I guess it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of a self-help junkie. I never planned to be a self-help writer, but I started taking my writing seriously during a healing, transformational phase in my life, so it sort of turned out that way.
I really like to write about my life, my thoughts, my feelings and my lessons. I really like reading stories of healing and triumph.
I ended up right where I belong among self-help writers. I’m friends with several of them, and I love reading their work and becoming inspired by their stories. I’m always consciously looking for inspiration and ways to help others while also helping myself.
But I’ve recently become more aware that too much self-help can actually be harmful. Getting too wrapped up in it can be distracting and unhealthy in the long run.
Here are four reasons why self-help can be bad for you:
1. Too much self-help can cause you to stray from what you really want or need.
Some self-help resources suggest that we should aim for certain goals or that we need to do something extraordinary in order to feel like we’re truly worth something. Hearing about all of these ideal mega goals that some of these resources suggest seem can cause us to stray from what we really want or make us feel like we should be doing something more.
Make sure you’re meeting your own individual wants and needs instead of listening to others tell you what you should want or need. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all definition of success or greatness. Only you can decide what makes you worthy or successful.
2. Too much self-help can hinder action.
When we overwhelm ourselves with the abundance of self-help information out there, it can prevent us from taking action. It can enable us to procrastinate instead of creating positive change.
Make sure you have a good balance between learning and taking action. There is no need to put a ton of pressure on yourself to immediately create radical change. Just simply start taking steps towards the change you hope to make. It all starts with that first step.
3. Too much self-help can cause you to overanalyze things.
There is a difference between being self-aware and being overly analytical. Not everything in life requires you to delve deeply within yourself. Not every decision or situation requires deep, spiritual reflection. Life really isn’t that complicated. When we overanalyze things, it makes it complicated.
The only question you ever really need to ask yourself is, Am I happy?
If the answer is yes, then you’ve done enough self-interrogating. The only time you need to step back and reflect is when you are unhappy. Don’t let personal fears or fabricated mental misconceptions get in the way of your happiness.
4. Too much self-help can pressure you to strive for perfection.
Typically, the goal of self-help is to get people from point A to point B. We are told what we’re doing wrong in our lives and how we should change.
It can cause us to believe that where we are right now isn’t good enough. It can make us feel like we should be rushing full speed ahead to point B. It can cause us to beat ourselves up when we fall short or don’t immediately make progress. Ultimately, it simply makes us strive to reach a certain level of perfection, and that is an unreasonable amount of pressure to put on ourselves.
I still find myself struggling with the same things I struggled with before I got into self-help. I have a habit of berating myself whenever I seem to stumble backwards. I’ll tell myself that I’m supposed to be inspiring and that I should know better than to stumble backwards, which I’ll admit is an absurd thought for anyone to have.
But one of the best things I can do for myself in those times is let go and realize that I have flaws, I make mistakes and I fall short. I’m a human being, and I am going to have flaws, make mistakes and fall short for as long as I’m alive.
We can’t expect ourselves to permanently overcome our every struggle or perceived flaw without ever having to deal with them again. Perfection doesn’t lead to growth. Flaws and mistakes do.