I am a sucker for self help books. I cannot satisfy fast enough my appetite for reading the latest New York Times Best Seller on “How To Live the Life You Imagined” or “Grow Rich by Thinking”. While most of my peers are on the internet shopping for clothes and accessories or looking at porn, I’m trawling Amazon for obscure books on self esteem written by psychologists from Sweden. And looking at porn.
It reached the point when my shelves, side tables and cupboard couldn’t accommodate any more books by Tony Robbins that I asked myself “Why am I so fascinated by this genre of literature?”. The answer was simple, I was looking for a definitive solution. A formula to life. A set of rules that when followed would guarantee money, success, fame, a Brazilian model boyfriend, fabulous friends, a SL55 Mercedes (and Range Rover Sport), limitless funds to travel, an apartment in New York, a house in the Hamptons, four children, a dog, a live-in masseuse and a pool boy who wore cutoff denim shorts while singing “she works hard for the money” a la The Birdcage. Surely if I read enough then eventually I would have sufficient knowledge and life would unfold seamlessly? I realised that I was missing the point.
While many self help books spruik the benefits of simply reciting affirmations to achieve success or visualising your life as you want it to be in an approach that I can only describe as the “fast food” method, there are many books that offer true insight into how to improve your life. The former category is rather shallow and taps into people’s laziness and need for a quick fix in order to sell copies while the latter category takes a more spiritual approach. Summed up rather briefly, the “fast food” method gives you rules to follow in order to find fulfilment in whichever area you are lacking while the “spiritual method” teaches you that there is only one rule. And that rule is the importance of being true to yourself. When you are true to yourself, everything else falls into place. The things that you really want become clear and you often find that they are significantly different to the things you valued before. True happiness can only come from within and in order to access this happiness you first need to honour your truth.
Why do so many gay men suffer? I believe that it’s because for so long we have denied our true selves or hated our true selves. We have created beautiful bodies to hide behind, adorned our exterior in flashy clothes, involved ourselves in bitchiness and drama all in attempt to deny our inner pain, a pain caused by avoiding our inner truth.
This is why rule number one is the most important rule of all. There are no rules in life more important than honouring your true self. Only then can one find true fulfilment and happiness. Some of the richest and most successful people I have come across are also the most miserable. They followed the so-called rules of life which indeed lead them to money, success, fame but once they started living the lives they thought they always wanted, they realised they were still unhappy. To be happy is to be true to yourself. That is all there is to know.
So put down the self help books because I have done the readings for you and it can all be summed up beautifully in one sentence, written by my favourite author Eckart Tolle:
True Salvation is fulfillment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of Being that depends on nothing outside itself
What do you think is the key to happiness? Comment below and share your thoughts.