Self help: what is it exactly? On the face of it, it appears to be the ability to address the problems that plague you and your life without outside help. However, it also suggests the existence of an inner strength or power you are presumably unable to tap at present or are unaware of (and that is why you need to read the book, go to the talk or have the life-changing experience).
This has often been called ‘finding yourself’.
So it could be said that you are in fact seeking help from outside yourself, your current self that is. You are looking for a new self, which somehow you already are, but are told that to realise its potential you need to set out on a path of self-growth: from ‘here’ to the longed for ‘there’.
On this path you are not seeking to add anything but rather take away the illusions and misconceptions you label yourself with, and with new eyes discover what you really are. One way this has happened is by hitting rock bottom – a state of depression where nothing new or interesting is seen, and nothing can ever suprise you. A very dark place indeed. But one day a light will crack open the darkness and introduce you to a new world, one far bigger than the old one, with a fascination that is constantly renewed – enough to hold your interest for a lifetime. This release is what happens when the tiny self or ego that we take to be us is discovered to be only a subset of a wider and real you. This is the Self with a capital ‘S’.
So self-help, at a deeper level, is all about starting off as the little self and ending up as the big Self. It is about discovering who you really are and realising there was nothing wrong in the first place. It is about love. Along the way many skills will be learned and at times this may seem to be what self-help is all about. But actually every new skill mastered is only a easier way of seeing or reminding us that everything is perfectly fine.
That is not to say that we should underestimate the growth of the little self, and the value of all it can learn from the big Self. This is the real meaning of Self-help. It is the big Self helping the little self (you or I) and the little self learning to express or be a conduit for the big Self, which otherwise would be frustrated.
In the coming months I will aim to write about some of these skills and life tools that can help us along this challenging but deeply rewarding way.