How to find your way in the Self Help World

Argh! So sorry guys for not posting in nearly a month!

I had a brilliant excuse, though. I was in Portugal teaching yoga :D. With no internet access.

This whole “being offline for 2 weeks” thing? I cannot recommend it enough. But more about this some other time.

Right now I want to answer a question posed by my friend today.

Here it is:

with all these self help people on the internet, how do you know which one to follow?

This is my reply. Divider

 

There are, roughly speaking, 39 billion self-help people on the internet, at the time of last counting.

How on EARTH do you choose which ones to follow?

I mean… you are kinda putting your heart on the line here

Most self-help consist of nothing less than healing your heart. Which means you have to open up your heart for it to work, you have to let the “ideas” in.

Opening up your heart to others can be scary terrifying. What if you open up your heart and you let in stuff that’s… less than ideal?

An awful lot of trust is needed for this process to work. That’s one ingredient.

And on the other hand, we need some sort of discerning process.

 

You need both, trust and discernment. And you have to balance them just right.

Here’s a partial how-to guide

 

Let’s start with the easy one first. Discernment.

Logic & reason

Of all the self people on the internet, all 39 billion of them, there will be some people you can just drop.

The people who appear to promise you the Earth and Sky in 3 weeks or less? Yeah…

You know that the healing + transformational process takes time. It takes time not just because you are changing yourself in a deep way, which is scary and difficult enough. But also because, ideally, you are cementing these changes so that they keep on working long after the “deal” is done.

It is possible to make big changes in a short space of time but, ironically enough, the people who are the most capable of helping you achieve them are the least likely to promise you these changes.

That’s because they are in true “integrity” and they know that the BIG changes are ultimately a result of everything being “in the right place at the right time”.

What makes them capable of helping you achieve these BIG changes is their deep knowledge of “how not to push”.

It’s complicated. The point is: if someone is promising you BIG changes… proceed with caution.

Resonance

You are looking for “resonance”. If you are into the hippie stuff, what you want is stuff that resonates with yourself. Stuff that feels true and “right”. Stuff that makes you go “yes”. People who make you jump and say “yes, where have you been my whole life”.

An “energy” thing. A “values” thing. People who help you access the qualities of “safety”, “calm”, “possibility”… a general sense of “ok-ness” no matter what life throws your way.

At least that’s the ideal anyway. In My Case, it’s been more like “ok, I think I can tolerate you enough to read a few more posts”.

Equanimity (or “how to not like someone without disliking them”)

The difficult part will be dropping the people who feel “off”.

If you’re a goody two shoes, you may find that you want to like everyone and find everything good and useful.

The challenge will be in saying “this is just not for me”, without needing to make the people offering it “wrong”, somehow.

Try to practice this. This little mind shift can be a life saver.

When we say “I don’t like these people because they are just WRONG” we immediately have to prove to ourselves why they are “WRONG”.

If instead we say “they are just not for ME”, or “not for me at this moment”, we are kinda free to not have to take in something without needing a “good reason”.

(if you are a theory geek, in Buddhism this concept is called “equanimity” and it’s really hard to grasp)

Trust

OK, now we can look at trust.

I can share with you my own story.

I started off my self help journey with Havi. Who is the most trustworthy person I know on the internet. (And I know a lot of people on the internet.)

And you know what? When I first discovered her, I would distrust her from here to kingdom come.

I thought she was “too perfect”, “too popular”, “too wealthy”…

I kept thinking “you have it all figured out, what do you know about what it’s like to suffer?” (then I discovered that she did know, and yeah, that helped)

It was all “stuff”, of course. My stuff would throw all these things to keep me away from the concepts I needed to resolve it.

This is entirely normal. We usually don’t wake up one fine morning all ready to change most aspects of ourselves.

And some of us “tough nuts” need to be dragged kicking and screaming.

That was me.

So even when faced with the person with the most integrity, with the most knowledge, with the best techniques, I STILL pushed back.

At some point you have to trust

But you can’t force yourself to trust

Trust will come naturally. When you’re ready to open your heart that tiny bit, and when you find someone worthy of being let in, you will trust them.

But for now, know this: trust is also needed.

You can be fantastic at discernment and finding out the best people. The people who are safe and good for you.

But at some point, you’re gonna have to open your heart and let them in. And there’s no way to avoid doing this.

It’s part and parcel of the healing process.

 

Be kind to yourself. Trust in mini-doses.

Trust that perhaps this one person is maybe ok on this particular blog post and no other.

Trust that this one tiny approach might help you right this minute and no other.

It’s a process and it will take as long as it takes. You don’t have to rush it.

 

And last of all, my Very Personal Take.

Please add as many pinches of salt as you want, and only think of this as semi-”tongue in cheek”.

  • Don’t listen to anyone who tries to pass as an “expert”. Who hides behind degrees and titles.
  • Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t open their own heart to you. Oh yes, trust works both ways. If you open your heart to someone who’s not opening it to you, the healing process won’t work.
  • Don’t listen to anyone who pushes you to do things you’re not comfortable with. (Those who say “if you don’t do this now you will suck forever”. Yeah. Those)
  • Don’t give your money to anyone who uses horrible fonts, arrows and signs that read “BUY NOW”. (that’s just a matter of principle… and self respect)
  • Last but not least, don’t trust blindly the people who come from the “establishment”. The “official world of how-to-cure-stuff”. You know who I mean… If they knew how to cure stuff, we would all be healed already.

I hope this helps clarify things.

And if all else fails…

Trust your heart

(And I’m going to end this post before I get so hippie I embarrass myself)