Self Help

Is Self Help the Best Help?


Are you at a low point in your life? A valley, if you will. Does it seem like you have been stuck in this valley for a while and you see no way out? Is it so deep, that you can not even see the horizon? Is Murphy's law in full force against you? "What can go wrong, will." Does it seem like nothing is going right in your life? Maybe you have lost your job, or you and your significant other are on the outs, or maybe you feel that no one cares. (Just so you know, I do care.)

Let me just say, your not alone. Now I did not say that to try to make you feel better. I told you that to let you know that many people have been just as low as you are, some even lower, and they managed to find a way out. They found a way to have happy, fulfilled lives. This means that you can too. Misery may love company, but don't you just hate being miserable?

Let me tell you a little about myself. I was an Army brat. My dad was the one who served, but the whole family did the time. Between kindergarten and graduation, I attended thirteen different schools. I had no true friends while growing up. We never stayed in one place long enough for me to build a true relationship. Though I made "friends" easily enough, I still felt like a "loner." To some people, a home is where you hang your hat, but to me, it was just a place to stay before we moved again. I didn't feel grounded or secure, because nothing was "forever" and nothing was "mine."

Thinking it would get better when I got out on my own, I made a mad dash out the front door when I hit eighteen. Funny thing is, I joined the Army to be able do this. My thinking at that time was that the Army would provide me the security I couldn't seem to find anywhere else in my life. Oops.

After four years, I opted out of the Army and came "home" to live with my folks. The bad thing was, I brought home a bad attitude and a newly found drinking problem that I picked up in Korea. I had no plans. No idea what I was going to do with my life and no money to do it with.

My love life was no better. No matter what I did to "do my best" in a relationship, I couldn't make them work. I was a nice guy. I didn't cheat. I did everything I could think of to make these people "love" me, but I couldn't even get them to care. To top that off, I was the type of person who did not find value in myself unless someone else found value in me first.

All this, and much, much, more brought me further and further down. I was just about to the point of giving up. Even on life itself. I would not have killed myself, but I didn't feel like I had anything to live for and I sure didn't want to continue to live if all I got out of life was heart ache, loneliness, and pain.

In case your curios, I did think about going to a psychiatrist, but for a guy with no money and no desire to spill my gusts to someone I did not know, this option did not appeal to me.

Fortunately, I am an avid reader, and during a visit to the book store, instead of going to the fiction area, I thought that I would take a look at the relationship books. Seeing that I couldn't find love in my life, maybe I could find a book that could tell me why. Well, I didn't. Instead I found books that did nothing more than massage my ego by telling me how "right" I was and how "wrong" they had been. Sad to say, this gave me a splash of hope, but it didn't give me any answers.

When I was not able to find what I needed in the relationship section, I found myself scanning over some of the self help books on the same row, in the hopes that something would jump out at me. Something did, a book on how to "make friends." It told me how I should act, what I should say, and how I should say it. And these little tips / tricks worked pretty well, but I still did not have any answers or feel any better about myself. So I kept searching.

I could not believe it, but after a ton of reading, I found the answers that I had been searching for. Who would believe that they could be found in just a few little books. All I had to do was read them and apply them to my life. As the old saying goes, "Seek and ye shall find." It took many attempts, I had to read through some real "crap" books, before I found the few good ones that had the answers I was searching for.

So, is the best help, self help? In many ways, I believe that it is the only help. When you think about it, only you can make yourself do anything. No one can make you feel better. No one can change your mind for you. No one can make you a better person. Only you can do this. Self help books, tapes, CDs, or programs can help to guide you in this process.

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