Controversial book reveals that psychological addictions prevent us from realizing the fulfillment we seek.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/21/2006 --Over a century has passed since the earliest self help-book was published by Samuel Smiles in 1859. The book, appropriately entitled Self-Help, was the first small step in developing what has now become a gigantic multi-billion dollar industry. This phenomenal growth should be of no surprise to anyone. After all, as our lives get busier, more and more of us are looking for answers on how to cope with the mounting stress, fear and discontent we experience. Yet, co-authors Satyam and Freedom Malhotra claim that most self-help pundits have failed to diagnose the problems we face correctly. They argue that the stress, fear and discontent we experience are symptoms of a much deeper problem that is not being addressed. In their new book Born on the Mountaintop: Reclaim Your Life and Unleash Your Spirit they challenge the traditional approach to self help, and add that despite the best of intentions, self-help usually leads to even greater problems.
Why? The answer can be found in what the authors describe as the one central belief that has been drilled into our heads since the day we were born. This central belief is that we must prove ourselves worthy of the love and acceptance we long for. In other words, we need a reason to feel good about ourselves. Just how deep does this belief run in our psyches? “Most of us have never experienced love or acceptance in any other way,” says co-author Satyam Malhotra, whose background in physical therapy and alternative health has culminated in the insights he shares in the book. “Think of a time when you felt good about yourself. If you are like most people, you probably needed to give yourself some reason to justify feeling this way. Likewise when other people have accepted you, you probably had to fulfill some expectation to gain their approval.”
Sounds pretty normal, right? Well, the authors contend that as long as we take for granted the idea that we need to prove ourselves worthy of love we will never find freedom from the fear and stress we experience. They go on to reveal how every condition we place on our self-worth results in an addiction that, at best, gives us temporary highs in life, but always leaves us dissatisfied and in search for more.
“That is why self-help can be so counterproductive. Most self-help teaches us how to think or behave in order to lead a happier life. Though these rules are intended for our betterment, they become a new set of conditions that we use to measure our self-worth. When we live up to these rules we experience a “high” and when we cannot we end up judging ourselves,” says co-author Freedom Malhotra, who uses his background as the former top national sales executive for HSBC Retail Services to help salespeople overcome their fears. “The bottom line is that any idea of what you need to become to feel more worthy of love will become an addiction. Rather than enriching your life as you intended, you find yourself enslaved by the fear of being unworthy of love.”
Given the public’s growing frustration with quick-fixes over the years, the authors are not the first to question traditional self-help ideas. But, their insights into how most of us are addicted on an unconscious level may be hitting upon a missing link in our understanding of stress and fear. The authors encourage people to clear the mental fog created from the notions of what they are supposed to be and how life is supposed to unfold, because that is the real problem.
It seems that their unique approach is beginning to catch on. “The Born on the Mountaintop approach is liberating,” says clinical psychotherapist Monica Vermani. “It leads people to challenge what they do, and why they do it. I think they are doing a great service by helping people break free from these deep-rooted ideas.”
Self-help is not the only mainstream notion that the authors challenge. The need to succeed, to look a certain way or the need to compare ourselves with others can all arise from addictions without us being aware of it. Even seemingly beneficial activities such as looking for a life-partner, seeking enlightenment or trying to help “save the world” can become addictions that severely limit our experience of life.
Since our addictions are being reinforced practically everywhere we go, the authors stress that there is no magic pill to turn our lives around. Their book originates from an intensive twenty-hour workshop they teach in Toronto.
“That most of us have these addictions is nothing to be ashamed of. What is most important is that you take an objective and compassionate look at how the need to prove your worth can be dominating how you feel, behave, and interact with others,” says Satyam. “Once you become aware of your addictions and how they specifically affect your life, the real fun begins. You can open the door to a realm of new possibilities by challenging the notion that you need any reason to accept yourself. Ultimately, by breaking free from your addictions you will reclaim the power to live your life, your way.”
Freedom and Satyam Malhotra are co-founders of Me Magic, an organization dedicated to empowering people to break free from the chains of their minds and hearts. Combining their distinct backgrounds in health care and business, they show how it is possible to reclaim freedom in our personal and professional lives. For more information visit www.memagic.com.
Available online and at select local bookstores
Publication Date: July 2006
Retail Price: 24.95 CAD