When Self-Help Sucks

Personal Growth Lifestyle
When Self-Help Sucks

Having recently published my own book with the best of intentions, I wanted to inspire others to be able to self heal and thrive like I have after over a decade of narcissist abuse. But I recently came across a video by a YouTube creator by the name of James Jani, and the video is called The Toxic World of Self-Help. Now, as much as my defenses went up, and when I tell you that I read the title and I felt triggered, I felt like a punch in my gut, my stomach knotted up.

And I was like, Oh damn, what does he have to say? I have to admit I was intrigued. And the reason being is because I myself have definitely found a degree of obnoxiousness within the self-help and personal growth and development gurus personalities. So whether it’s just like the over the top behavior, the kind of never-ending sales funnels that they try to take you down, and some of the lack of authenticity and, and obviously them oftentimes, because, I mean, hey, we’re all human, not even being able to live up to their hype and their expectations. You know, I find it a little bit cringy sometimes not all of them, but some of them. So I decided I had to give it a listen. So today I’m going to dive into a couple of really spot on points from James, his YouTube video, including how the consumption of self-help can become addicting and why that’s bad, which is something that I honestly never thought about before, how the industry leads us on wild goose hunts for the next best happy pill, which is definitely something that I have noticed.

And I’m going to piggyback on how toxic positivity, which is his third gripe about the industry, how toxic, positivity, and buying into that and allowing ourselves to deny our true feelings and emotions actually destroys our most valuable tool for growth, and how you can avoid falling into these traps along your own unique path to self-improvement. Lastly, as you know, I’m going to leave you with one to three thought-provoking questions, which make for great journal prompts. So hang in until the end. So to James’s first point, he talks about how he started his journey to self-help with Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. I admit not a book that I’ve yet read, but I know from what I hear it is legendary. Let me know if you’ve read this book and what your take on it is.

So he said that starting with that book, it began a pattern of reading one self-help book. And then while riding that wave of positivity and motivation, he quickly grabbed the next and the next and the next and so on and so forth until he was just, you know, going down this kind of rabbit hole of self-help books, he had become addicted. He says to the dopamine rush that every book brought him, but like any high, you know, what happens at the end of every high you come crashing down. And James refers to that crash with self-help as action faking. And that’s actually a term that he got from another author and he gives that other credit in his video. So very simply, you know, action faking is doing the things that give the illusion that you’re making process, but you’re standing in the same spot as when you started.

Now, this is nothing new. It’s not shocking. It’s that age-old sticking point, that trips all of us up at some point of being busy versus being productive. And we hear this a lot in business, especially with people like myself that are solopreneurs, um, when they spend a ton of time on things that are kind of just fun or things that don’t really hold any weight. So for instance, they may focus on and celebrate, Oh, I got two new followers on social media, on my social media business account. The followers may not be people that are even within a five-mile radius of their ideal client, but they’re celebrating that instead of focusing their time and their efforts and energy on what can actually be, you know, creating clients or making a sale.

So I actually have my own little experience with this on my journey. I was stuck in the cycle for years, and I talk about it, my book chapter, how words fuck with your head. So what I was in this kind of habit of doing, and it’s something that a lot of us do without realizing it is I was using the word just to convince myself that I needed more of something before I can really chase my dream. So we use the word just to convince ourselves that we need one more thing before we can accomplish our goals. It might sound something like this. Oh, you know, I just need one more blank (insert your perceived fix here) before I can blank (insert your goal here). My personal one was, “I just need one more webinar before I can launch my business”. That word just is so tricky because it implies this feeling of simplicity and something B being within close proximity to what we want or need.

And let me tell you something, this gets especially dicey for my perfectionist friends, with all of the planning, plotting, researching, and mapping that they do, right? But here’s a question. What do self-proclaimed perfectionists and procrastinators both have in common failure to launch. They ultimately end up with the same results for a very long time. And again, for perfectionists, it’s a slippery slope because we’re going through these motions that really make us feel like we have the wind against our back. But as James points out, little to nothing has actually changed. And when that realization hits you, you feel like shit, it almost puts a highlight on, you know, one of your bigger flaws and where you’re screwing up really big time, which is your inaction.

