**this post originally appeared on the self-styled life** A big push at SEEK Safely, the non-profit organization my family began in response to my sister’s death at a self-help event, has been getting the self-help industry to adopt the SEEK Safely Promise. The Promise asks self-help practitioners to respect and protect their customers by being honest, open, and providing a safe environment.It recently occurred to me that maybe I should not only promote the Promise but sign it myself. The self-styled life began after my sister’s death and in many ways has been part of my grief and coping process–a way to express some of the challenges of loss and even more, reconnect with myself amid the fog that grief creates in a person’s life. But in writing the self-styled life, I have frequently been aware of a peculiar tension–the fact that my own blog could easily be categorized as “self-help.” Acknowledging this, I wrote my own disclaimer before the SEEK Safely Promise even existed. I want to make sure my readers understand that I share my personal experiences and insights here, but that I don’t claim to be some sort of expert, therapist, or “life coach.” I’m more like an outspoken and reflective friend who offers unsolicited advice. But as this blog grows and I gain more readers, though you’re all “consuming” my personal blend of anecdotal wisdom and curiosity for free, I think it still makes sense to formally adopt the SEEK Safely Promise. And in doing so, I also hope to make even the casual reader aware of an important fact: we are ALL consumers of self-help. From reading an inspiring blog or the mass-market memoir that takes on way-of-life status, to watching Oprah, to listening to motivational speakers on tape during the commute, to waking on hot coals at a motivation seminar/event–the vast majority are using this self-help stuff all the time. My sister’s story is a warning of just how close any of us is to being manipulated by an irresponsible scammer–hers was a quick trip from Oprah-endorsed guru to books and tapes to seminars to the retreat that claimed her life. So while I sign the Promise, I ask all of you to take a look at SEEK’s website, especially the Empowerment Guide. Empower and protect yourself in case the person inspiring you isn’t going to. This is not a shameless plug. It’s a message that is for all of us.