I’ve already mentioned that I have a possibly unhealthy but very concealed interest in self-help books.  It’s something that more that embarrasses me – it mortifies me.  I get them from the library – concealed like porn within two more acceptable titles – from the self check-out desk and I hide them if anyone comes around to visit.  It would just be too much of a Bridget Jones cliché to be seen with them and the mockery from my friends would be unbearable.  I wonder if this is ‘normal’ – does everyone secretly consult these things or just the people who are feeling lost and in need of a friendly nudge back onto their path or answers to an increasingly unclear question?

The odd thing is that, after smuggling home one of these books, I am always very resistant to them – you really have to be going some to get through my cynical defence shields.  I tend to pick them the book up, leaf through it, scoff and put it down on more than one occasion before I actually get started.  I’ve definitely abandoned about 75% of them after chapter one – and that’s after I already vetted and vetoed a whole stack of them in the library.  Is this a natural sense of caution and self-defence or just another manifestation of my own particular blend of neuroses?

To try and crack the cycle I’ve taken a different tack over the last week and it’s actually be the reason why my blog is late…  I’ve checked out a Psychology textbook.  For years I’ve wanted to do a course on Psychology at night school but have always allowed my lack of finances to get in the way.  Then I readsomething Stephen Fry had to say about learning – that he cannot understand why people blame a lack of education when there are such amazing libraries at their disposal.  So, I took action and got the text book – just to see if I really was interested or if it was a way to get free and slightly less therapy.

The initially interesting thing was that I did my usual leafing and ignoring thing for the first two weeks I had checked the book out – in fact I was going to return it when the library staff went on strike for a week and I found myself bored on a Sunday afternoon and the book staring at me.  I then went into another of my default delaying mechanisms – finding a lovely book to make notes in and a pen that would make my notes look nice and neat and a  good cup of tea….  Finally I decided to actually get on with what now felt like my homework.  And here’s the thing – I’m really loving it.  I’m not rushing through as I’m savouring so many of the ideas and I haven’t got my usual defensive resistance as it’s an educational source as opposed to a potentially cynical ploy to make money from the lecture  and chat show circuit.  I feel like I’ve learned heaps about myself and have started a monthly savings direct debit towards a training course.


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