So procrastination under the guise of perfection is the ultimate mind. Fuck. And I’ll tell you why, because you’re doing your homework so to speak, right? You’re being responsible rather than winging it. You’re doing your due diligence. But to James’s point, this becomes self-sabotage. When we fail to get from behind the pattern of consumption and get into the action and the measurable results. Part of that work, the second point that James makes in his YouTube video, the toxic world of self-help points to something that I’m not even gonna lie, it didn’t aggravate me. It annoyed me. And I found it a tad bit hypocritical, particularly because at least for come up during his video, which means our friend James is definitely got no problem with monetizing his channel as he should. It’s a great video. And I encourage you to check it out. He obviously put a lot of work into it. It’s entertaining to watch, and his points are great. He put time and work and effort into it.

Now let’s be honest. We know that the self-help industry is indeed worth billions. And while I’m sure that there are just like in any industry, many in the self-help field who perhaps are not in it with the best of intentions, they may have certain formulas that they go by in terms of creating sales and, you know, kind of enticing us. I don’t believe that all of them are just about the Benjamins or on a power trip. And I think the ones that are really doing a great job of giving themselves away, like, I feel like you could smell their shit from 20 miles away where James is spot on with the idea that the self-help industry needs us and kind of relies on us being broken and preys on it. Okay. Is where he makes the assertion that there always seems to be that new limitless pill that will make us irresistible, make us the best conversationalist in a crowded room of worldly people, you know, that’ll make us the best love or the most put together

mother at pick up and drop off, you know, the hottest gym body on Instagram, the most envied entrepreneur and every new version of that limitless pill gets more and more expensive. And not even like a couple of dollars, like ridiculously expensive. And he does go on in his video to list. And I think even other videos to talk about people that have spent thousands of dollars kind of falling into the sales funnels, have a lot of self-help and motivational speakers. Now don’t get it confused. Like I said before, I fully believe that a person’s valuable time, energy knowledge, the ability to push others into action, inspire, motivate, entertain, all that good stuff. All of that good stuff definitely deserves to be financially compensated for, but truthfully, how many of those limitless pills do we need to achieve our goals? How much of your money do you need to spend on the miracle solutions that you then still must put your time, more of your money, energy, and sweat into implementing. And we know

implementation, especially if you’re talking about business goals, entrepreneurial goals, they cost a few bucks, don’t they? Do you really need to drop two grand on that live event? Or can you perhaps find another way to spend that two grand and put it into whatever goal it is that you’re pursuing? Can you perhaps watch a few of their free webinar content or lower-cost content and then kind of Google your way through Now, I’m actually gonna piggyback off of the third issue that James has with the self-help industry. And that deals with toxic positivity, this kind of positive vibes, only, you know, only people who fart, glitter, allowed nonsense, you know, cause we’re supposed to apparently make ourselves feel better by pushing down and down and deeper into our souls. Any feeling of negativity, any raw emotion until the only thing that comes out when we fart is scented glitter.

Yeah, let’s deny our emotions. That’ll work. I’ll tell you something. And this is from experience. And this is from watching people very close to me and working with people. It is a thin, thin line between positive having a positive outlook and being delusional.

Repeat that again, there is a thin line between positivity and delusion. Now, when my children were learning to identify their emotions, there were pictures of all the kids in the class, on the wall, and they were making faces to go along with whatever emotion the teacher told them to represent. Right? And unfortunately, we know as grown-ass adults handling our emotions, it’s just not that simple. We feel conflicting emotions at once. We bounced between emotions within 10 minutes, or we feel emotions that maybe aren’t considered appropriate for the situation, our emotions though, they’re our body’s way of bringing important information to the surface, to our attention. It’s our body’s way of bringing things that we’re kind of ingesting from our outside world to our attention and how it’s affecting our inner world. And I’m going to tell you if we spent a fraction of our time and energy sitting with our emotions, not judging the appropriateness or inconvenience, we would double our progress in the most valuable tool for personal growth and development, which is our self-awareness, but that’s not what we typically do as it, we have a tendency and this toxic positivity culture, that’s screaming in our face with a Bullhorn.

