With the best intentions, self-help gurus want their audience to be empowered and feel like they can make changes to improve their life. Since I was given the book, “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay at twenty-three years old, I have been on a path of becoming a better me and to find happiness in the world. Eventually too much inner reflection can come to a point of inner bullying. The part of you that wants to heal transforms into an abuser, frustrated that you will never get it all together.
Awakening from unconscious behaviors and knowing that you have a choice to make more empowered decisions is wonderful. However, many with low self-esteem armed with the knowledge of their "inner blocks," use self-help as a way to continue to beat themselves up for not getting it right. Although the movie, The Secret, was a great introduction to the power of thought, I am not sure everyone was ready for it. There was a reason they kept it a secret so long in the first place.
Being single into my forties and with over twenty years of personal development under my belt, I was a victim of self-help abuse. Still single at 40 years old, I thought I must be doing something wrong. Knowing I had the power to change my destiny only made matters worse because I couldn’t blame outside forces for my loneliness. I was left to blame myself.
Even after I was in my ideal relationship, I then turned to the money mind masters to attract unlimited wealth. When the money didn’t flow as effortlessly as they promised, I again thought that there was something in me that needed to be fixed. Instead of being empowered, I felt like I learned nothing and believed I must be less evolved spiritually to not be able to generate magical checks in my mailbox.
The critical piece that is missing in most “you can live an amazing life” programs is that this process speaks directly to the ego and having external things like a partner, riches, fancy car, and grand mansion. There is a subtle implication that if you don’t have these things, there is something wrong with you that needs to be cleared.
I believe that anyone has the power to manifest what they want in life. However, the idea can serve as a drug for the ego that will never be satisfied and will always want more. If you fail at getting what you want, you feel bad. You are so attached to the external that you forget your own true unlimited nature.
Think about being in a dark room with a white carpet. You are holding a flashlight and all you see is this one tiny spot of dirt. You focus on the spot, hate the spot, want to fix the spot and all of your energy is going toward what is wrong. If you just turned on the light in the room, you would see that the carpet is mostly white and perfectly clean. You don’t have to fix the spot, you just need to refocus your attention.
To no fault of the teachers, the ego will use self-help and even spiritual development as a vehicle to limit your focus on what’s wrong. You will constantly think about what you don’t have and, if you can find what is stopping you, your dreams will come true. The ego LOVES self-help because it gets to receive all the attention. Meanwhile, the powerful unlimited part of you is ignored.
To be free of the ego’s grasp and get off the self-hate treadmill, choose to be happy and grateful for the life you have now. It is the natural order of the universe to expand and grow so you can hitch a ride on that joy wave as your life feels full, instead of being held down by the ball and chain of the ego dangling shiny objects to keep you distracted from your real power.
When asked if his fortunes were in contrast with his spiritual beliefs, a famous Buddhist, Ram Dass said, “You can have things, you just can’t let them have you.” You will always know when you are in the ego’s grip when you are not satisfied and feel that something out there will make you happy. There is nothing wrong with wanting a healthy relationship and a luxurious lifestyle, but when you feel terrible about yourself when you don’t have those things, therein lies the real problem.