Self(ish)-help Media

When I was in college, I dated someone who was constantly joking about and making up ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes. He and his friend would toss around ludicrous ideas about how they would manipulate the masses into buying some inane product or idea. Which sometimes we know, actually works – hello, pet rock. For them, this was just a fun thing they did to imagine what it would be like to put in little effort and get massive rewards; both of them are actually really lovely people.

But not everyone is. Some people get caught up in greed and don’t care who they plow over on the way to the bank. At its worst is when it exploits people who are at-risk, in all the many ways that can be.

This is something I have struggled with as I have started to engage more on social media. I’m not likely to get rich by posting tips and tricks on mental health, I know. But I also recognize that with a lot of hard work, my efforts could reach a lot of people. And because I sit with people who are in pain every day, I know how desperate they are to find help- most of us are when we’re in the midst of suffering. I know what I could put out there that would be gobbled up easily; I know what people latch onto, what they want to hear or see. I know that I could dilute the truth of what it takes to live a happy, healthy life, and probably see more immediate rewards for myself.

I see people doing it all the time. I see people, who maybe tell themselves they are well-intentioned, trying to sell themselves and their products that they know (or if they looked hard enough would know), are not serving anyone but themselves. That the pursuit of clicks and likes and sponsorships has devolved their ideas into half- thoughts, too good to be true fixes, and not quite truths. And in effect, has led their followers on a train that will inevitably crash too.

Am I being dramatic? Maybe. But also, maybe not. As I said in a recent post, everything we do matters a lot and hardly at all. When you post something, are you going for the quick and easy sell, or is it true to who you are and for the good of others? When you ingest information, is the source of that information a good one? And is it someone you trust has your best interests in mind?

I would say this to an individual client as well as a consumer of social media- trust is paramount to the relationship and heeding any type of advice and/or feedback. The amount you grow as a person is highly correlated to the relationship you have with the person offering to help you. If they’re in it for themselves, what are you likely to be left with?


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