Seems like a pretty strange thing to say, but seriously, put that book down, turn off that video and pause that podcast. We are in a time where all we seem to do is consume. We take cues for what we should be doing off of social media like Facebook and Instagram, and despite my being a Coach, I freaking HATE what the “self-help” industry has turned into.
Yes, reading a book or listening to a podcast may be giving you an initial bout of what feels like accomplishment or motivation, but the fact is, your life is no different than it was at the start of the book. This cycle of consumption – feel like this time you’re going to change your life – then fail – is seriously damaging to our happiness and psyche, and is just keeping the self-help industry in business, because let’s face it, you wouldn’t be reading about getting your shit together if you had your shit together.
There comes a point where we need to realize that we need to stop consuming, and start creating and doing. And we cant create and do it if we are too busy consuming. I can almost 100% guarantee that you know deep down exactly what it is you should be doing to better your life, business, career, parenting, relationship, etc. But instead of doing these things we busy ourselves with small or seemingly other productive tasks and keep ourselves in a state of being perpetually busy. Have you ever just sat down, closed your eyes, and listened to yourself think? Write down on paper what you think you should do without Googling it first. Allow yourself the space to completely break down and understand what it is you actually want and feel? I know I haven’t!
I see this especially in parents – we are so used to getting answers from outside of ourselves that we’ve stopped trusting our own intuitions. We are so concerned with what we “should” be doing that we forget to check in with our own beliefs, values, or ideas. Continually denying our own intuitions creates this inner turmoil and anxieties inside ourselves – you might feel like something is off, or you continually second guess what you should be doing, creating even more stress. If you can’t even buy some new shoes without some kind of outside input, then it’s time to slow down and start paying more attention to yourself.
So here’s my challenge to you before you start another book: Set out some time for yourself and ask yourself what you should be doing and listen to how that feels – notice if you are just answering from a space of what “others” expect or whether it is from a space of what YOU really want.
For example – Say your child is currently acting out with bursts of aggression. Your parents want you to take away his iPad and not allow him to go to any friends until he behaves. But when you sit with yourself and listen to your heart, you know deep down that he is frustrated from being inside too much and is just desperate for your attention. You feel that when he acts out, it’s because he wants your attention, and punishing him will not actually fix the underlying issue. Another example, say you want to lose weight – everyone (as in health gurus, trainers, etc) all have the perfect, magical solution for you. But you know deep down that all you really need to do is get off your butt at least once a day and not eat a slab of Lindt every night (yeah, it’s me – I do this! ha!).
Approaching problems like this takes effort and courage, and sometimes we need to just admit to ourselves that we are not really willing to put in the work at this time – which is also just fine. The point is to gain clarity and let go of the anxiety and guilt we place on ourselves to get the Insta feed look. I know though that with a bit of effort, bravery, and luck, the outcome will be totally worth it, and more importantly will be in line with your beliefs and values and not someone else’s.
I hope this perspective helped you! Have anything to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!