I’m really enjoying a blog called Help Me! by Marianne Power. This brave, honest, insightful and laugh-out-loud-funny blog deals with Marianne’s gutsy challenge of reading (and really following) one self-help book per month for a year.
I’ve lapped up Marianne’s hilarious and sometimes emotional tales of chatting up strangers, jumping out of a plane, doing stand-up comedy (that’s about the WORST thing I could think of having to do), posing naked, attending a naked yoga class, tackling her finances, walking on fire, and surrounding herself with plenty of positive post-it affirmations.
I can really relate to Marianne as she courageously reveals her secrets, fears and insecurities. And for each book Marianne has explored, I’ve learned something that I’m going to incorporate into my own life.
In Get the Guy, Matthew Hussey recommends seeing yourself as a “High-Value Woman”. This means knowing that you deserve to be treated with respect and only accepting good behaviour from men.
The last guy I had a thing with was tall, attractive and young. He hated his job, drank a lot, and had very little interest in getting to know me. And still I continued to text him. Until I saw him with another woman.
I felt yucky for a few moments until I remembered that I too was open to meeting somebody else. I wasn’t kidding myself. This relationship was going nowhere fast.
Though this scene wasn’t what I would have wished for, I was grateful to have witnessed it because it gave me the kick up the arse that I needed. To move on. To really be open to something better. And to finally understand that I am a High-Value Woman. Another, more suitable man will be lucky to get to know me.
I used to worry that asking for what I wanted and believing that I deserved to be treated well would come across as needy, high-maintenance or even crazy. Now, I don’t care if that’s how some men might perceive me. The right ones will know different.
In Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers insists that we do one thing each day that scares us because then we’ll know that we’re growing and moving forward in life. She explains that the more we feel the fear and do it anyway, the easier it becomes and the more empowered we feel. She suggests repeating the affirmation: “I can handle it.”
Marianne found this month exhausting but also exhilarating. She reports feeling more alive. Although she felt terrified, she did it anyway, and her life became infinitely more interesting and exciting.
The next book Marianne took on was Money, A Love Story. I thought: “Boring!” However, after perusing her posts, I see how telling my initial response was. One of my beliefs around all things finance is that it’s boring and I’d rather put my attention on something, anything, else. That is why, according to Kate Northrup, my finances are not something I can boast about. Yet…
This book also makes a connection between how you value yourself and how much abundance you have in your life. Turns out valuing yourself is essential in this self-help business. It sounds obvious but it’s amazing how little we show ourselves this value.
One exercise Kate suggests is to list three things you value about yourself each day. Most days, I focus on what I’m grateful for, which really lifts my mood. From now on, I’m going to include self-value in my practise. Today, I value my talent for writing, my discipline in exercising, and my ability to make new friends.
Last night, I read Marianne’s first post on Rejection Therapy. This isn’t a book but a self-help game devised by Jason Comely. There is one rule to this game and that is to get rejected once a day by another human being.
One of my biggest fears is of rejection. Because getting rejected confirms that I’m not good enough to be accepted, wanted or loved. As Marianne explains, we’re hardwired to fear rejection because, “historically, our chances of survival were dramatically increased if we stayed with the group, which is why being shunned in any way – even snubbed at a party – can feel fatal.”
At a concert a few weeks back, one of my good friends asked me if I still found it hard to chat up men. “Yes,” I gulped as I took a quick swig of cider.
“Well then,” she announced with a glint in her eye. “Your challenge is to chat up one guy before we leave.”
In shocking news, I readily accepted my friend’s challenge. I wanted to get over this limiting fear. And I had just spent an evening seeing how effortless it was for my friend to strike up conversations with men.
So I marched over to stand beside a man who was watching the band alone. And so I stood. I too looked at the band. Every so often, I glanced sideways at him. I was thinking too much.
What will I say? I could ask him if he’s enjoying the music. But that’s a stupid question. Of course he’s enjoying the music! He’s here alone, enjoying the music. If I were my friend, I’d have chatted him up already.
Then, a girl to his right started chatting to him. Look how easy it is! When they stopped speaking, I glanced sideways at him again. He was wearing a coat. At an indoor concert!
“Are you not roasting?” I blurted out.
“Not tonight,” he answered.
“Where’s your coat?” he wondered.
“In the cloakroom. It’s free and it’s just down the stairs.”
Yes, a fascinating conversation. And I decided I didn’t fancy him after all. But I did it. And I was proud of myself. I knew that it could only get easier.
Last night, after reading about Rejection Therapy, I decided to take on this horrifying challenge for the rest of the month. I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered my promise to myself. My heart thumped faster inside my chest. But I also felt excited.
Like Marianne Power, I’m really living. And in Susan Jeffers words, no matter what, “I’ll handle it.”
I’ll let you know how I get on…