The different terminology around self-help
There is much confusion out there about how to refer and talk about the practice of self-help. I suppose self-help can mean taking care of one's health and well-being. I'm here talking more about psychological self-help, which involves learning how to help yourself and then applying what you've learned to your life in order to create lasting positive change.
The self-help industry is vast and it also can have a bad wrap. Some people swear by it, others think it's full of charlatans wanting to make a quick buck.
There are two camps: one firmly believes in self-development and self-knowledge. The other thinks we live in a time where we are constantly challenging and changing ourselves and question why do we have to be so aware of who we are, what we do, who we should be and what we should do?
Have we gone too far in our constant development and ability to adapt quickly. And what about those who are fine with just being?
Fair play and the truth is there is no right or wrong here. There is no better or worse way. It purely comes down to your own personal belief system and experiences.
So, what is self-help? To me, it encompasses transformational steps made towards improving your physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual and financial state in life.
That’s it! In a nutshell. Now it comes down to personal preference. Are you happy with your life the way it is and everything in it? Yes? That’s great. You may not need to look inwards and examine your life/world. Or maybe you believe this is your lot and we should stop complaining and just soldier on. And someday, something may happen where you decide that truly understanding yourself might help you deal with it better or differently.
Others, including myself, had many issues that led us on the road to self-discovery and personal growth. And that is great too. As I said, there is no right or wrong - only what feels right for you.
Now to the terminology I spoke about before. We have:
We covered self-help.
Self-development is a conscious process of improving oneself in various aspects of life. It's a constant pursuit of growth by developing skills, competencies and knowledge. The ultimate goal of self-development is to be a self-fulfilled person.
Personal development is a lifelong process that helps you assess your life goals and ultimately fulfill your potential. You are proactive and take charge of your actions and it is very much linked to self-development and embracing certain self-improvement skills (another terminology for you).
In other words, self-development focuses on ways to improve things that you are already experiencing, like for example anxiety or overthinking or depression. Personal development is about developing and adding new directions to your life - it is more of a long-term way of being and living, looking at all aspects of your life.
In my long-term therapy I started with self-development because I had a nervous breakdown that left me crippled with anxiety, claustrophobia and agoraphobia. I very quickly moved my thinking and life ethos to personal development. I realised that this is my path, which brings us nicely to personal growth and it's meaning.
Personal growth is the result of both personal and self-development as I described with my personal journey. I was first motivated to seek help because of my nervous breakdown (over 30 years ago). Now I live and breathe personal growth in all areas of my life, continually developing, wanting to reach my full potential. Personal growth has been a vital part in my own maturity, success and happiness - hence why I founded Mapology Guides. If I can give back a little of what I've learned and make someone's life better, even in the smallest way.... then I have fulfilled my life's purpose.
“When the student is ready the teacher will appear” – Julia Upton