Self-help is the new buzzword. Whether it is social media channels books or articles, self-help is one of the most discussed topics. We have thought leaders and others sharing videos on what self-help is all about. The self-help industry is booming. In the US it is expected to become a $14 billion sector by 2025. (Source: MarketResearch)
Something that caught my attention is that most discussions and articles on self-help topics emphasize how one should become more productive and succeed in life. And, success is estimated as their net worth or the money they make. We have umpteen videos with motivational talks urging people to work hard and focus on themselves, pursue their goals, etc. to succeed.
When people try to follow what the media preaches about self-help, they tire themselves out and end up frustrated. And many avoid the topic of self-help because they consider it too complex or a waste of time. I have also come across cases where people who tried to implement all the self-help instructions became anxious and had to take treatment for it.
Is self-help so complicated?
Is self-help about draining yourself?
Is there something about self-help that we are missing?
The phrase self-help is self-explanatory meaning to help the self. Next, arises the question, help yourself for what? Most people would say help yourself to achieve success! Self-help is not something limited to your goals and achievements. Self-help is simply helping yourself in most aspects of life without depending on others. You must have heard the saying, “The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.” This aptly describes what self-help is all about. It is about taking care of yourself and all aspects of your life.
One common example of self-help is when you have suffered an injury. The doctor will prescribe medication and you might need physiotherapy. When all the treatment is over, you will be taught some exercises to get your injured muscle back on track. Self-help in this case is if you follow the instructions and exercise to recover. If you do not exercise, you will continue to suffer from the after-effects of the injury and you will be dependent on medicines and doctors for long. This is a simple example of how you can help yourself and not depend on an external source.
Similarly, if you find yourself getting stressed over many things, if you take time out to understand what stresses you and how you can address it and take the necessary steps for it, you are helping yourself. And, if you let stress overpower you and succumb to it, you will probably require a professional to help you out. In this case, you are not helping yourself in any way.
Self-help simply means helping yourself in simple everyday situations. What happens is that if you begin to take care of yourself and become capable of getting yourself out of difficult situations, you will confident and powerful.
The concept of self-help is especially relevant when it comes to taking care of your happiness independently. This is not a far-fetched concept. You can take care of your happiness by just doing things that make you happy as long as they do not harm you or others. If you master the art of staying happy on your own and overcoming your sorrows, you will not need any external sources for making you happy and this is a great confidence booster!
Each one of us performs several tasks independently but there are many things that we feel are beyond our capacity. When it comes to trying something new certain things may be difficult to accomplish independently. But for many activities, we put limitations on ourselves by believing that “we can’t!” You do not know whether you can or can’t unless you try! Many a time we restrict ourselves because we are not sure “what others will say.” You need to remember that it is your life and you should do what you feel like without waiting for validation from others.
You can help yourself by not setting limits on your capabilities. You help yourself when you do things to please yourself instead of getting the approval of others.
We get so busy in our lives chasing our goals that self-care and self-management take a back seat in our lives. Some people can get on with life with this approach, but many break down and turn to life coaches, etc. Most of the time life coaches advise their clients to slow down, take it easy and take care of themselves. So, if this is what is required, why not do it independently in the first place?
We lose the essence of life in frantically rushing through life chasing our goals, money, or material possessions. We mess up our health, relationships, etc. because of our focus on these. Unfortunately, even when we achieve them, we feel a vacuum. Maintaining a balance in life is what self-help is all about.
Self-help is not complicated. It is just about managing ourselves. The ultimate objective of self-help is not just making loads of money but managing your life and relationships.
Self-help is extremely relevant in current times when mental health issues are on the rise because of the pandemic. The data on the mental health cases in 2020-2021 is mind-boggling!
4 in 10 adults in the US have reported depressive disorders or conditions of anxiety.
36% of the adult population has reported difficulty in sleeping.
Substance abuse and alcohol consumption has increased by 12%.
These conditions need to be addressed. While professionals will do their best to heal their patients, a lot is in the hands of the patients. Here again, the concept of self-help is relevant because people who take care of themselves and have learned to manage their issues are better at coping with difficult situations like the pandemic.
Self-help is not a fad, but a need! Self-care and self-management are the need of the hour! If each one of us learns to take care of himself/herself we will be a stronger world and together we can combat the virus!