Sometimes people ask me where they should start if they want to improve their life or depression, so I decided to make a list of the major personal development concepts I’ve learned over the last few years that were game-changing for me. Here are 5 self help concepts that changed my life forever.
5 Self Help Ideas that Changed My Life Forever
Even if you apply just one of these to your life, you’ll see a huge difference. And if you do all five? Then you’ll change your life from the inside out. 🙂 You can do this.
- 4 Signs You Need to Change Your Life
- The Half Step That Will Change Your Life
- 6 Ways to Change Your Life
- 7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life
- How to Make a Change in Your Life
1. Forgiveness Work
I wrote a really long and in-depth post about this and actually spend an entire week talking about it in our Negativity Detox, but forgiveness work is some of the most powerful work you can do on your own.
Basically it involves writing down a list of negative or unhelpful beliefs you have and then you write down all the memories you can think of that are enforcing those beliefs. For example, maybe you feel like you’re unlovable. Although affirmations are nice when you’ve done the deeper work, you have to start by forgiving all the people or situations that made you feel this way in the first place.
So you’d write down your list of memories in as much detail as you want, and then for each memory on the list, you say the following:
“I forgive you, I’m sorry, I love you, thank you.”
This is from a Hawaiian prayer (nope, I didn’t come up with the words :)). You don’t have to call anyone up and tell them this – this is just for your benefit. We’re not supporting what they did, we’re just letting it go.
If you want to get more symbolic, you can also write down your memories or beliefs on little slips of paper or on pages in a journal and burn them or shred them. Whatever you want to do to release and let go of everything from the past that’s holding you back.
This is one of the first things I did when I was recovering from my depression, and although it’s a very emotional and sometimes draining process to dredge up your past, it was ultimately very cathartic and helpful to release it. You might feel worse before you feel better, but it feels good to let go of pain that you’ve probably been holding onto for a long time. You can forgive memories, people, or even yourself. Whatever works for you.
2. Upper Limits and Self Sabotage
Hendricks talks about “Upper Limit Problems,” which are when you reach your personal capacity for how much happiness, success, love, or other good thing you’ll accept into your life. At first it might not make sense. Why would we not want something good in our life? But as humans we absolutely tend to sabotage things when they get too good (not on purpose though).
It’s like this quote: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
So whatever beliefs you have about yourself, you’re going to make sure that they continue to be true. If you think you’re not lovable, then you’re going to subconsciously find situations that reinforce your belief to prove yourself right.
So how do you avoid sabotaging yourself when you hit an upper limit? The first step is awareness, and then it helps to do some forgiveness work around the belief that’s holding you back.
3. Be Relentlessly Positive
This concept is one that gets much, much easier with practice. When you’re just starting out, notice how much negativity is in your life and how often you complain or judge people. If you actually counted the number of times each day, it’s probably a lot. 😉 But that’s ok.
If you keep track of your negative thoughts, you’ll be more aware of them and will naturally start to break that habit. Because that’s all negativity is – a bad habit. You can choose to think positively instead. Even when you want to complain about something, try to find the positive. Write lists of what you’re grateful for and find the good in people. Over time being positive just becomes your new habit.
And in the end, attitude is everything.
4. Treat Yourself Like a Best Friend
If there’s one person you’re going to be stuck with for the rest of your life, it’s you. You aren’t even going to spend as much time with your future partner as you do with yourself.
So you might as well make friends with yourself.
Better yet, treat yourself like a best friend. Be your biggest cheerleader and supporter. Instead of tearing yourself down or being hard on yourself, make your self talk positive and encouraging (even if you don’t believe it at first). Say things like, “You can do it!” and “Don’t give up! You’re almost there.” Don’t wait for a knight in shining armor to come save you – you can save yourself.
In the words of Regina Spektor, you’re the hero of this story. You don’t need to be saved.
Think about what you would say to a best friend if they were going through a tough time, and then treat yourself with the same level of love and compassion. You deserve it.
5. Do What You Love
Honestly any one of these concepts could completely change your life if you study it and take the time to apply it consistently over time. But this one is probably my personal favorite for being a happy person. If you’re doing what you love, you’re going to be so, SO much happier than if you’re stuck in a life you hate.
Even if you’re relentlessly positive about a job you hate, it’s just not the same as following your dreams every day. You only have one life, so you might as well spend it doing what you love. This is your ONE life. Make it a good one.