Is Your Self-development Actually Holding You Back

Since the age of 18, I have been a self-help reading maniac. Like, to the point where I was running out of books relevant to me to buy in the self-help section of my local Borders because I read all of them.

I’m not exactly sure what it was, but something intrigued me. I wanted to KNOW what makes people tick. I wanted to know exactly why I am the way that I am.

Then about two years ago after a bad relationship, while living overseas in Korea, I dove into even MORE self-help books.

Is Your Self-development Actually Holding You Back?

I was desperately seeking to find something… something that would just give me all the answers I ever needed so I could stop feeling so incredibly disappointed and unfulfilled. I wanted to know and understand all that I could. In fact, I actually feel that I had this unsatisfied desire to literally understand EVERYTHING.

Sure, this can be a good thing. In fact, when it started out it was healthy. I felt an inner love of everything in the world – good and bad – and through that love and I wanted to learn and understand it all.

But this drive had gotten a little overboard. I wasn’t actually enjoying it anymore. It wasn’t coming out of this desire to discover… it was coming out of something else. Something that I just couldn’t fully see within myself yet despite all this inner work that I was doing.

I’m not exactly sure when the realization fully hit me, but about a year ago my boyfriend at the time said something to me that really shined some light on the situation. He said, “You know, you don’t have to know everything.”

I stopped dead in my tracks a bit. A part of me wanted to quickly get defensive and say something like, “What? I know that! I just like learning!” but then there was another part of me that could feel how I was exhausting myself. I wasn’t enjoying it – I was wearing myself out.

It was around that time then I came to realize that the reason I kept desperately seeking to know and learn more was not because I genuinely wanted to understand more. Rather, it was because, deep down, I felt I wasn’t enough. I felt that I NEEDED to know all of these things to be enough — to be accepted, loved, supported and to, overall, be considered “okay” in this world.

All of us, at some point or another, seek things in order to “fill” us up. We seek out people, places, and things in hopes that at some point something outside of us will provide us with all the answers we ever need so then we can stop seeking.

But the question to ask ourselves is: If I’m constantly seeking for answers to things outside of myself, then how can I ever stop seeking? The truth is that we don’t stop seeking when we get “all the answers”, we stop seeking when we realize that there is nothing to seek. We stop seeking when we fully realize that all the answers we need are already there deep within us.

Sure, it’s good to read other people’s work for inspiration – but that should be the only motive. Any time the seeking comes with the underlying motive of “I need to do this to be good enough” it goes too far.

Believe You Are Enough TODAY!

What do you find yourself seeking in people and things?

Are you a maniac self-help reader like I was or are you constantly attending self-development groups?

What answers are you looking for?

Next time you find yourself grabbing a new book or attending a new group, ask yourself: Am I going into this with the motive to be inspired or secretly hoping to get “the answer”?



jennifer Twardowski

Jennifer Twardowski is a self and relationship expert. She helps 20-something women to overcome codependency and people pleasing so that they can create fulfilling relationships feel more personally empowered. Learn more about Jennifer at You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter

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