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Self-Help Books, What You’re Missing


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It’s never too late. So if you’re looking for change a great place to start is to pick up a self-help book. It feels like now we are over inundated with quotes and self-help Instagrams featuring motivational tips for coping with anxiety, stress, relationship woos, career, and just life in general, but things didn’t used to be that way. Where to start? Find what’s right for you, whether just to read or to write your own self-help book one day. It’s never too late to start. It’s been said that “the whole point of personal development is to expand more of what you’ve got.” [1] Reading a little bit each day should help get the right narratives in place to help guide you through your day, whether that’s a dose of positive reinforcement to help block out negative thinking, or reassurance in the form of motivational quotes that you read on social media, every little bit counts, so be sure to add and select what suits you.

One of the best ways to identify what’s going on with you, especially for those of us who have not started therapy yet, self-help books is a great way to get help in the privacy of your own home without having to outright admit that you’re having a problem in this one specific area of life. Sometimes it takes a little research, reading, and writing with guided prompts to get to the core of what your issues are and that’s a wonderful way to better get to know yourself, in the process of improving your daily outlook, self-esteem, and self-image. According to Rachel Richardson (2010), “a good self-help book follows the principles of good therapy.” So don’t be shy, writers write for you, not just to hear themselves speak, and most with experience helping others, having gone through their battles in life too, experts in their field. Its not just good psychotherapy, its called “Bibliotherapy (i.e. treatment with books).” [2]

Self-help books include everything from Mark Manson, Jen Sincero, Eckhart Tolle, Vex King, Malcom Gladwell, Brene Brown, to learning forgiveness with Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, recommends [3] In fact self-improvement books now account for over $10 billion a year in the U.S. alone (2009), according to Lupien, in [4]

Don’t delay the process, one of the first steps to overcoming a problem or deficiency on our end is to own our problems with pride. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be going through a hard time, breakups are tough, finding work is a challenge, there are so many ways to improve your life so that you can live the life you want one day. Often times it starts with making small changes in life, or setting small goals, in order to accomplish bigger goals in life. Hence all the lifestyle bloggers online, it really does make a difference to make tiny changes to your lifestyle just to feel good again. That can include redecorating your room, drinking more water, setting up a fitness and diet plan, shopping on a budget and spending less, it’s all about you! What will make you feel good and go from there. Self-care is not selfish.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results has been described as a pathway to insanity. This is how reading self-help books help. Get out of that negative rut and start replacing old thoughts with new ones, it’s never too late to learn. In order to conquer our demons and move forward sometimes we need to take on a new approach to problems where our old methods weren’t working. The more productive you are toward reaching your goals will in turn give you a new sense of confidence. When you believe in yourself anything is possible. [5]

Challenging your thoughts is one step toward getting the change you want to see in your life. Sometimes in order to grow we have to step outside of our comfort zones and “push ourselves to think outside of the box.” [6] The Black Swan author Nassim Nicholas Taleb teaches us exactly this: “you can do everything right and still lose, or do everything wrong and still win.” [7] So while your inner critic may be convincing you to give up, who better to encourage you to keep trying and why, other than a self-help book. There are so many people who have failed and then achieved success, you are no different.

According to one blogger, “with the guidance of self-help,” she has “experienced personal growth, practiced self-work, and embraced self-acceptance,” and has also started “healthier habits, too.” [8] Seek progress rather than perfection, self-help books remind us to “accept [our] current circumstances,” while giving us tools to improve upon where we are in life, putting “one foot in front of the other.” [9] Most self-help books teach us to cultivate a growth mindset in order to improve our ability to succeed in all areas of life. What motivates you to change? Think of the most important people and places in your life. That is what should affect how you “lead, manage, and show up in relationships.” [10] It’s so common these days to forget to set our standards high, and at who’s expense, our own. Living a better life is not all about money and things, its about the quality of your conversations with others, the time you have to spend with family and friends, and how you feel about yourself. All these factors translate in the end ultimately affecting your happiness in the long run. How you reflect on your life and progress has a lot to do with your own feelings of fulfillment. There’s always more to read. Good luck!

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