You might call 2017 the year of self-care. Everyone's looking to improve their health and wellness, whether it's through meditating, drinking a chaga latte or reading a self-help book.
But at what point does self-care become self-destruction? Motivational speaker and best-selling author Danielle LaPorte, one of Oprah’s Super Soul 100, wants you to know that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to wellness. In her new book, “White Hot Truth,” she teaches you how to keep it real (spiritually) by avoiding posers at all costs and learning to love yourself.
This June, LIVESTRONG.COM’s Healthy Reads book club is diving into “White Hot Truth.” Join us on Goodreads.com to discuss your favorite moments from the book and stay up to date on opportunities to chat with the author!
We caught up with LaPorte to learn more about what it means to stay true to yourself on your spiritual path.
How Not to Get Played by the Self-Help Industry
LIVESTRONG: In your book you essentially call shenanigans on the self-help industry, pointing out that it’s a consumer industry. I think that’s interesting because people forget that.
Danielle LaPorte: That’s right. I think that the self-help space has become a form of entertainment. And it doesn’t mean that that’s all that’s going on. But, you know, when people want answers and people are in pain, we will gravitate toward shiny things. And the louder you are and the better graphics you have on Instagram — whether you are wise or not — you’re often construed as wise.
So what we have happening is that a lot of this stuff isn’t wisdom at all because it’s not true. They didn’t actually suffer and figure something out and recover and decide it was something to teach.
But there’s good news. You’ve got to fall for some lies to get to the truth. You’ve got to buy some snake oil to realize what the real medicine is. You’ve got to join the flock so you can break away and become an individual. We’re right on track.
LS: How can aspiring to be a better person actually be a bad thing? How could this ever hurt me?
DL: Because sometimes you’re doing the so-called “healthy thing.” It looks really healthy and spiritual, but you’re actually doing it for the wrong reasons. I think it’s not so much about how we’re seeking to be better, it’s about why.
Are You Becoming Obsessive?
LS: What are some warning signs that someone’s spiritual aspiration is turning into an obsession?
DL: Well, I think if there’s any kind of punishment that you put in place for yourself if you don’t do certain things. Like if I don’t make it to yoga, if I don’t meditate today, if I don’t go to this workshop, then I’m not going to watch Netflix tonight. Or there’s this barrage of self-criticism that comes in.
Where Spirituality Comes From
LS: You said in your book something along the lines of: “You can be a spiritual seeker, but sometimes to a fault. But you don’t really need otherworldly experiences to be a spiritual person. That spirituality is already within you.” Can you talk a little bit about that?
DL: Those experiences have actually come from really human moments and interactions, you know, when your friend is heartbroken and they come over, and it’s that snotty, ugly cry, and you drop everything and just hold them.
Spotting the Scammers
LS: What are some wise practices when it comes to choosing what’s right for you?
DL: One of the ways to know that a teacher is genuine is they readily share their own story of struggle. And I find that most genuine teachers are really open about their humanness.
I really pay attention to where people’s money comes from and how they’re making it. Is there a philanthropic component to their business?
I also pay attention to how teachers use their platform to shine a light on other people and other causes. A real healer takes other people up with them. Just look at someone’s Instagram feed. Is it all just selfies and them on talk shows, or are they really bringing their sisters along with them?
And your body knows. Your body knows every single time if something is right. And you may think, “Well, my body didn’t know for six months that this tantra teacher was creepy.” Yes it did, you just didn’t listen.
If you think someone is creepy, then they are. That’s it. Yeah, you may have issues and maybe you need to open your mind, but that’s where you’re at.
Dealing With the Haters
LS: Can you talk a little bit about our problem with love?
DL: I am totally stoked that so much messaging is about self-love and self-respect. But we also need to talk about the consequences of self-love.
When you get there and you start putting boundaries in place and really treating yourself with the respect that you deserve, things will not necessarily be harmonious in your life because of it.
You’re going to lose some people. When you love yourself and you’re involved with people who don’t love themselves, there’s going to be some resentment and loss or some things to repair.
So you need to prepare for that, and then you need to proceed anyway, because all goodness in your life starts with respecting yourself.
LS: You talk about forgiveness in your book as an important thing for someone’s spiritual path, but do we really have to forgive everyone?
DL: There are people in my life I did not want to forgive. And I had a hard wake-up call that I really needed to do that in order to move on with my life and to be luminous. And I worked hard on a soul level — meditating and praying and visualizing. It was painful getting to a place of acceptance.
And in day-to-day life, I am not having lunch with that person or those people. But it doesn’t mean there’s any ill will. I think you do have to find some deep level of acceptance, but it doesn’t mean you’re making dinner for each other anymore.
LS: What are three things that you do every day that help you personally keep it real, as you say, on your spiritual path?
DL: I meditate every single day. And if I have to get up early to do it, I do it. There’s a lot of essential oils, salt and bathing in my life. There’s a lot of ritual around cleansing. And I do a lot of letting go at the end of the day and even in the morning — letting go of everything.
For More, Join LIVESTRONG.COM’s Book Club
Join LS Healthy Reads for discussions, reading guides and giveaways. Every other month we’ll be reading a new book about fitness, health and wellness. Get your own copy of “White Hot Truth” on Amazon now.
What Do YOU Think?
Will you be joining the LIVESTRONG.COM’S Healthy Reads book club? How do you decide what’s a load of hogwash and what isn’t? What are some things you do to practice self-care and spirituality? Share your experiences with the community in the comments section!