To be perfectly honest, I am not really one for self help books or movements. I have always found them to be rather self aggrandizing or so navel gazing that the authors and/or speakers seemed to be so far up their own asses that they legitimately believed they had stumbled upon some grand revelation. More often than not it was simply repackaged and better marketed old concepts. However, I made a promise, or deal if you prefer, with myself to actually attempt, in earnest, some form of improvement in various aspects of my life and time. Accordingly, I decided to find some aid in one of my preferred media: books. And, wow, are there a lot of potential options out there.
Seriously, there is just a glut of books, podcasts, videos, entire ecosystems of self help across every conceivable avenue and approach. I can understand why so many, myself included, see this as a huge grift and why so many grifters approach the movement to get a fair share of the seemingly growing pie. Still, as is the case in many similar situations, there are some points and works of merit and value to be found among the excess of availability. By chance, I came upon one such book, in my opinion, How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Dr. Nicole LePera, also known as “the holistic psychologist”.
Now, to be fair, the book does not hold some revelatory epiphanies, but it also doesn’t claim to. In fact, Dr. LePera is pretty transparent about how she came upon her specific philosophy and how much of it was built upon standard psychological practices and ideas as well as being informed and influenced by ideologies, systems, and beliefs from various culture and backgrounds. She is also honest about how her methodology was formed through working through her own experiences and educational background.
Ultimately, the book provided a guide as to how to go about a self improvement journey. It did not put a specific timeframe or set of milestones that needed to be achieved at a particular time. Instead, it provides general instructions with some worksheets and templates to work through with enough explanation and detail provided through the personal narrative framework of the book. Again, it is not for everyone, and even I was in a far different headspace this year than I have been in previous periods in my lifetime where I would not be as willing to engage or receptive to the words in the book. So, while I would recommend this tome as a starting point, I also comprehend why someone would utterly avoid it.
What I will say, is that anyone and everyone would benefit from some introspection and commitment to improve themselves and their communities however that process may unfold.