You got this makes it even easier to treat our emotions like a toddler that’s acting out. We think if we ignore the toddler, the spectacle stop, right? We think that they’ll tire. We think we can bribe the kid into stopping, and that may work once or twice, but we know that until we sit with that child and question and listen, that behavior will only get worse. We’re treating our emotions like a toddler that decides to go off at the wrong time. And then our emotions bubble over to the point where it’s like, someone asks you, Oh, can you please turn off the light? And you just, it sets off the atomic bomb. And then they’re looking at us like, uh, okay. You know, and we are kind of like, Oh shit, where’d that come from?

So we think that this is a normal thing because this toxic positivity culture has us falling for the fake it till you make it philosophy with our happiness and with our fulfillment, I did something many years ago. I was still attending Nassau Community College. And I just, I used to get people that would come up to me and say, Oh, you should smile more. Have you ever walked around smiling just to get into the habit or to start the positivity snowball rolling. Because that’s exactly what I did at one point in college. Let me tell you, I felt like, and I probably looked like the biggest clown ass idiots. You know, the guys that would say, Oh, you should smile more. Even though I was in a great mood, minding my own business, it just proves that clearly some people need to see and prefer to see that artificial smile to make themselves feel better.

Speaker 1: (17:41)
And believe me, it is for themselves to feel better because I’m gonna tell you something. I never had anyone, anyone when I’m walking around and being perceived as needing to smile, more bothered to ask me if I’m okay, Hey, are you okay? Or, Hey, do you have something on your mind? But are just quick to chime in with smile more. Let me tell you something. If you’re out there right now, and you’re listening to me and you need permission to rock your resting bitch face with pride. Here it is. Rock here, resting bitch face with pride, rock your resting bitch face, and know that you are keeping it real with yourself. And then you don’t have to prove your happiness and that you’re also allowed to not be okay.

Speaker 1: (18:42)
And you’re allowed to wear that as well. The hell outta here. So now let’s get to some solutions. So how can you avoid these, some of these pitfalls that we’ve spoken about along your journey to personal growth? Well, first in, with respect to Jame’s first point, which was the kind of addiction that rabbit hole that you could find yourself going into of, of self-help right. Step away from the books, the webinars, the podcasts, the live events, et cetera, and take action. If you think riding the high of the motivation from a self-help book is exhilarating. Do the work and get that first aha moment, uncover that self-destructive pattern, because let me tell you something, fewer things are more addictive than discovering a pattern that you’ve been tripping and falling over for years, maybe even decades getting a hold of it and not even, you know, not even reigning in control on it, but just being able to identify the damn thing sometimes feel so empowering, right? It’s such a moment of self-awareness. You know, it’s so much more difficult to fight an enemy that you can’t see then an enemy that has finally at least revealed itself. Now you’ve got something to work with don’t you now you kind of get an idea of how you can attack it.

Speaker 1: (20:37)
So make a promise to yourself to only move on to another self-help book or webinar or whatever it is, or a combination. Once you begin to regularly execute the ideas from whatever the last book or webinar, whatever the last thing is that you ingested, maybe that looks like if we’re referring to books specifically like he was maybe that looks like one to two books a year or one book a year only. Right? And, and I actually probably should have put this first within that, within the answer for number one, before you even begin, clearly define what it is that you want to improve. It could be many things that you want to improve, but start with one thing, put one foot in front of the other this way, you know, which self-help book that you know, would more than likely benefit you.

