As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a self-help book junky. Maybe self-help isn’t the best term- more like self-improvement. Recently I’ve been trying to improve my communication and social skills. Considering how in the last week I managed to unintentionally give one of my teachers a complex about his winter coat and accidentally convince another that I either have raging crush on him or am attending school on a day pass from the local psychiatric facility (or both), I’d say communication is probably a good area for me to focus on.
Despite my apparent gift for making teachers uncomfortable, some of the lessons from my self-improvement library have actually sank in and have helped me over the years. To be honest, all I really needed was one good self-improvement book, because unless you are focusing on a specific area, most of them are the same. They are sort of like diet books that way- a little bit new of new info, but the basics don’t change. Here are the main two thoughts behind every self-help book:
Everyone is afraid, but fear is only temporary and can’t hurt you. Someone who isn’t scared at least once in a while, probably isn’t doing much living. But the fear is just an emotion and has no inherent power. Just move through it and it may not completely evaporate, but it will definitely lessen. Fighting through the fear is so empowering. Think about it, what things mean more to you, things easily achieved or things you had to fight for? Feel The Fear…and Do It Anyway is an amazing book all about this very subject.
In general, most people are way too concerned about their own problems to care about what you are doing. In other words, stop taking things personally. I’d love to say that this is not an issue in my life, but it is something I struggle with. Almost everyone has that inner voice that says, “What will your family/friends/neighbors/coworkers/mailman/random guy at the gas station think if I _____.” The reality is, everyone is way too preoccupied with their own lives to be concerned for more then a few minutes with what others are doing. We don’t even know if these “others” will actually approve or disapprove of our actions, but just the mere idea of their disapproval is given so much weight that we let it control our actions. Here’s the ironic part: most of these “others’ that we are worried about aren’t even people we like or trust! Think of a person who said something that made you feel bad about a choice you made. If you were going on vacation, would you toss that person the keys to your house and say, “Hey, I’m going out of town. Will you feed my dog and get my mail?” Of course not! Then why give them space in your mind, which is so much more precious?
So, there you have it- the info contained in 85% of all self-help books for free. Hopefully I saved you $20 (or $11 for the Kindle Edition). I’m currently reading one called, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff that is helping me learn to be a little easier on myself. I never even realized how much of a perfectionist I am until I started back to school. But that’s a post for another day.
My design page is updated with a new project that fits really nicely with this post. Click it to view it enlarged, because it looks a billion times better that way. As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!