The Cult Of Self Help

This morning I was reading an article about the pitfalls of the explosion in self-help awareness in media. More people are doing more things to improve themselves and get where they want to be in life. The downside is that they are forgoing breaks and proper, unadulterated relaxation time to fit everything in, and while productive for a few years, they eventually find themselves burning out and having to break off completely to recover.

Part of the problem here is the way that people who want to write articles, posts and books that help other people, also don’t want to clutter up their writing with the ‘unnecessary’. They gloss over the struggle, the downtime, the breaks and present just the actionable stuff we can do to grow.

I think I’m also a little guilty of this, painting a picture of breaks being planned and just slotted into a busy schedule, but the reality is not as simple and clear cut as that.


Maybe I do achieve a small victory every other day, but that means I don’t achieve even a small thing every day that is not the other day. I grind away at my work tasks, doing them well enough but not pushing myself harder. I go home and watch a movie instead of learning something new, like “Burn After Reading” (which is brilliant by the way). I sit on the sofa and spend between ten minutes to half an hour at a time doing nothing, just letting my mind wander.

On Wednesday night I skipped a post on here, but not for any real reason. I came home, ate my dinner and then laid in bed for hours, reading “A Clockwork Orange” for maybe 20 minutes, but mostly daydreaming until it was time to actually sleep, then I slept.

On other nights, I might have good intentions to study or look something up but find myself browsing the internet for bluetooth earbuds, or reading vaguely related articles on Medium, or binge-watching several episodes of IT Crowd or Peep Show in a row.

And I still get worn out by it all sometimes!

Hopefully reading this will put some minds at ease that you don’t have to always be pushing yourself, you don’t have to plan out your schedule and rest breaks, you don’t have to be accountable to yourself all the time. You just need to look after yourself, veg-out sometimes and basically live your life however you want right now.

Tell me what you think

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