My mom called me the other day and asked what I'd like to do with all my self-help books. All 987 of them (OK, realistically, it was actually more like 100, but you get the idea). They were all of the relationship books that I left at her house when I finally had the courage to head off for California to follow my dreams. I didn't have the space to take them with me, and couldn't bear to get rid of them—they had been such a good friend, so supportive during some of the darkest times of my life...such a shoulder to cry on. "Oh, those books?" I said. I'd forgotten I'd kept them all. "Would you be ok if I donated them to the library?" she asked. Yes, of course; I didn't need them anymore. Hopefully they'll find their way to a lonely heart who they can help as much as they helped me. When Self-Help Books Backfire
And then an interesting thing came out of that conversation. As I thought about all those books, all the money I spent on them, all the time I spent reading them; something clicked. I realized that no book in the world, no matter how good, how insightful and relevant and personal it might be, can instill the change that's needed without you being ready to make that change from within. Yes, I read all those books and yes, I now have a relationship blog myself...but I know from first-hand experience that me writing these words on these pages, and you reading these words, will not create any kind of change in your life. I know what it's like to get it on paper and to read something and be saying to yourself, "I know. That's true, that's me. That's exactly where I'm at. That's exactly what I do. That's me! She's writing about me!"
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You see, the thing is that change doesn't happen because I write about it, or because you read about it. Or because someone who's been in a similar situation as you are right now, who gets it, says she knows what you should do to make it better, and tells you what you need to do. Even if you realize she's right, and you need to do it. Because of the 987 books I read on the subject, none of them brought the man of my dreams to me. None of them changed my life for me. I had a ton of "aha!" moments with every book I read where I saw my situation and myself mirrored in the pages, along with the prescribed actions that I should take to change that very state of affairs for the better. I knew they were right, that I should do those things. But it wasn't until I really understood, inside, in my heart, that I was ok, that I didn’t need a man to make me ok, that I was able to forget all of the subconscious programming. The programming that told me there was something wrong with me, that I needed a man to pick me to make me worthy, to prove to myself or anyone else that I have worth because someone chose me. And getting to that point was a whole journey that no relationship book could have replaced. But what those books did for me, that was invaluable, was to provide me with insights as I was already ready for them, inside at the deep heart level. As the Buddhist proverb says, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. 10 Tips For Finding Love In the New Year
Next: Don't expect to change everything overnight...
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