I’ve been a student of self help for decades. As soon as I was an adult out on my own (ish) I came face to face with the fact that my problem is that I am a messed up human, not that I am being raised in a family of 5 kids, or that I live far away from everything, or that I didn’t have enough clean white socks to wear without fighting my sisters for them. When I was young I felt like if I could just live on my own, the problems I had would just melt away. Oh the innocence of children.
What I realized was that we take our baggage wherever we go. From one house to the next, or moving across the country, or world. We take it from relationship to relationship, job to job. We are still ourselves, and if we don’t work on what is messing us up, we stay completely messy.
A few months ago I went to Barnes and Noble and found myself, yet again, staring at the “self help” section. I stood there, staring. I could feel heat building in my chest, my belly, my legs. My head felt thick and hot. I was getting so angry, and all I was doing was looking at book titles. I was livid at the concept of self-help.I wanted to reach it, to be there, to know. I wanted to just finally KNOW, dammit, what I need to do/think/try/experience/adjust to be more joyful. To live life in the present and to stop feeling so stuck all the time.
I’m realizing now, that I needed the path I was on, that I am continuing on, to help me reach this place. I’m right at the beginning. We are raised to think we’re somehow supposed to have it all figured out at 5, or 14, or 18, or 24, or 30, or whatever age. We’re pretty hard on each other, on each of us, in the struggle. My last post for heaven’s sake, was about how hard it was to teach a group of 5 year olds this year. They are amazing. They just haven’t figured it out yet.
Ok, so I’m at the beginning. I haven’t figured it out. But I’m stepping into a new place, and I can feel it in myself. It took the decades of books I devoured, it took podcasts, audiobooks, conversations, thousands of dollars of therapy over 20 years, friendships, experiences, love. It took a lot and will take more. I am ready.