on it someday. So why wait? Envision your challenges from the future, look back on them from a place of victory, and they will lose much of their power to paralyze you. Our greatest fears are the greatest waste of time” (Sincero, 2013, pp. 171-3).
These simple words were EXACTLY what I needed to hear in preparation for my shoot. She not only helped me face my fears but also reminded me that everything I have done has prepared me for today. We are all capable of greatness, no matter the obstacle, self-doubt, or fear that resides in us. Sometimes all we need is a reminder: Facing our fears can be priceless.
As can be self-love: The importance of loving ourselves was another facet of her book that impacted me. At the end of every chapter, following list of ways to act upon her ideas, was a note to love yourself. One statement stuck with me:
“LOVE YOURSELF - Fiercely, loyally, unapologetically” (Sincero, 2013, p. 187).
This simple statement carries such a strong commitment. It reminds us of the importance of loving ourselves, no matter what and through anything. I practice this everyday; it is a process that never ends, one that we each need to authentically and openly engage with every day. Once we make a habit of loving ourselves, we can start believing in our greatness and acting upon it.
Overall this book was filled with words of inspiration to kick her readers in gear to pursue the life they desire. Regardless of what society says we can achieve, what people in our lives say, or our own doubts, we cannot settle.
We cannot settle for what we think we deserve.
The possibilities are endless.
We have to be determined to achieve our own definition of success.
There is always more to try, more to see, more to experience, and more to achieve. My mother always said that my sister and I are supposed to take our lives a level above her own. And, to me, that means pushing ourselves to strive for more in our lives. Not to get comfortable with a “normal” 9 to 5 job. Not to settle into a life that we aren’t excited about. These are important ideas that I live by.
As we move through life, there will be moments of fear, of struggle, of doubt, and of uncertainty. We must remember not to give into these thoughts and, instead, to push back. Whether we stay on track with self-help books, journaling, or reflection, the most important thing to do is love ourselves as if no one is watching.