Best letter I’ve ever gotten: On resources, mistakes and real empowerment

This is one of the most remarkable letters I have ever received from a reader. Check it out, and then I’ll tell you what makes it remarkable:

“Dear Dr. Binazir, My name is Marcia and I live in Singapore and I just turned 21 which means I am now entitled to a spot in jail should I break any laws, oh and also, I have to accept full adult responsibilities like thinking about my career path and finishing university with a degree.

I struggled with Depression for six years and I was always consumed with self-harm and harbored hostility against men because they were eternal jerks and no one seemed to like me because well, I never realized that it was because

I never really liked myself either! Towards the end of those 6 years I stumbled across your book and decided to give it a try because, I seemed to be at my wit’s end about men and life in general. I thought having a boyfriend would be my solution to happiness. I thought your book would be my solution to happiness.

I was wrong about the first statement but right about the second.

After reading your book, I felt empowered, like a GODDESS WARRIOR, ready to take on anything in life. Your book helped me so much more than just understanding men; it also gave me a totally new approach to life that I had never really considered possible. I met my first boyfriend by adopting your strategy and jumped straight in believing that he was a Great Guy, a Victor. However, it turned out that he was a Lance and after we broke up he turned into a Biff.

It didn’t work out because on my side, I was depending on him as my source of happiness instead of focusing on loving myself. I skimmed over the earlier chapters and skipped to the juicy, empowering parts like being a Goddess and going out and dating men etc. I tried to implement your belief system but I never really committed to them and when I was with my first boyfriend, addicted to oxytocin and butterflies in my stomach, your entire chapter about Bad Boys flew out of my head. I think the entire book flew out of my head. I used it as a strategy, not as a way of life.

I reverted back to being needy, self-deprecating, losing sight of the Goddess and when we broke up I felt like the world was ending because throwing a junkie high on love out on her own would logically induce serious withdrawal symptoms.

Rereading your book right now, as of this moment on my Kindle, I finally begin to fully understand how important it is to love yourself and learn to let the world be the way it is. I read so many articles on how to love yourself but they always seem too vague, too lofty about how great you are and other self-affirming quotes. Your book puts your concepts across in a way that I can understand and it explains everything adequately without being too much of a drag. You make it seem doable, realistic and makes me willing to fully embrace your concepts.

Thank you for writing this book and introducing it into the Universe. It has done so much more than you can ever imagine by helping me beat Depression and understand the way life works. It is helping me now, to learn how to let go of my ex and gives me hope or positive expectation that it will all work out in the end because of the abundance of the Universe.

Sending you love and light, Marcia”

So why do I love this letter, besides the fact that it butters up me and the book in epic fashion? Let me count the ways…

1) First of all, she’s 21. That’s pretty young, since most people who find my work are over 30. For example, yesterday, I was speaking to a 26-year old woman who said, “Oh, I don’t read books like yours.” At the same time, she told me she was perennially single and really doesn’t give guys a chance –hmmm. I’m finding this to be fairly common amongst the 18-30 age group. As the old Zen saying goes, “When the student is ready, the master will appear.”

On the other hand, Marcia has the presence of mind at this tender age to realize a) there is a problem and b) she can do something about it. She sought out resources (I’m sure there were others besides The Tao of Dating). As a result, the remaining 80 years of her life are likely to end up much richer.

But you know what? Whatever age you are right now, it’s the youngest you’ll ever be! I know, it’s a miracle, and it’s always true. Change starts today, because it’s never a day that’s not today. So get on it already, since today you’re also the oldest you’ve ever been and you’re wise enough to know what’s good for you.

2) Marcia actually got it wrong the first time around. She went for the Have-Do-Be system, instead of the Be-Do-Have. She thought that she could use some techniques from the book (which apparently work) and then she’d have a boyfriend and eternal happiness and white ponies and a castle with whipped cream on top.

However, if you don’t start at the level of identity, it all falls apart. You must BE the thing you seek. You must be the source of joy, elevation, love, enrichment and general awesomeness if you want more of that in your life. Otherwise, even if you bring a Victor/Good Guy into your life (has both spine and heart), you’ll turn him into something else that you weren’t bargaining for — a Lance (all heart, no spine) or Biff (all spine, no heart).

3) Realizing that it’s okay to make mistakes, she re-read the book, then implemented its learnings. How many times did you fall before you learned how to walk? What if you had given up on the 100th try? You’d still be crawling now, that’s what, and that’s just socially awkward. Since you’re not crawling, I’m going to assume you have perseverance hardwired into your neurology. Yup, that’s you. Keep at it. Fail better, like Samuel Beckett said. Keep at it.

The big reason that I love this letter is that it exemplifies empowerment. Someone became aware of the resources surrounding her and implemented them. If you already have The Tao of Dating, well, there’s one resource. If you have amazing books you’ve only read once, there’s another stack of resources. If you have a church elder or wise uncle, maybe there’s another one. For those who seek it, the world is full of wisdom. Right now, I’m reading The Tools: 5 tools to help you find courage, creativity, and willpower and inspire you to live life in forward motion by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, and it’s like a water pistol to a napper’s face. Likely to wake you up, and a good candidate for the next title in Dr Ali’s Book Club.

Now that I’ve given you the “get a move on” message, I’d like to add that real, lasting change takes time. As Dr Gordon Livingston said as item #15 of Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now, “Only bad things happen quickly.” If you want to change stuff about your life, give yourself a nice 6-12 months to do it. Go easy on you. That’s how you give the best chance for the ensuing 840 months to be faaaantastic.

Keep moving, Dr Ali