I've worked in theater for almost 15 years. One thing I have learned is that plays are meant to be watched, they are meant to be performed. Sure, they can be read, but you get so much more out of the experience (emotionally, mentally, energetically) by watching words come to life. I mean just think about it, it's called "play" for a reason.
The same goes for reading self-help books. I've read a ton and I've gotten a lot out of them intellectually. I understand myself and humanity a little more and I may even have more compassion for all of us.
I also tend to forget the things I read and therefore my life really doesn't change the way I want it to.
There is something to be said for living the teachings, taking what you've learned and applying it with intention. I have integrated so much more by doing the work than just reading about it. Doing the work over and over brings it into my heart, into my body, where it eventually, unconsciously, becomes a part of me.
What helped me the most to integrate the self help books I've read was being a part of a book group, where I was encouraged to do the work. I joined to hold myself accountable to doing the work...that's another reason I hired a Personal Life Coach: I will do my work when someone asks it of me, it's a challenge to simply do the work on my own. And that's okay. That's why there are so many options (and some of them free!) to bringing theories into your life to change it for the better. So many ways to get your hands in the earth, to feel, to breathe, to live!
Find ways to integrate it, to experience things viscerally, just do it!
Words are just words until you breathe life into them.
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