When you’re trying to improve your life, you’re going to get a LOT of feedback that assumes either you’re not trying hard enough, or you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Everybody’s going to have a point of view about what you “should” be doing. 

Everybody’s going to have an opinion on where you went wrong. 

Everybody’s going to have a pet philosophy or concept that, if you only embraced, you’d suddenly see the light and have a much easier time of it all. 

The self-help industry, in particular, is all about this paradigm. 

Pick up any self-help book on the shelf, and you’ll likely be treated to a description of the author’s perspective on where the reader has probably gone wrong in their life. 

What they’ve misunderstood. What they’ve not realized. What they’ve been mistaken about. 

It’s a natural enough place for many people to begin when discussing mental health, I suppose. 

After all, if you’re looking for help with mental health and personal fulfillment, I guess there IS an implicit understanding that you DID go wrong at some point, or that you ARE missing an essential piece of the puzzle. 

The thing is: I don’t think most people ARE “doing it wrong.” 

In fact, I think the big misunderstanding most people have when they get involved with mental health or personal growth, is that they think THEY are somehow to blame for their struggles. 

I don’t think you’re to blame for your struggles. 

I think you’ve had lousy programming and traumatic experiences. 

I don’t think you asked for those, and I don’t think you’ve been perpetuating them out of some self-defeating impulse. 

I don’t think the story here is how much you’ve gotten wrong or misunderstood. 

I think the the REAL story here is how you’ve managed to endure and survive and thrive— even if your experience has been imperfect. 

The big myth is that because you feel bad or because your’e behaving in ways other than you’d prefer, that you’re somehow damaged or bad. 

You may be wounded. But you are not damaged. 

You are actually remarkably resilient. 

Whatever it was that happened to you in the past: you survived it. 

I know, you may feel like you are damaged beyond repair, but look at the facts: you’re here, reading these words. You survived. 

How did you do that? 

What strengths did you draw upon? 

What skills did you use? 

What HELPED you do that? 

You might have come from a place where you had very few resources available to you, almost no help, everything working against you.

And yet, you endured. 

How did you do that? 

See, I don’t think you’re “doing it wrong”— and you certainly don’t need a lecture from a therapist or self-help guru about HOW you’ve been “doing it wrong.” 

I think you need to get crystal clear on what you’ve been doing RIGHT. 

I think you need to get crystal clear on how you made it through, despite everything. 

I think you need to get crystal clear about what your strengths and advantages and gifts are. 

I think THAT’S the story. I think THAT’S where the money is. 

If you’re looking to be told all the ways you’ve been doing it wrong, I’m not your self-help guy. 

If you’re looking to identify and build upon the undeniable strengths that have allowed you to create the success story you’ve already started creating: I’m on board with that. 


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One thought on “I don’t think you’ve been “doing it wrong.”

  1. Thank you. To build on what you’ve done right gives you solid ground on which to build. To rip away what you think you’ve done wrong is to make your ground shakier than ever. Rebuilding your life is a shaky business in the first place: it’s all new. Building on solid ground might be slow (first you have to find and recognize the solid ground) but it’s real.


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