Refuse Self-Help


Self improvement implies there’s something inherently wrong with you.


II recently had a proverbial “ah-ha” moment while reading one of my favorite spiritual guides a Course in Miracles.

What I found out:
The pursuit of perfection can make you overwrought with anxiety.

I’ve tip-toed around this concept in the past – thinking I understood the potential benefits of self help rituals. I thought I was enlightened, ahead of the curve, on my own leading edge.

Yes, I told myself “THIS is how we grow + step into our greatness.”

Imagine countless self-improvement books + mantras.
Carefully constructed exercise regimens, notes taped to my bathroom mirror + scented prayer candles.

On the surface these are all good resources yet, my intentions behind them were flawed.

My perspective was faulty.

Because with every new chapter read, flame sparked, note taped
I sent out a silent, somewhat unexamined prayer that sounded like this:
Make me good enough. Worthy.
Help me fix it, change it. Disavow it.  Make me more than what I am.Because more must be better than what I am right now.

Flash forward:

I’m exhausted. All these freaking candles + I’m still me.
Oh wait. (light bulb goes off)
I’m me. I said it out loud. “I’m me.”
(G’head. Say it out loud. Feel the energetic shift pulse through your body.)

This is me. This is all I will ever have. Ever be.
When all else fails, this is the body, the breath, the spirit I rely on.
And I am relentlessly trying to “fix” her. Add “more” to her.
When what I really need to do is dive in even deeper.


The relentless preoccupation with “improvement” suggests there’s something inherently wrong with you. It implies that your full potential is only available IF you change something FIRST.

Talk about starting off on the wrong foot.

There will always be something “more” we want to add to us. A skill we want to refine or a goal to achieve. This is the evolution of living. But what if we shift our approach?
Freedom is in the perspective you choose.

Instead of….
Fixing it, we refine it.
Changing it, we discover it.
Dismissing it, we dive into it.

Self improvement, then, makes a cataclysmic shift.

We STOP trying to get fixed.
We choose to steep ourselves in awareness by getting intimate with the very thing we want to “make better.”

The new vantage point becomes one of innate approval + encouragement.
It sounds like this:
:: I go to the gym because I love my body when it feels strong.
Instead of: I workout because I feel fat and I really need to lose 7 or 20 lbs.
:: I see my therapist, coach, mentor because it helps me expand my thinking, discover hidden gems + get supported.
Rather than: I need to go to a therapist because I’m ‘effed up + I can’t figure things out on my own.
:: I set goals, create a vision board, repeat mantras all to encourage + nurture what is ALREADY powerful about me.
Not: What I have and who I am isn’t good enough and I want to magic myself into a new life

Let’s collectively agree.
Put down the self-help tome.
Step away from the juicer.
Take the therapist off speed dial.

Or don’t.

But flip your language.
“I perform these rituals to nurture what is already powerful about me.”


Connect with Dr. Danielle Dowling, life coach, on Facebook and Google+.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.