I love self help books. Self Help blogs. Self Help podcasts. Anything self help related.
I also really really hate self help books. Self help blogs. Self help podcasts. Anything self help related.
Most people are surprised to hear about my love/hate relationship with self help…most people think that because I am a therapist, I love any type of self help and recommend any type of self help.
With the recent news of Rachel Hollis getting a divorce (don’t worry I’ll get to that in a second) I want to share a bit about my views on self help and why I have these views.
First of all, it’s called SELF help for a reason. What works for mySELF will not necessarily work for yourSELF.
Second of all, a significant amount of self help “gurus” have no professional experience in the therapeutic, counseling, or helping professions. Now, I’m not saying this doesn’t mean they have great things to say. I love reading about people’s journeys and their own paths to happiness and fulfillment. But the problem is, people often take advice in these books/blogs/podcasts very literally. Just because someone else quit their job and took a roadtrip across Europe, doesn’t mean that you should…or maybe it does…but it’s not my or their place to say. Taking advice from self help gurus that don’t have an educational/professional background can be very dangerous. They mean well, but it can trick us into feeling bad about ourselves, because we aren’t living like them or because we feel different than them.
Heck, counseling professionals get it wrong too! I have more understanding of the way the brain works and more understanding of mental health disorders and what leads to fulfillment, but that doesn’t mean that everything I say will work for you! That doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes in my own personal life just like the next person. I just have more knowledge in this certain area than people from different professional backgrounds.
Okay…so let me get to my point…Rachel Hollis.
For those of you who don’t know, Rachel Hollis is a public figure, author, and speaker. She began her career in marketing (and I think she still does some of that) but she is basically a self help guru. She is married with four children. She hosts business conferences and marital retreats with her husband, Dave.
She just announced that her and Dave are getting divorced. Many people are outraged because her and Dave not only host (very expensive) marital retreats but they have a marriage podcast, talk very openly about how great their marriage is, and have made millions of dollars giving relationship advice for having a great marriage.
Before I say anything else. I do not know these people and I truly hope that they are safe and happy and I feel for both of them and their children. I have no idea what goes on in their marriage so I hope that they are okay………..Notice a key phrase I just mentioned: “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT GOES ON IN THEIR MARRIAGE”…..because NONE OF US DO! Nor should we frankly, a marriage is very private, however they have acted like everyone knows all of these things about their marriage because of all their marriage advice.
So whether you’re feeling angry and confused by this news, whether you’re feeling happy about this news, whether you’re feeling sad and broken hearted about this news…this is what I have to say.
Rachel Hollis is not a marriage counselor. Neither is Dave Hollis. However, they have a multi-million dollar business based on giving marital advice. When you are looking for self help resources…please consider the source.
No matter how many times someone uses #nofilter or someone claims they are showing you the “behind the scenes”…they aren’t. The world we live in today has so many “filters”…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing……but stop comparing yourself to other people’s highlight reels. I PROMISE you, they are ALLLLL highlight reels.
Self help resources often do more harm than good. They lead to us comparing ourselves to others. They lead to us feeling bad that we aren’t living like the author. They lead to us worrying, overthinking, and getting confused about what’s best for us. By all means, read self help, just take things with a grain of salt!
Lastly, try not to be too mad at them. They’re just people. They make mistakes. Relationships are tough……
But please please please consider the source when you’re looking into resources. Anyone can call themselves a “coach”, anyone can call themselves a “consultant”, anyone can call themselves an “expert”……..be careful. There’s a LOT of fluff out there about self help this and self help that. There’s a lot of pseudoscience out there related to psychology. Trust yourself. Trust that YOU know the best thing for your own SELF care. Do whatever you can to NOT compare yourself to all of the self help influencers out there…it’s just a highlight reel. And everyone is different. And that is okay.