The self-help subdivision of pseudopsychology offers a rich source of fodder for the cynical mind. Since my mind is one of the most cynical around, I’ve found self-help (with rare exception) to be more of a source of self-humor than self-help.
True self-improvement is a beautiful thing, but changing one’s character or habits in a meaningful way is neither typical nor easy. I’ve been saying for years how I want to have washboard abs (yeah, right) or thousands of dollars saved back, but those things don’t happen. My physical condition is better than it was, which only means that I have both feet out of the coffin instead of only one. Financially, well, there are people worse off than me and I’ll leave that exactly where it is. I’m thankful every time I’m able to pay for my scripts and have food in the fridge.
I think the thing that really turned me against the self-help genre was the plethora of vapid works available in the 80s and 90s. Crap like “Think Yourself Thin” and “Co-Dependent No More” might actually be useful for some people, depending on where they’re coming from. However, I am not a typical woman. Appealing to my emotions doesn’t generally do squat for me. Appealing to my intellect can influence me, if the information given is relevant. I need a do this=____result. I don’t do very well with a maybe do this and maybe something might result- or not.
There is a lot to be said for making a conscious choice to behave differently, to achieve specific goals, etc., but that determination only goes so far. I’m all too aware of how finite and limited my efforts are.
One of the techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy (which, by the way, can be effective if it’s used properly) is to “re-write your script.” The thought behind this is that if you can convince yourself that you really weren’t the little geek kid who was continually getting beaten up, you’ll be able to respond and function in a healthier way as an adult. If you can convince yourself that you used to be Billy Bad Ass back in the day, instead of the nerd who got tossed face first in the trash barrel every morning, then you might be able to act like Billy Bad Ass now, instead of always being the town doormat.
As much as I like the concept behind the re-write, it’s a bit intellectually dishonest. I was never Billy Bad Ass. The closest I ever came to it was the one time I beat the hell out of my oldest sister, and that was a gut reaction fueled by years of repressed rage.
However, with a little creativity, “re-writing my script” could be hilarious as hell.
I wasn’t a sickly kid born into a poor family who got my ass kicked on a daily basis for the first thirteen years of my life. Hell no. I was a freaking princess, complete with a tiara.
I liked to kick ass, so I took martial arts lessons and got my black belt in Karate.
And when I got older and was mega-cool, I got to hang out with Steve Perry.
While coming up with such stunning fictional scenarios can be fun, then it raises the question, “What the hell happened?”
Apparently I need to lower my standards.
I wonder if this is creative use of Paint or Photoshop, or if someone really had the balls to spray paint this on a real sign: