Mirna is a brilliant patent attorney who voraciously consumes self-help books and podcasts on family relationships, marriage, and parenting like it’s toilet paper during a pandemic. She can explain everybody’s problems, including her husband’s, her grown children’s, their spouses, and her in-laws; but Mirna cannot penetrate the wall that separates misery from happiness. She seems eternally damned to a frustrating relationship with her husband, distanced and cold-shoulders from her grown children, and the perception that her in-laws are country hicks and ignorant of psychology and high minded philosophies.

Adopted at birth, she believes she has come to grips with her early trauma. Fifteen years after her ugly divorce from her first husband, she continues to berate her ex over his loose relationship with morality. Her energy around family and friends is a pious version of principles sprinkled with boundaries. She is not aware of her energy and how people avoid her omniscience and condescending speech.

Have you ever met someone like this?

Do you have a Mirna in your family or circle of friends? Any conversation about dysfunctional behavior and the Mirna’s of the world insert their voice and confident opinions about the clear and presenting problems unaware of their own confirmation biases. Mirna fits the description of a self-help junkie.

By definition, a self-help junkie is identifiable because their knowledge is unpracticed. They have no experiential knowledge of how it actually works. They project their book learning or anecdotal evidence into their narrative and place themselves in the role of savior (rescuer) or victim (helpless, hopeless, powerless) in their story. Yet they ooze confidence that their immaculate perception (confirmation bias) is better than anyone within ear shot.

Mirna is unconsciously incompetent. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know and she is unwilling to learn what she doesn’t know. As Jordan Peterson explains, her existing knowledge, which is vast, is insufficient. It’s not working. She’s not in the flow. She doesn’t live in acceptance and she doesn’t manifest neutral energy with others who constantly make mistakes. Being around Mirna is like being around a nagging judge with a busy gavel constantly smacking your knuckles for unknown mistakes that only the judge knows about. Mirna may posses knowledge or many data points. What Mirna lacks is wisdom – applied knowledge.

The challenge with Mirna’s approach to relationships and life is that her knowledge doesn’t work, or she, and others like her, wouldn’t be miserable, frustrated, and feel the craving to insert their unsolicited voice into others business. You can identify a Mirna by behavior and words. Cognitive distortions and social communication blindspots provide a fluorescent hue around them. In other words, their energy suffocates all life forms in the circle of influence.

Each of us have some Mirna in us. Take a moment today and practice being neutral in a conversation and note how it feels to approach a relationship from a position of learning and discovery, instead of having to be right.

What is right (conflict) is a much happier space than who (contention) is right.