Apr 1Liked by Sue Deagle, Leona Waller

Sue, another great edition of The Luminist; thank you! I loved Brene' Brown's book Braving The Wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.” Brene's book argues that until we belong to our own selves, we can never belong to anyone or anything outside of our selves. It may sound simple as a concept, but as you read through, it's clear many of us have not gotten there; hence, the help! And also Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which shares an enlightening perspective about the creative process, the fears we experience as we are on that journey, and how to muster the courage to reach our full potential as creatives.

Expand full comment
Apr 1·edited Apr 1Liked by Sue Deagle

Hi Sue! Loved this piece. I’m at the other end of the spectrum from you. I’ve been deep in the self-help world for almost 15 years, and a few years ago, I got to the end of my rope. I became addicted to improving, growing, changing, and fixing myself. My self-concept morphed from seeing myself as a person living with trauma looking to heal to feeling like an ongoing project needing constant improvement and upgrading. I was never satisfied, and ironically, it tanked my mental health.

So I gave up self-help in favor of self-acceptance and found my way to peace, sanity, and contentment (much of the time!). Everything changed when I gave up trying to fix myself and instead started accepting myself, my feelings, and my faults.

I’m not saying this to pooh-pooh self-help!!! Quite the opposite. There's so much good stuff to help folks experience life in the fullest, richest way possible. I'm just offering a cautionary tale of what can happen when we take self-help too far - when it becomes about self-flagellation and fixing something that wasn’t broken in the first place.

All this said, I still read books and listen to podcasts that fall into the self-help genre. I just don’t do it from a space of feeling broken or needing fixing. I do it from a place of accepting myself as-is and using wonder and curiosity to guide my choices and decisions. My favorite authors are Michael Neill, Dr. Amy Johnson, and Michael Singer. Michael Neill and Dr. Amy each have great podcasts, too. I also love the book "The Happiness Trap" by Russ Harris, along with his little YouTube videos.

Thanks for another thought-provoking read! :)

Expand full comment

I like Farnam Street (fs.blog) - it is not so much self-help as learning how to improve one's thinking, decision-making, etc. But it does touch on a lot of useful subjects that impact our day to day lives. They also have a lot of great recommendations for books based on your interests.

The Daily Stoic is also a great site about Stoicism. It is more than just having a "stoic" attitude and being serious. There are a lot of great practical implications. I subscribe to the daily newsletter. The author, Ryan Holiday, who started Daily Stoic has a lot of great books on different virtues. Courage is Calling, Discipline is Destiny, The Obstacle is the Way are all excellent and rather easy reads. He wrote a few more that I forget along the same lines.

Expand full comment