Psychological Self-Help

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Understanding 9: Don't wait for magical solutions. DO SOMETHING to help
yourself. Be strong! Confront any resistance to change and challenge all
your defeatist attitudes. Learn to believe you can change things. 
There are many reasons why people avoid change--fears, lack of
motivation, resentment of pressure, helpless feelings, procrastination,
wanting to fail and/or avoid responsibility, wanting to live
spontaneously without planned change, wanting sympathy and to be
taken care of, feeling that it's too much trouble to change, pride and
stubbornness, being willing to accept our own rationalizations ("it runs
in my family"), being inflexible and "set in our ways," feeling that we
are not okay and deserve to be miserable, and other motives. 
It may be hard to understand your reasons for avoiding change if
you are a procrastinator, but remember, there are reasons for
everything (the procrastinator should read chapter 4). Look for your
reasons (it's likely to be several reasons). For example, shyness may
enable you to avoid the stress of socializing; being irresponsible may
get other people "off your back" since they are likely to stop expecting
you to be a mature, capable, dependable person (see chapter 4). 
If you decide some self-improvement is especially important but
haven't made plans for changing within a day or two, then focus on
the reasons for your inactivity. If you can't be sure of the reason(s),
then guess at it. Try to deal with the possible resistance to change like
any other problem, i.e. develop a plan of attack by analyzing your
resistance to change as well as the problem itself, as described in
chapter 2. There is good reason to believe that self-help techniques
aren't remembered and used unless the person believes he/she is able
to change him/herself. Question the validity of your pessimism. And,
people who have failed to change in the past won't believe they can
change until they have drafted a good plan and done it. So, give it a
try. 
Practice thinking positively about your ability to change; be strong
and do things to prove your self-help skills; daydream frequently
about how nice it will be after you change (see chapter 14). Likewise,
face up to the bad consequences of not changing; don't give excuses
and let yourself "off easy;" refuse to accept weakness, helplessness,
and self-defeating attitudes. As Epictetus said 2000 years ago, "No
man is free who is not master of himself."
Understanding 10: This book does not prepare you to be a therapist. Help
others, but don't take control and "treat" others. 
While I want to urge and help you to take responsibility for your
own life, I want to persuade you not to take charge of anyone else's
life. It is important to distinguish between what might be called
"helping" and "treating." A "helper" may listen and give empathy,
suggestions, encouragement, feedback, care, and share his/her
experiences, plus many other things, but both helper and helpee
should always realize that the helpee must make the decisions, be
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