Speaker 1: (21:45)
And you’re not getting into this habit of just consuming just for the shits and giggles of consuming just for that dopamine rush. Right? So that’s the solution for the first issue, which was the addiction, the potential addiction. Second pay attention to what the gurus are selling you. And this goes to James’s point about the the kind of sliminess that sometimes exists within the self-help realm. Okay. Some of the lack of sincerity, lack of what the authenticity, that limitless pill that they seem to always come up with a new and improved version of once every six months to once every year. Are you being taught something of substance at a fair price, or are you being sold an overpriced limitless pill only to be told a few months on into that one, that they have a better one that you must have. And let me ask you something.

Speaker 1: (22:56)
If there really was this magic cure, all that would do the work for you, how much do you think it would really be worth? It would be an affordable to most of us, not all of us, it would be unaffordable to the majority of us. Everybody would want a steak on that stock. Okay. A limitless pill, come on. If you’ve seen the movie with Bradley Cooper, you know what I’m talking about, who would not invest in that company? So make sure that you’re not following someone who’s constantly selling you the next best limitless pill, follow the gurus and personalities that resonate with you, that their energy and their spirit really speak to you. And to the third and last point about the culture of toxic positivity, where the only motions that are allowed are happy ones. And then I should be sitting on the podcast, talking to you like this, right? With one corner of my mouth, touching one ear and the other corner of my mouth, touching the other ear. Cause that’s not irritating at all to listen to or to do right.

Speaker 1: (24:16)
Don’t fall for the toxic positivity. Allow yourself the space to be human. That’s what makes us beautiful. The fact that we are not one-dimensional creatures, the fact that we’re ever-evolving the fact that we can go through 10 emotions in 10 minutes and be complicated, right? That’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us beautiful. That’s what makes us interesting. Don’t react while you’re still in the emotion, but seek to understand the message that your body, God, and the universe are sending you. And on a final note, remember this it’s called self-help. It’s called self-help friend. It’s on you to heal yourself. Understand that before you start drowning in information overload and forget why you even started the damn journey to begin with it’s self-help. The self-help isn’t shit without the self putting in the time and the work.

Speaker 1: (25:55)
So I’m going to leave you with three questions today because we covered three major points within the potential pitfalls of self-help and self-help addiction. So the first question that can make for pretty damn good journal prompt, get your pens and paper ready. First question is what’s behind your procrastination. So for example, for me, as long as I was preparing to launch my biz, I didn’t have to do the scary part and actually launch my business, see how that works. As long as I was in planning and prepping mode, I was able to hide behind the idea of being a and being that much closer to being one of the people that didn’t launch to crickets at first, but being one of the ones that had, you know, what the gurus with the business gurus that I would listen to promise you that if you follow ABC and D you can have a 20K launch and who the hell wouldn’t want to have, it’s funny Kate lunch, right?

Speaker 1: (27:11)
It allowed me to feel good about procrastinating and delaying that scary part. So unmanned, ask your procrastination on any one particular goal. Start out with just one goal. Is it fear? When I unmasked my procrastination, it was fear. Have you perhaps gotten really far into a goal that you just no longer feel attached to, maybe somewhere along your journey, you realized that you were not self-aware when committing to this goal and you’ve grown and you realize, and I celebrate this. This is something you should celebrate by the way that you are chasing a goal that does not truly align with who you are, abandon it, jump ship. Don’t wait for a life raft, jumped ship, and congratulations, but could that possibly be your procrastination? And you’re waiting for that kind of, you know, okay. Someone to come along and tell you it’s okay. If you’re no longer attached to that, figure out what you are attached to figure out what does make you light up when you talk about it and go for that.

Speaker 1: (28:42)
What specifically about what comes along with that process of getting to your goal or about actually achieving your goal is causing you to pause. That’s the first question. The second question, being a hundred percent brutally honest with yourself, and this isn’t important. I always mentioned we expect other people to keep it real with us, but oftentimes we are the worst at keeping it real with ourselves. So keep it real with yourself right now with a hundred percent brutal honesty. What’s the ratio of self-help consumption versus self-help practice that you’re currently at. And when I say consumption, I mean listening to podcasts, watching videos, reading books, browsing websites, and blogs, even if you’re on Pinterest, you know, just reading the happy memes for an hour a day, which I actually had a little bit of a Pinterest addition when I first got on it about 10 years ago.

