Go to any bookstore (do people still do that?) and you will see hundreds of them – books that fall under the category of “self-help.” Sometimes you will find people standing in these aisles, paperbacks up to their faces, eagerly devouring whatever nuggets they can.
I am not one of these people. I don’t “do” self-help as a general rule, as the very words just make me think of Dr. Phil and his Southern-fried philosophy on “communication.”
Do you point at me, sir? How dare you!!
People change, however.
I don’t delve too much into my personal life on this blog, except where it intersects with my current snark-fest. If you’ve been a reader of BWP for a while, I used to occasionally drop references to “the boyfriend” and then, later, “husband-to-be.” Well, it didn’t work out – and by this, I mean it exploded in my face in a spectacular fashion last year. Suffice to say, I was utterly blindsided and crushed. The verbal bomb was dropped on a Sunday morning (see ‘spectacular fashion’) and I had maybe three humiliating hours in which to take my things and vacate the premises.
Breakups happen; they’ve happened to me. This one has hurt way more than anything else. A good friend recommended a self-help book that she found useful after she had her own relationship crash and burn. I gave it the mental side-eye for a second, but then, I thought, Let this be a new era of Nicole, and give it a try.
Imagine my surprise when I actually found it helpful! I moved on to another one, and that one was also useful in its way.
Of course, there have been horrible ones. Let’s face it: everyone and their cat is some sort of guru or expert these days, and most of it is the same rehashed BS we’ve all heard before. And, getting back to the snark, THOSE are the ones on which we will be focusing for this new occasional segment I’d like to call, The House at Review Corner.
Let’s begin with one I finished last night, entitled Make Every Man Want You: how to be so irresistible you’ll barely keep from dating yourself!
I don’t want every man to want me, but I have to give her props for a catchy hook. The preface reads like a bad infomercial (are there good infomercials? Probably not). “What if I told you that I could make magic happen in an hour’s time? What if I taught you how to harness the magnet that resides inside every woman to pull men out of thin air and towards you RIGHT NOW? I’m going to share the secret of being so irresistible that you will change your life no matter what!” I’m only being slightly over-the-top here, by the way. In case you were wondering, the author has been a Jill-of-all-trades – life coach, fitness personality, relationship expert,
stock car driver . . .
So, how do we become irresistible? Ms Forleo says that the first and most important step is being in the present moment. “Make ISness your business.” What does this mean? No matter what happens, roll with it as if you wanted it to happen. She gives the reader an “action challenge” (these are sprinkled throughout the book to put the ideas in the chapters into practice in your life) – for 24 hours, no matter what happens, observe the shit going wrong and say, “And this is what I want!” Your printer breaks – that’s okay, it’s what you want. You’re stuck in traffic which makes you late for work – breathe easy, for it’s what you want. Okay. What if the traffic that makes you late gets you fired? In this economy especially, that is NOT what you want. If you go to the doctor and you are told you have a tumor, is that okay, too? Don’t worry – cancer is what you want! I’m being glib, but it’s quite easy to go down that road.
Being in the present moment is not a new concept – Buddhists speak of “is-ness” as well. And I understand that this is not supposed to be a very deep book, but the flippant way the author goes about it bothers me.
Moving on. There are five truths every irresistible woman needs to know.
1. A relationship will not save you. I agree with this. The Hollywood ideal of someone else “completing” you is always shoved in our faces, however, and we grow with this idea. Classic Disney movies – someday, my prince will come and rescue me. And don’t we all have this fantasy, anyway, no matter how intellectually unsound we KNOW it is? It’s not acting on it that is the lesson to be learned here. You do not need someone else to be complete; you are complete all by yourself.
2. Relationships are spiritual opportunities, not a needs exchange. A relationship with another person is the path to spiritual growth. However, isn’t this also a need? Abraham Maslow, an early proponent of humanistic psychology, drafted a Hierarchy of Needs, of which “self-actualization,” loosely defined as spiritual growth and change in order to recognize one’s full potential, was at the top.
Maslow posited that once the basic, physiological needs have been met, one can advance to the next level. So, in brief, spiritual growth between two people, according to this view, would be a “needs exchange.” Therefore, this point contradicts itself.
3. Life is now – this is it.
See earlier, about living in the present.
4. Men are “as-is” merchandise – love ’em or leave ’em, baby!
Fairly self-explanatory; don’t try to change men. If this is a fundamental truth, though, why does society always shove exceptions in our faces? It’s easy to blame society, I know, but it can have a very big impact on how such things are perceived. Add that many of the general population are easily swayed by such things and voila, preconceived notions! Men are guilty of this, too.
5. If you want guarantees in love, you don’t want love.
Yes, I know, nothing lasts forever. People fall out of love all the time. However, without hope or faith that people will keep long-term promises, why even bother? Why get into relationships? Why fall in love and get married? Live in the moment – will that be the new excuse when partners cheat? “Sorry, honey, you know I love you, but I live in the moment, and at that moment, he was there, naked and ready!”
Next up, the seven habits of highly unattractive women. I’ll make this brief.
1. Don’t be needy.
2. Don’t be insecure. (Isn’t that kind of the same? Usually needy people are already insecure, so now you have TWO strikes, ladies)!
3. Don’t be a “clueless communicator.” Be an active listener – no judgement, no filling in the other person’s sentences whilst they talk. Really hear what they are saying as if it is the most interesting thing they will ever say.
4. Don’t be sloppy or unkempt-looking.
5. Don’t be hard and bitter.
6. Don’t be catty and critical, especially of other women.
7. Don’t be boring in bed.
Yawn. Haven’t we heard all of this before? And yet, I can think of several people I know who fit one or more of this “seven unattractive habits” and guess what? GUYS FLOCK TO THEM. Usually because they fit society’s image of attractiveness – stick thin and gorgeous. So, whatever, lady.
The next section is broken up into eight chapters, each with the different secret on how to magnetize men. The first one is to ditch your rules. I agree that those Rules books are destructive, and only reinforce charades and games that trick men. However, she also says to get rid of your “perfect man” list.
To this I say, nay.
I suppose it depends on what is on your perfect man list. If it reads, “6’5″, blonde hair, green eyes, et cetera,” and mainly focuses on physical characteristics, I agree that it should be tossed. However, if you’re like me, you have certain personality traits you look for, such as a sense of humor that matches your own; and you have dealbreakers, such as “must be able to live with a cat.” She thinks we should get rid of those, too, because you are boxing yourself in, and limiting interesting people you can meet. Have fun! Date all kinds of people! That is good advice . . . if you’re still partying it up and in your mid twenties.
I’m single in my early thirties; I have no patience for random dates. If I need a list to help me pare down idiots who are still living the bachelor lifestyle, so be it.
I agree that you should have your own life and interests, and make sure you keep those interests and hobbies active whilst you are in a relationship. Sadly, I have to admit I have not always followed this advice in my own life and it’s something that I need to change.
However, she has another glib chapter about parents not screwing you up, because it’s probably your own perception. Of course, she backpedals and says that some people really DO have major abuse and such in their lives, but hey, so did Oprah, and she overcame it; why can’t you?
I finished the book, but it just gets more ridiculous from there. I think it’s because the book cannot decide what it wants to be. It has a light, humorous tone, but you’re not going to find anything earth-shattering here, although she certainly paints it that way.