Did you just see an ad for, “dealing with stress?”
Don’t worry, we’ve all seen them, and they are everywhere — all falling under the guise of self-help and personal development.
The self-help section of your local book store is massive, and it’s probably one of the largest sections in the store. Not surprisingly, the online distribution of self-help is even larger. But, containing both, the global personal development market size was estimated to be over 38.2 Billion U.S. dollars in 2019. This number was projected to climb to over 40 Billion in 2021.
What can we learn from this ridiculous statistic?
Just about everyone is trying to cash in on giving “advice.”
But what happens when we allow ourselves to be exposed to all of this so-called advice? Where one person claims that finding your purpose is crucial for your overall well-being, you have others claiming that no one has a purpose at all. So, with all of this contradictory life-changing advice, who’s advice are you supposed to take. Who’s got the right answer?
Is there even a “right” answer?
Maybe it’s time that you look within and give yourself your own advice for a change.
“The only journey is the one within.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
You Already Know the Answers
Most of the time when we’re seeking advice, it’s often because we’ve faced a part of ourselves we were unaware of. Sometimes we lack clarity, or have come to a point in life where we don’t understand something. Basically, there’s just something going on in your life that you don’t think you can figure out on your own.
But thinking in that direction was your first mistake.
Ultimately, you know what ails you. You know when you’re unhappy and most of the time you also know why — and you don’t need anyone to help you figure it out.
Now, I realize this is basically a self-help post about why you shouldn’t listen to self-help advice, which may seem sort of counterintuitive, but just hear me out. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t consider outside advice, but before you do — travel within.
You know when you’re sad, and why. You feel a state of unhappiness, just like everyone else from time to time — and you also know why.
So why not get creative? Just think of something (anything) to do to fix it, and try that before you enlist the help of some personal growth expert. Often, it’s your first instinct that can have the greatest impact. It’s really that simple.
Tip # 1: Sometimes the best gift in life is the advice we give to ourselves. And sometimes that gift is simply a walk around the block while we kick around a can of ideas.
“You are not limited to this body, to this mind, or to this reality — you are a limitless ocean of Consciousness, imbued with infinite potential. You are existence itself.”
― Joseph P. Kauffman, The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom
Mitigate the Confusion
So, do you have a purpose that you have taken classes in order to find? Or, did you read a book telling you that looking for “a purpose” is futile?
Personally, I’ve done both. And I’ve come away realizing that most people are simply giving you their own opinion of what’s worked in the past for themselves when they tried to answer the same questions — and there’s really nothing wrong with that.
But for someone trying to work through a problem, contradictory advice is like stepping into quicksand.
We’re all different, as such, we all have conflicting beliefs and subjective experiences. There is no one-size-fits-all remedy for the woes of the entire human race — hence the exorbitant amount of self-help philosophy out there today.
But what happens when we dive head-first into this indiscriminate pile of self-help diatribe?
In a word — confusion.
You might come away a bit more reflective, or having done some form of introspection by considering someone’s thesis on whatever, but then you find another source with a contradictory point of view — and another, and another.
It’s enough to make your head spin.
Instead of drowning in a pile of advice, try some reflective contemplation. This simply means to logically think (and feel) inwardly about what troubles you, or what you’d like to remedy. You’ll find that once you do this, over time, you’ll not only come to know yourself just a little better in the process, but you’ll also come up with more than a few creative solutions on your own.
The last thing you want is to be confused from random advice when you’re going through a hard time. Inward reflection allows for you to see yourself intimately, in a space that bears no pressure on you at all.
Tip #2: When you consult yourself, you’re in control. And that’s exactly how it should be. So, take the wheel.
“When you are joyful from within, people will love your company. This is how you will spread joy into this world.”
― Purvi Raniga
You’re Not the Noise Around You
Have you ever walked into a noisy room?
Sometimes the spaces we enter are so chaotic that upon entering we’re immediately looking for an exit. Today this happens frequently. Rarely do we even have a quiet moment to ourselves without the constant bleeping of notifications, messages and everything else coming from our own pockets.
But consider walking into that same room while being still and content within.
When we truly listen to our inner voices, when we know ourselves intimately, we carry with us a vibration of clarity — of peace and calm. This resonates with the people around us, and we’re all much more sensitive to this energy than we think.
Think about it. I’m sure you’ve known at least one person in your life who, when in their presence, everything feels calm and peaceful — as if they’ve radiated this awesome energy themselves. Those who can project this inner stillness have placed themselves on the path of self-mastery, and most often, they’ve done so without any self-help book at their disposal.
These people are our anchors, and you can become an anchor yourself. All it takes is a little intention, and truly focused attention.
For those new to the game, a noisy room can become quiet just by focusing on the breath, by fully realizing your present experience — by noticing each action you take. In doing this, you’re able to drown out the noise around you and carve out a peaceful space in any environment.
Tip # 3: Become the anchor in the ocean of chaos, and you will gracefully find calmer waters. Quiet the mind, and the space you’re in will follow.
“True Power is within, and it is available now.”
― Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from the Power of Now
The Power of Now is a phrase coined by Eckhart Tolle, just one of many self-help gurus out there. But his idea is the fundamental basis for many meditation techniques, spiritual exercises, and for many Buddhist philosophers.
The present moment truly is the only place you’ve ever been.
Tap into the power of the moment. Allow your own intuition to grow louder and guide you into the direction you desire to travel. It is here, within, where you will find these answers — not in a book.
Trust yourself, and the rest will follow.