Searching for the State of Better: Self-Help is for Suckers

I know, the title is inflammatory and I am clearly going for the cheap pull for readership. You can help me out by sharing this post with a friend you think might like what I’m putting down here. I can’t promise that it will improve the titles. But, it will make me feel warm and fuzzy. So, thank you for that.

Anyway, Searching for the State of Better: Self-help is for suckers. Hear me out. The phrase self-help implies that one is broken, messed up, in need of help- nothing wrong with needing help, feeling broken or messed up. We have all been there, may be there now, and no doubt will have low moments in life come around again. And the pursuit of a State of Better is noble and human and leads to really good stuff. This is life kid. We are all on a path of progress. The key is how we frame these times when we are reaching for more or when we feel less than Awesome. I’m wondering if there is another way to talk about this seeking. Can we stop calling it self-help? What if we called it something else? Instead of thinking that a situation or person is in need of fixing or helping maybe try shifting into empowerment mode. This subtle shift in labeling from self-improvement to self-empowerment can be huge in how challenges are tackled. Imagine reframing the ‘need for improvement’ to ‘it is a good time to tap into my resources’. A shift from, ‘I am, this is, screwed up and in need of fixing’ to ‘I’d like to do better. I’d like this to be better. What is available around me to help make this happen?’ And I know the second option is kind of long and harder to say but, it is powerful. It is natural to want a State of Better, now what do I have around me to go to there?

My road map to State of Better

Badass road map to the State of Better.

Author and Mega entrepreneur, Danielle LaPorte, beautifully sums up this shift in thinking in her blog post Why Self-improvement Makes You Neurotic. On the subject of striving for the State of Better, she asks “Rather than doing whatever it is that you do to ease, mitigate and transform those states of being as acts of “self improvement” and “getting fixed” or “making better,” what if you approached those rituals and remedies as ways of getting to your power?” It is not out of weakness that a person reaches out or reaches up. There is great strength in asking for help. It takes courage to seek guidance. Curiosity, hope and creativity drive people to whisper, speak, shout, ‘How can I make this better?’ It is how we think about this process that makes all the difference.

Imagine, if at the end of a difficult week, when you are feeling run down, low energy, depressed even and you put the call out to friends. Help, I need fixing. Imagine if you thought of that call not as a distress call but, as access to your tools, resources, power. Call your friends, get cozy with the latest issue of Oprah, go to yoga, whatever you do to feel well. This is your mojo. This is Wonder Twin powers activate time. This is I have all of these awesome things in place to pull from when I need support and I am going to use them time. And when these times come around, and they do for us all, know this: You are one smart, amazing, loved cookie. And you are not alone. Just ask yourself this question: What can I do in this moment to tap into My resources? And then, of course, Do it.

Peace & Love,

Lisa

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Winter is Hell But, I am Learning to Love it!

I’m really not a fan of winter. There I said it. I loathe being cold. I find walking on dry, flat ground can be challenging. So, walking on an icy, snow covered- lord knows what’s underneath there- surface is deeply unsettling for me. The clearing of the snow. The extra layers. It’s all a bunch of bullshit. I feel dull and sleepy and claustrophobic. I may go so far as to say I am grumpy. All attempts of cheerleading, cajoling, reminding me of the beauty will be for nothing. In fact, it will only send me closer to the knowledge that I live in a winter Hell. Because not only do I have to put up with all this cold, icy nonsense but, also a bunch of cheery snow-loving pollyannas. And nothing is more annoying than feeling a certain way and having loads of folks point out why you shouldn’t feel that way.

badasssnowflake

And people might say to me , “Why do you live there? If it makes you unhappy, why do you stay?”

There is no easy answer to that question. Maybe it’s like childbirth. Each winter is a difficult long journey with that wonderful surprise of spring at the end and the glorious summer which lulls you in and makes you forget. And before you know it, you are knocked up for number two, I mean in for another winter. Or maybe it’s that I have a family and a home and a life here. And picking up and moving, all of that because the weather is a bit inconvenient for me, part of the year seems like an over-reaction. And then there is the practical question of where would I go? If you live where the weather is comfortable in the winter months then you have bugs the size of birds, hot-hot summers, various poisonous spiders and snakes hiding in your shoes, hurricanes, tornados- that all sounds terrifying. So, for whatever reason, I remain here. And lots of folks will go through life and find themselves in a place where they are less than ecstatic some of the time. This is life. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always sunshine and beaches with cocktails that have garnishes of fruit and lemon verbena. The kicker is, how do I find joy? How do I find motivation and inspiration when things out of my control are getting me down? When each snowflake that falls makes me feel a little duller, a little more muffled- What do I do?

Notes to Lisa, so she can not waste her winter feeling miserable:

badasssnowflake1. Accept it, Own it: Winter is hard for you.  Don’t try to force yourself into being what you are not.

2. Be kind to yourself: You know this is a difficult time for you. So, treat yourself well. Stay warm. Stay hydrated. Move your body. Rest your body. And don’t spend a minute feeling bad because you feel bad. It will pass.

3. Find the Bright Side: Ok, you have a dislocated shoulder from shoveling and haven’t worn a pair of shoes without a polar bear logo in months. But, the heat is on in your cozy home. There is a cafe across the street serving hot, brown, liquid from heaven. The snow on the trees is impossibly beautiful. I think it helps if the Bright Side comes from within, rather than from others. So, dig deep and find something positive in your less than terrific situation.

4. Be grateful: Make a daily gratitude list. Today I am grateful for lip balm, wool socks, hot tea, my sweet family, shocking red cardinals against snowcapped evergreens and toast.

5. Be helpful: Nothing can snap you out of a funk faster than being of service to others.

6. Badass Snowflake: You’ve got this.

I am making peace with this season. I recognize that I retreat when the sun disappears, feel low on energy and struggle to find motivation. It seems a pretty natural reaction to the circumstances in which I find myself. The peace comes from not fighting my nature but, giving in to it- leaning in to it- as fellow blogger Kate, said to me last week. I am relishing the warm cup of tea in my hands and soft comforting scarf around my neck. The hazy sunshine poking through the cloud for just a minute or two before it fades back to grey reassures me that the sun will shine.  Winter may be bullshit but, without it, there is no spring. So, I’ll take the good with the bad and appreciate it all.

Peace & Love,

Lisa