Go on, tell me your first immediate reaction or response to that term. Shame? Guilt? Success? Powerful? Self-declared fan?
So many different terms can come to mind when you think of a Self-Help book, but why is that? It’s 2015 and there is still such a stigma attached to those words: SELF HELP. And yet, it’s one of the biggest sections in any book store. There are millions of books to browse through, on a plethora of different topics: money, success, budgeting your finances, business start-ups, love, relationships, trauma…and the list goes on. I have browsed the section many times, looking at all the different titles, checking out books that have been recommended by friends who swear it changed their life, picking up titles that have grabbed my attention. But I have never actually purchased one – until today.
I have heard about Gabrielle Bernstein before, and have even had acquaintances recommend a few of her books. I have had her book titles saved in my phone, on my “to-read” lists and in my Favourites in the Indigo App for a while. But something was always keeping me from bringing the books I’ve flipped through a dozen times up to the cash register. Embarrassment? Fear? I can’t really tell you. All I can tell you is why I made the purchase today. And the simplest answer is, I finally thought, “why not?”.
I was visiting with a friend who, when we get together, all kinds of brainstorming and goal setting seems to occur. We challenge each other and ask questions that you might be afraid to ask yourself. And, it’s awesome! So after many beers and hours of conversation, I had a few lists going and my notebook was full of ideas. The next day we hit up Chapters, for the second time in 24 hours (which, is not that unusual for me really…) and she went directly to the Self-Help section. She has been there before, made purchases, recommended books to be, and still enjoys going back. No shame. No embarrassment. So, I followed. I picked up books that caught my eye and read the back of books with faces of celebrities that you and I all know. Then I did a search for Gabrielle Bernstein. I don’t know “why” I decided that it was her books I was going to consider. Maybe it has something to do with her journey – rising up from her struggles (addiction and recovery from an Eating Disorder), her dedication towards empowering women or her carefree attitude and relevant way she writes – but whatever it is, I was drawn to her. I immediately reached for her first published book, but something about “May Cause Miracles” kept puling at me. I read the back twice, flipped through the pages and even said “I can’t read a book daily for 40 days…”. And when my friend asked, “why not? Maybe that’s what you need to do”, I read the title again, put one of the two books back that I was holding, and made my way up to the cash. No stopping at Go, no second-guessing.
I proudly put my purchases (a new journal and pen had to be included, never mind the dozens I have in every room and bag that I own) and looked the cashier right in the eye as she rung me up. The cashier didn’t look at me with empathy, or sympathy as she scanned my Self-Help book, and believe me, I was watching. She didn’t avoid eye contact or blush when she was putting it in the bag. No, all she did was ask how my day was going and comment on my nail polish colour. What was I expecting? I guess I was waiting for the judgement. The judgement that comes along with someone wanting a little help or guidance in their life. Some motivation even. But that judgement never occurred. And I left feeling excited and liberated – maybe in 2015, the world is changing a bit. Maybe it’s okay for someone to reach out for some help, some clarity, some curious reading even. Maybe Self-Help books will start to lose that stigma that comes attached to it. And maybe the labels that are attached to the people who purchase such books will start to diminish as well, especially those placed on females. MAYBE!
So, as I read the introduction to “May Cause Miracles“, I am focused. I am making a commitment. To myself. The book contains Weekly Chapters that are broken down daily, and include Morning Reflections, Affirmations and Evening Exercises. It’s like the book was basically made for me. It’s just oozing out positivity, inspiration and intentions. With a side order of self-reflection, asking yourself the tough questions and taking leaps of faith in areas that have been taped off as a “no entry zone”.
I can’t wait to start!
Week 1 is titled “Becoming Miracle Minded” and Day 1: Witness Your Fear, begins tomorrow morning. How long do they say it takes to create a habit? 21 days? That will have me at just over half way though. I am already in the mindset of trying to be a little more kinder wherever I go and with whoever I meet, taking the time to notice the little things in life and being able to just “be happy” (thank you #100happydays for that). So, I am hoping this new journey is a smooth transition. I have high hopes. And even if it’s just one thing that resinates with me from this experience, I will be forever grateful. And a frequent visitor in the Self-Help section.
Don’t dance around the perimeter of the person you want to be. Dive deeply and fully into it.