Buying a VCR may not seem like a noteworthy purchase in a high-tech world yet it proved to be a worthy blessing offering much learning. Boxes filled with VHS recordings were unearthed from dark recesses where they had hidden for over a decade.
Replaying some old home videos for the first time in fourteen years eerily pulled us back to witness a much younger self - long ago left behind. One of our time-travels took us back to 1991 to perhaps the first workshop I publicly presented called “Being Your Best, Inside and Out. ”
There I stood, so very polished, professional, all-knowing; assuredly directing people how to think and present themselves correctly in order to have successful lives. Barely a chink showed in that professional armor.
I shuddered to hear myself assuredly espouse the latest personal development philosophies without fully evaluating how those words might affect others. I had not considered how people might feel after being told “You must do this/do that, strive for more, set the right goals, live with passion, avoid mediocrity, change your thinking, be a peak performer etc… to be successful. ”
How carelessly back then I said, “If you think you have a comfortable life, are comfortable with your job, home, family this is the death rattle. To be comfortable is a death. We must always be reaching for more…”
Now, through living a much kinder approach to life I know this endless striving for more is often a compensation for feeling inadequate - not good enough. Now I know that calling anything short of peak performance – mediocrity - hurts us. This “self-help hammer” devalues our human journey.
The same night we were reviewing my past “self-help” seminars we were called to pick up our fifteen year old boy from a Friday night party. The parents wanted us to know they had found bottles of vodka and some kids had been drinking.
We managed to handle that volatile situation with enough love and understanding to hear the entire truth from our teen. (Quite a different story from the cover-up being told at the party!)
Doing our best to be good human beings; loving our children, spouses, making a decent home and livelihood is a heroic journey! Any philosophy that intimates we are failures or are living lives of mediocrity if we work in a job that is not our passion is the antithesis of self-help. Perhaps the job is not our greatest love but often we do it out of love for our homes and families and in this, there is great honor and humility.
Of course, this excludes forcing ourselves to work somewhere that is toxic or making us sick. Nor am I advocating ignoring our dreams or the changes we long for. Rather, I am suggesting we put more trust in ourselves and our God for our answers than in latest “How to Achieve” philosophies or shallow societal values.
Our self trust grows the more we notice how we are feeling after hearing, reading or watching something. Do we feel a little bigger and better about ourselves? Or do we feel less-than if we do not comply with the message?
We need to look inside for our truth rather than blindly striving to follow the latest guru of the day. As our teenage son remarked about my canned “self-help” video given so long ago, “I didn’t know you were one of those phony people who go around telling people what to do!”
To be fair to myself those workshops back then were an excellent experience for me, offered with good intention and some pearls. However, at that time I had not come to realize how damaging this continual striving and pushing to do more, be more, change more, is to our precious selves. Back then, I worked over-time to hide my feelings of inadequacy and mostly commandeered my world from my head.
Now, I do my best to live and speak from my heart… to live a much kinder life philosophy. So my heroic friends be kind to yourselves, trust your own inner wisdom, and know you ARE worthy just by being!
Teresa Proudlove has been inspiring, supporting, and guiding over 3000 people upon their career and life work path for over fourteen years - with compassion and heart. Teresa's workshops and writing, offer a deeper understanding and respect for ourselves, for others, and for our lifework path. This entrepreneurial woman also owned and successfully operated two women's retail boutiques for ten years. For over twelve years, Teresa was a well-read newspaper columnist. Visit Teresa at http://www.yourlifework.com ; listen to your inner guidance and navigate through life and work with more meaning, acceptance and peace.