You never know when you’re going to need a bit of self-help.
Unfortunately, when I realize I need self-help, the last person I think to turn to for help is myself.
This has led me down a beehive of rabbit holes, chasing internet gurus around begging for guidance and being met with sales funnels for meditation retreats and regurgitated lines from The Secret. Worse than that, when anyone points out that this might be the case, these self-proclaimed Second Comings of Tony Robbins and their flocks start in with the gaslighting.
Here are 10 signs it might be happening to you:
1. You feel like you always need to apologize for watching Netflix instead of reading your self-help writer’s new article on self-motivated learning techniques and, in an effort to redeem yourself, sign up for their value-packed webinar where they tell you that it is essential to embrace your free time in a way that is right for you.
2. You feel like you need to stay silent when your self-help writer tells you that anyone who really wants to improve themselves can find a way to afford this once in a lifetime $10,000 Santa Barbara meditation retreat, because you don’t want to get yelled at by their rabid swarm of Instagram followers.
3. You have a hard time understanding how they keep giving you tons of advice about how you shouldn’t care about money and then write an article about how good they feel in their new $750 yoga pants and—holy crap—did they just post another #gr8ful selfie with their new Tesla?
4. You feel insecure after they tell you about “The Five Essential Skills for Living a Happy Life,” then, after you’ve mastered them, they release 37 more articles to point out all of the other, also essential, skills you need to follow once you figure out how you’re going to afford an avocado juicer and scream, “YES I CAN!” in the mirror every morning without waking up the kids.
5. You feel dejected when they write an article all about how beauty is an illusion and then link to their Instagram to find out they are f*cking gorgeous.
6. You think you’ve finally mastered “The Last Anxiety Relief Technique You’ll Ever Need” your self-help writer laid out in their new self-published e-book, before—one week later—they release: “The Only Technique to Stop Those Anxious Feelings,” which you also buy and then notice they both begin with, “We all have to make difficult choices sometimes…”
7. You are constantly second-guessing your ability to do tasks since your favorite self-help writer is mostly regurgitating advice from different chapters of The Secret and that Tony Robbins seminar they went to that one time, then boiling them down into listicles.
8. You get confused after they tell you a Buddha quote like, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” When you point out that the quote is not actually by Buddha, and that, in fact, many of Buddha’s quotes are falsely attributed, they say, “I take your feedback with much love and affection.” And never acknowledge you again.
9. You no longer trust yourself to make the simplest decisions, like how many avocados to eat every day since you are being constantly told that every decision you’ve been making for your whole life has been turning you into an unhappy, unhealthy, worthless human.
10. You now feel like a weaker version of yourself because your two jobs and three kids don’t give you enough time to meditate every day, and if you’re not taking a moment out of your day to “just be,” you’re never going to be able to love your family properly and so your kids won’t be able to rely on anyone and so you should really get them a few copies of your favorite self-help writer’s new book: Self Help Techniques for the Teenager of a Neglectful Parent.