Speaker 1: (29:52)
I tell you right now I have about 80 pins for cooking. I’m lying, actually. I’m full of shit. If I really think about the numbers, I’ve got hundreds of recipes, pinned, cleaning, and organization solutions pinned. And I will tell you this, I’ve probably executed on less than a handful in the 10 years that I have been, you know, just frantically at times, cause it’s, it’s turned into something I enjoy doing just as a little, little bit of a, of an escape, just frantically pinning pins. It’s not like the matrix. Unfortunately, we don’t have someone that can from somewhere else sitting behind a computer tuned into our brain or a patch into our brain and just download how-tos an infinite amount of how-tos like Neo in that movie. He’s all of a sudden operating a motorcycle and, and you know, heavy artillery that he’s never used before.

Speaker 1: (30:49)
So it’s not that easy, unfortunately. So that is question number two, make sure that your consumption ratio and acting ratio makes sense. Number three, and this is the last question clearly define what specifically you want to change or improve. So if it feels kind of like, you’re just kind of picking things from the wind, go by bucket of your life, which again, refers to my book. So you have different buckets, you have your financial bucket, your career or entrepreneurial bucket, your parenting bucket, your relationship bucket, and any other bucket or aspect of life. That’s important to you make a list of your buckets and take a while to reflect and say, what do I want to improve in this one? What do I want to prove improve in that one? And you know me that because self-awareness is my thing. I always say that if you think about fulfilling all of your buckets simultaneously self-awareness is the way to go focus on that larger self-awareness bucket, because once it gets to a certain level, it neatly starts to spill over into all of your other aspects of your life. Oftentimes, simultaneously.

So that is the show for today. I want to know, I want you to email me at lisalatimer78@gmail.com with any “aha” moments that maybe the show brought to you or that you had after the show, you know, share some of your answers to the questions. I love getting feedback. I love building a relationship and just kind of seeing what you’re going through and PS, I am still going through it as well. We are ever-evolving that doesn’t change. You’re always gonna learn something new and don’t forget to subscribe for a monthly Roundup of the best from the podcast in a digestible nugget. Trust me, it is a once a month thing. I don’t have the time to be all up in your inbox three times a week. Maybe once I get an assistant, if you want me that badly, we could set something up, but for now I just can’t do it. But if you can’t always listen to the podcasts and emaill sometimes it’s just easier. I can definitely do once a month. And also friend me up, hit me up on Twitter, Instagram at Lisa.Latimer78 and Facebook and YouTube. @ Personal Growth Lifestyle. And while you’re at it, why not grab my Amazon bestseller? That’s priced at $0.99 cents.

Okay! Don’t worry. I aspire to one day be a guru that can sell you a $5,000 limitless pill! The name of the book is “Who the Fuck Are You?! Get Self-Aware to Stop Getting Your Ass Kicked and Live a Kick-Ass Life. That’s it for episode three, you know, what is this episode or episodes? Am I in episode two or episode three? I’m confused Cause I had done an introduction episode. Anyway, this is either episode two or three, you’ll figure it out! I’m Lisa Latimer, and I’ll talk to you again on the next week’s episode of Personal Growth Lifestyle. Be great. See you lat

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Show Host

Lisa Latimer self-awareness coach and podcast host.  



Lisa Latimer

Show Host

Self-Awareness Coach, Author, Solopreneur, and Homeschooling Mom of 2 kiddos.

After self-healing from over a decade of toxic relationships, empty friendships, and rocky relationships with her family, Lisa Latimer knows what it takes to retreat within yourself to create the fulfillment you crave in life and business.

This Hempstead Long Island girl brings her combination of street smarts, heart, and unique perception on every episode of Personal Growth Lifestyle Podcast to help you cut through the BS and get the results you want in life and business.

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