A Summer of "No Self-Help"
Summer Solstice not only signifies the start of summer but has always been a day to kick off self-nourishment for me. As I pondered how I will nourish myself moving into the summer, I recalled a quote that I read - you are one decision away from a different life. I am not sure who should receive the credit for this quote since so many people have claimed it as their own.
I am craving a different life - a different life in which everything is the same, but the way I live it, the way I feel and move and unfold in it, is profoundly different. But I was unsure how to create it. So I loosely held on to the question, and finally, an idea beautifully unfurled at the end of the day.
I’ve decided to be bodaciously brave and embrace the idea of “summer of no self-help.” So summer of 2021 is now dedicated to a summer of love, life, claiming the best parts of me from long ago and blending it with the “me” of today.
You see, I have been wondering for some time now if we are hypnotized to believe that we don’t know who we are and how to live so we can be fed someone else’s idea of what is right for us. I was a bit oblivious to how “persistent” and “toxic” self-help has become until I was quarantined at home for most of 2020 like million others. I was startled by the relentless messages, emails, invitations I received about how to “improve” myself and come out of the house at the end of this quarantine as a million times better version of myself. I couldn’t believe how these messages constantly harped on our imperfections and guaranteed failure if I didn’t subscribe to their way of being.
I wonder if all the warnings we receive about our “shadows” and the how-to manuals on “healing” we must follow to be “human” worthy are another form of dogma, a belief system. And this belief system is systematically teaching us “we are sinners and not perfect or worthy of our lives” unless we do their work and believe the way they do.
I am not claiming that they are wrong, but I can argue with certainty that I know “me” better than they do, and I am the only authority when it comes to me. It is beginning to feel like if I continue to subscribe to all this “self-help” delivered from someone else’s point of view and belief system, I am basically relinquishing my power over to them. Will doing more of their “thing” get me where I want to go?
The answer was such a firm “NO” that it caught me by surprise. Therefore, on the day of Summer of Solstice 2021, I am committing to a “summer of no self-help.” I will take “having fun” as seriously as I take my work. I am committing to experimenting with a summer of living a perfectly imperfect and happy life without someone else’s “self-help.”
Admittedly, I am rather curious if I can claim my autonomy to be the only authority in my life after I relinquished my power for so long, but I know it is time to find out.
Stay tuned. I will report back regularly from the front lines.