I grew my fingernails long to look glamorous for all the holiday parties, and now I type with a speech impediment. So if you’re wondering where I’ve been, it’s to the nail salon. But I’ll be back after New Year’s, and I’ll be able to type complete sentences again. For now, I can’t type as fast as I think, which, I assure you, isn’t saying much.
This nail business was probably one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had, but I just wanted to try it out, just to see what it would like to have long, pretty nails for an extended period of time. And my conclusion thus far is that it’s absolutely lame. I can’t pick things up, woe be the day I actually have to fix a flat, although one plus is I can scratch in some once hard-to-reach places, but so what.
So I finally finished reading, after several weeks, The Last Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need, by Paul Pearsall. The reason why it took so long is because I read at bedtime, and I’m good for about five minutes before my eyes cross.
I picked it up in the bookstore in a moment of weakness, and I’m so glad I did. Pearsall, a real life neurospsychologist and adjunct clinical professor at the University of Hawaii, backs up his claims with hard science. The book comes with several pages of references.
And his basic point, to paraphrase, is that everything we’ve learned from the self-help movement has done nothing more than promote generations of narcissistic, self-absorbed obnoxious people.
He provides solid scientific research to back up his claims that’s what’s wrong with everybody today is they’re searching for empowerment, to bolster their self-esteems.
Bullies, he says, don’t have low-self esteems, but the opposite. They think so highly of themselves, they couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else.
The nicest, most compassionate people in the world aren’t confident. They question themselves and they are humble.
He says that rather than love our inner-child, we should kick its little ass sometimes.
But oh, it gets so much better than that. Sometimes, it’s good to dwell on the negative. It’s tood to complain, to kvetch.
I am just paraphrasing, and with painful long nails, so bear with me, but anyway, all this positive thinking crap is just plain wrong.
So I have this friend, who might be reading this, who is a total victim of today’s self-help movement, and I don’t even know if he’s aware of it. He told me one day that he is a selfish person, he knows it, but he is happier that way.
This is why you are so miserable! is what I wish I had told him, but I hadn’t read the book yet. You’re not happy, you’re just stoned all the time. Big difference!
Instead, I just looked at him with raised eyebrows, like, did I miss this episode of Dr. Phil? Because this does not represent the values that I was raised with on the Brady Bunch.
Anyway, Pearsall says if you want to be happy, stop looking inside yourself, and reach out to your friends. Love conditionally. It’s good for you. Indulge in foods that are bad for you. Stop trying not to get old, because you’re going to get old no matter what. Be co-dependent. Rely on your friends. Be someone they can rely on.
This book, and hiring a house cleaner who now comes every three weeks, is so much cheaper than therapy, and I can afford to get my nails done.