I am a DIYer to my core. I contend that is why I’m also a self-help junkie. I mean, self-diagnosis of medical ailments and mental health issues is really just hardcore, base-level DIYing, right? I love to learn and I love to read, but I have ADHD and a four-year-old kid, so non-fiction books are not for me (including, in a cruel trick of nature, books written to help people with ADHD).
So, you won’t find me trolling the self-help section at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, laying out cold hard cash for heavy tomes filled with sage advice.
Instead, I revel in our society of instant gratification and minimal commitment by voraciously consuming information in the form of articles and blogs and, of course, the WebMD app. There are so many people on this planet who are smarter than me, and thanks to technology, I can tap into their brilliance and be educated and motivated any time of the day or night, from anywhere I have internet access (assuming, of course, that I remember to pay my phone bill). It’s incredibly empowering, and sometimes intimidating. I mean, there are really SO MANY people who are smarter than me!
I talk to people and I read and I research and I self-diagnose and I armchair psychoanalyze – a lot – in a quest best characterized by my plea to a new therapist: “It’s too late for me, but please help me not screw up my daughter.” And then I continue to do the same thing every single day. And I continue to beat myself up for not doing things differently, for not doing them better, for not being the mom my daughter deserves. I remember telling our amazing babysitter that my daughter is finally getting the mom I wish I could be. I don’t want to feel like that anymore.
Upon further analysis, I have determined that I do this because, after researching and assessing and calculating and planning and worrying, I just don’t have the energy or focus to make a different choice. I have reached a state of analysis paralysis. I continue taking in all this valuable data, but I never act on it because I am overwhelmed and burned out before I even start. Without conscious thought, I take the path of least resistance, the well-worn route that I’ve been trudging every day. Sleepwalking as I am, I don’t even realize when I’m faced with a chance to take a detour.
As I see it, at this point, I have two choices: A) MORE or B) LESS. I can lighten up and relax by taking up drinking (option A). Or I can free myself from this energy-sapping stress by doing LESS, consuming LESS, worrying LESS, expecting LESS. Since I am naturally a bit lazy, I’m opting for B) LESS.
I’m going to quiet the noise by minimizing the input; I’m going to close the 23 open tabs in my browser with articles waiting to be read. Before bed, I’m going to put down my phone and pick up a real book or a hobby.
Instead of trying to add to my knowledge base, I’ll focus on putting into practice what I’ve already learned. I have a few go-to resources for cheerleading and back-patting that I’ll continue to rely on, but I’m going to curb by searching for new gurus and their possibly life-altering counsel. I’m going to minimize stress and disappointment by lowering my expectations for what I could/should/would be doing if life was postcard-perfect and I was a June Cleaver/Lorelai Gilmore hybrid.
I’m choosing quality over quantity and I’m trusting my gurus who assure me that LESS does indeed lead to MORE.
However, since I am a bit of an over-preparer, I might grab a couple bottles of wine (and a corkscrew)…just to be safe.