Self-Help, Truth and Consequences

Recently, several of my piers and I have been discussing the concept of “self-help”, and those who offer it. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what separates those who are perpetually seeking advice and whose lives seem to be in constant disarray, from those who are ardent contributors to their own good fortune.  What character traits separate those who never seem to be able to “get it together” from those who consistently “have it goin’ on”? From my perspective, it all seems to be about how willing people are to recognize the truth, and accept culpability.

Accountability is the road less traveled.

Truth bears the burden of responsibility. When it is revealed, one can no longer hide behind platitudes and excuses. Once honesty is embraced it becomes our own choice whether we are pro-active in seeking prosperity, or whether we retreat into the comfort of self-victimization. Without introspective truth, we are doomed to denial, and a cycle of self-destructive decisions.

Benjamin Franklin defines such behavior as insanity. If nothing else it reveals a staggering lack of character.

But through our dialogue we all seem to keep coming back to the same two points…Motive and Intention. What motivates someone to either seek help, or to offer it? Moreover what is our intention when we do so? What allows people to succeed in life where most do not is that they recognize the truth regarding both.  The fortuitous face their past, learn from their mistakes, accept ownership of them and make appropriate adjustments. The afflicted are either unable, or unwilling to take these steps.

Certainly there are no absolutes where such concepts are concerned since people’s motives and intentions vary with their personality and circumstance.   But the unfortunate reality is many who claim to be seeking aide via “Self Help” are in actuality searching ways to remove themselves from accountability. There are many who purchase diet and relationship books who have no intention of improving their state of affairs; rather they derive from them what they need to support their predeterminations. An even more unfortunate reality is that there is now a booming industry based on placating that dishonest impetus.

It is the truth that frightens people into the waiting arms of the less scrupulous, and opportunistic elements of the self-help business.

Many find themselves on a self-help merry-go-round…with no real intention of getting off. While ethically challenged “relationship experts”,   “psychics” and clergy prey on the desperate, the gullible, or the bereaved… It is the conviction of the rational minority to contest the predatory members of the self-help industry who are less interested with truth than they are enabling…  providing trite cliché’s dispensed as expertise, and common sense presented as breaking news.

One thing is certain: the sensible susceptible and their money are soon parted.

The solutions to life’s problems do not come easily, nor can they be reduced to sound bites for instant gratification. They cannot be “cured” overnight, nor can they be resolved through an invisible entity. Truth cannot be rationalized. However few seem able to acknowledge this.

Emotional healing involves honest introspection, and candor about what our motives and intentions truly are. It requires the courage to seek the truth, even when it is inconvenient. It is that very same courage that accords achievement. As I see it, that is the difference between those who would seek diet and relationship advice from an overweight divorcee’ on daytime television…and those who are brave enough to live the truth.

It is the difference between those who say “One day, Some Day”…and those who say “Today”.


About Rich Woods

Rich Woods is the author of the critically acclaimed books, UnLearn Vanilla Marriage, and Yahweh to Hell. He is also a columnist, sociologist, and satirist who has performed seminars around the country. He's also made several TV and radio appearances. Transitioning from a blue-collar background has given Mr. Woods a unique perspective --and an even more unique elocution--among his peers. Raised Catholic, Mr. Woods is now a very public atheist who champions the separation of church and state. He's an advocate for non-traditional relationships, including --but not limited to-- negotiating non-monogamy, as well as being a vocal opponent of political correctness. Throughout his career, Woods has had colorful metaphors hurled in his direction from both liberals, and conservatives. To be honest, most of the vitriol comes from the Tea Party. However, he considers one of his greatest accomplishments having been called "Harry Reid's Lapdog" , and referred to as being "just like Rush Limbaugh" from two different sources within minutes of one another. Originally from Queens, New York, and presently residing in central New Jersey, Rich Woods is madly, and hopelessly in love with his wife Jane since before they were wed in 2002, and is the proud father of two successful, brilliantly creative, young adult children. Try as he might, he can't juggle.

Posted on October 31, 2009, in Archived Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hey Rich,

    I love what you did with this blog entry. : )

    Thanks for telling it…just as it is! Those who truly want help will find it and those who don’t…well, they will just continue on that cycle of going round and round…and having someone constantly holding their hand, never becoming that person they could truly become. : (

    I choose “TODAY!”

    Brenda : )

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