Does anyone else wonder why we keep looking for motivational and inspirational content even though the messages are basically the same thing over and over again? Money doesn’t buy happiness, take life at your own pace, be present, and you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to etc.
The messages are fairly similar, just packaged and presented differently. It can be through funny podcasts, heartfelt youtube videos, witty self-help books, or…lengthy blog posts. How many more times do we need a stranger out there to validate our own feelings and self-worth?
You would think by the 50th hour of consuming self-help content, we would finally reach a limit and stop seeking advice. I finally get it! I understand what to do to live a healthy lifestyle I enjoy! Yet in reality, the opposite of this happens, and we tend to seek even more philosophical “How to Live Your Best Life” content!
Although this seems odd, think about how much negative self-talk we’ve done throughout our lives. It must have taken years of negativity, years of fear, and years of low self-worth to get to the point where we’re googling “how to love yourself” and “how to be happy” on the google search engine.
If you’ve also wondered why we keep going back to the same self-help topics, here are a couple explanations as to why we do it:
1. We are our own worst critics.
We have trust issues with ourselves. We can all relate to setting a goal we have never attempted to achieve: “I’m going to be healthier, I’m going to work out at 5pm everyday no matter what!“…but you end up not working out for an entire year. It’s going to be difficult to trust yourself at this point.
This distrust in ourselves is why we go back to the information we already know. This is why we still crave content that tells us:
We are worthy
We are capable
We can achieve all that we put our minds to.
It’s because need constant guidance to work on our past and present narratives. We’re trying to mend the image of our past selves, and we’re constantly trying to create a healthy mindset where we can finally build trust with ourselves.
2. We Trust Other People More than Ourselves
Since we don’t trust ourselves, we look to other people that already have the life we want. We need other people who felt the same way we do now, but are already on better paths to tell us what to do! This reassures us that things will get better, because someone else was able to figure out how to achieve their own goals (most likely the same exact goals you’re trying to achieve now).
If a successful business woman says that she also felt lost and anxious one point in her life, but she strived for excellence and achieved it, then she’s a more credible source of information.
I need to do what she did!
Learning how to love ourselves, and trust ourselves will be a long journey. During this journey, we tend to look for others for comfort and relatability.
3. Honestly, We Constantly Forget Things We’ve Learned
This one is simple and straight to the point. Think of self-improvement like learning a new language. You need to use that language consistently, or else you’ll forget vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
It’s the same with self-help. If you aren’t practicing what you’ve learned, then you’ll find yourself forgetting tips and advice to form great habits. This leaves you living the same life you didn’t want, and therefore you seek more self-help content.
Instead of a steady stream of self-help content, focus on things intentionally! The quantity of information does not override the quality of information. Take pieces of advice that resonate with you the most, and intentionally try to implement it into your life.
4. Self Improvement is…Kind of Fun
Doesn’t it feel so gratifying to think that you’re improving your life, and taking steps to form the future you’ve always wanted? It feels good! It feels like you’re a responsible adult! Look at you, being all organized and making to-do lists!
It feels like a hobby within itself. Weirdly enough, it makes us feel productive without having to do much. This passive consumption keeps boosting our ego, and therefore when we feel bad, we turn to self-help.
And honestly, as long as we are self-aware of this phenomenon, and take legitimate action, I see nothing wrong with indulging in fun self-help content.
5. There’s Nothing Wrong with Self-improvement
There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself. Just make sure you’re not too pressured to change overnight, as the process will be long. With this new wave of lifestyle and self-improvement content, there can be this frustration with how slow results can be.
There is a common trend of “glow up” videos, or “getting my life together” videos on the internet. They should be seen as entertainment and a source of relatability, rather than a guide to how to get your life together. Remember everyone’s lives and processes are different. Take what you hear and learn from others and mold it into what works for you.
Some can achieve their goals in 3 months, what others need 3 years to complete. We’re all dealing with various issues, and problems, and goals that we prioritize differently.
Monitor the way you are talking to yourself, limit the negative talk. The less negativity in your brain makes more room for positivity and energy to produce the life you want.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with constantly seeking motivational content, but don’t replace this consumption of information as doing the goal itself. We tend to feel this false sense of accomplishment from consuming advice and tips that we ultimately don’t put into action.
This was definitely more of a meandering post, but I hope this exploration of the question somewhat helped you understand why we seek self-help, and the importance of not stopping there! Action is needed!
These were all ironically, reminders of the same material we all learn through other people…just repackaged differently.
Hope everyone reaches the goals the strive for! Love yourselves! And take it easy…it is our first life.