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Self Help for Smarties
Self Help for Smarties: Success Secrets for Weight Loss, Love and Sex, Wealth and Parenting
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Irwin gives an overview of the book:

So many people are unhappy because they are trapped in repeated self-defeating behaviors with weight, love, career, and parenting, and are unable to change for the better no matter how much they desire to or try. Isn't it remarkable that no matter how intelligent or well meaning the advice you get from magazines, books, experts, and friends, it is extremely difficult to successfully apply it to your life? My purpose in writing Self-Help for Smarties was to help you change what you dislike in your life. I plan to show you what specifically happened to you to cause the behaviors you hate, to learn why it is so hard to change, and to provide you with simple and clear charts and real-life stories that will show you the way without psychobabble and complicated theories.
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So many people are unhappy because they are trapped in repeated self-defeating behaviors with weight, love, career, and parenting, and are unable to change for the better no matter how much they desire to or try.

Isn't it remarkable that no matter how intelligent or well meaning the advice you get from magazines, books, experts, and friends, it is extremely difficult to successfully apply it to your life?

My purpose in writing Self-Help for Smarties was to help you change what you dislike in your life. I plan to show you what specifically happened to you to cause the behaviors you hate, to learn why it is so hard to change, and to provide you with simple and clear charts and real-life stories that will show you the way without psychobabble and complicated theories.

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People tell me over and over how "impossible" it seems to change their unwanted attitudes and that they have "no idea" why that is. If you're reading this book, clearly you want to make changes in your life. If you want these changes to last, you'll need to understand the how and why of guilt and resentment. How things you experienced in dealing with your parents and siblings created self-defeating patterns in you. Why these very same self-defeating patterns leep you from functioning as well as you can, or from being the person you'd like to be. All the willpower you have and the new year's resolutions you make will not help you function better or assist you in becoming the person you truly do want to be. Why? Because long after you've left your family, your childhood patterns continue to show up and impose themselves in your adult life.

Ever heard the joke about the young man who calls his mother and asks her how she's feeling? With a moan, she replies, "Oh, I haven't been doing well at all." "What's wrong, Mom?" he asks. "well, I haven't eaten for days." "How come?" She replies, "Because I didn't want to have my mouth full incase you called."

Why do we laugh at that joke? Because it makes it easier for us to think about unpleasant experiences with our parents, experiences we've all had and that may have had a negative impact on our emotions and behavior. In that particular joke, the young man's mother makes him feel guilty for not calling more often by showing him how hurt she is. Imagine the impact on the man in the joke if his mother had treated him this way from childhood on up. Maybe he'd feel guilty about not being attentive enough to her. And maybe he'd then go on and live his life... all his dealings with others... feeling it was wrong to put his needs first. Ultimately, he's end up being angry with himself for doing just that. Imagine living life this way.

People often don't give much weight to the impact their parents' and siblings' guilt-provoking behaviors have on their lives. Yet the repeated comments and actions that make us think that we've wounded and threatened them just by being ourselves add up to affect us deeply. The joke above, along with its possible lifelong repercussions, makes us think that we should give our parents' influence more weight.

You childhood probably had its share of carefree fun, exploring, risk-taking, sports challenges, "I dare you's" and "I double-dare you's." But "carefree fun" can quickly become "guilt-provoking events" when, for example, your parent cries out "You'll kill yourself!" as you skateboard down the hill in front of your friend's house. Or "You'll get pneumonia" when you get home from school with your jacket off and sweater tied around your waist. Then there's the "You're giving me a heart attack" when you miss the bus from the mall and get home twenty minutes later than you said you'd be home. What are the results of these repeated bombardments of parental anguish? You, the child, start believing that being carefree, playful, and adventurous threatens your parent's well-being. And what do you do? As a loving child, you try to protect your very worried parent from more suffering by curtailing your normal childhood activities. Where does this leave you? Becoming a grown-up with a very cautious, inhibited attitude about sports specifically and life generally. And if it is sports you're overly cautious about, you'll be reluctant to ski, hike, bike; moreover, you'll have trouble overcoming your caution no matter how frustrated you feel, how hard you try, and how much you will yourself to master a sport.

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Irwin

Irwin Gootnick, M.D. is a renowned psychiatrist, speaker, and self-help author. He has been featured on many radio and television shows, including:

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