Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Self-Help Books Cannot Help

Jester reading a bookImage via Wikipedia
     I always look forward to Tuesday edition of two leading broadsheet newspapers in the Philippines.  Tuesday is Wellness Day for both newspapers and a lot of interesting articles can be read and learned from them.  Last Tuesday, I got interested in one article that contained information related to what I have always read.  The author whined about her being stuck with her seemingly unhappy life despite reading a lot of self-help books.  She also lamented about those self-styled gurus whose only aim is to steal money from people who are clueless about the self-help seminars they attend all the time.  The author would like to tell her readers that she does not anymore believe in those books that contain pretty words coated with sugar, most of the time, and spice, once in a while, to make them really attractive to people who are hopeless and do not anymore know where to find a way out.  Those books do not help her and she becomes frustrated all the time.  However, once in a while, she finds herself hiding in between bookshelves reading another self-help books.

     I am a fan of self-help books.  In fact, most of my books, like 90%, fall into this category-self-help.  I really do not deny my earnest desire for self-improvement.  I understand how the author feels particularly when her desperation always get in the way of attempting to transform herself.  Over the years that I spent reading this kind of books, I have discovered some reasons why self-help books cannot really help one move from unfavorable situation to a condition where there is complete peace, harmony, love and abundance.

     Expecting an overnight cure or miracle.  When someone buys a book that he thinks can make him expel all of his negative thoughts in one reading, well the answer is a big NO.  Sure you can always feel that they have been thrown out of your system but expect a big comeback.  It takes a while, weeks, months, even years, to fully eradicate them from your system.  They always return to you particularly when there is an event, person or thing that will trigger you to remember them.  Always do the prescribed exercises and test them to see if they really work for you.  You can always say that the exercises are effective after doing them for quite sometime.

     Unmindful of many issues that need to be resolved first.  First, you have to know what is bothering you, why you need the book and what it can do for you.  Is it lack of money that keeps you insane?  Or the kind of love that you have always wanted?  What do you think are the reasons  you always run out of money?  Why do you have to struggle to find that someone special in your life?  May be you need to be "clear" on some issues and how you want to be "clear" would be a good reason for buying a book.  Look within you first and not on some external but minor tormentors.

     You only read the book and think but you forget to act.  I admit that I was like this during my early years of reading self-help books.  I just read them, forget about them and just think of them whenever I remember some lines.  I do not bother to write important findings and facts that will surely help my life to be better.  I was expecting some magical moments by just thinking of them.  I forgot to do those exercises that would tell me they were really effective and life-changing.  Now, I write some lines, important ones, especially when they resonate with me and aligned with what I want to achieve.  Also, I do those exercises.  They work.

     You do not like to read the book again.  This is important.  Many times, when I re-read a book I discover some important lines that I was not able to see the first time I read the book.  They serve, always, as missing keys to really understand the book.  If you have missed the keys, you would always say that the book is non-sense.  Sometimes, you have to read it thrice.  Most people, if they really like the book, read it over and over again. Each time they do, they always discover something new which inspires them.

     You are not ready to change.   May be this is the real reason why you always fail in your life.  You do not allow yourself to move on and change.  Are you afraid of the new life that you will experience after the transformation?  Do you dread moving out of your comfort zone?  Think again.  When you tell yourself that you want to go in a place where peace, love, harmony and abundance reign, you must come out of your shell and do something.  It really depends on you.  The decision comes first, then the action.  You are 100% responsible for what is happening in your life including the changes that you have to embrace.

     The book alone cannot help you.  Self-help means help yourself.  The owner of that book will have to realize that he is in charge of his own life and beautiful transformation would only come if he permits himself to act and allow the changes to happen.  Book cannot move.  You cannot hear it say those written words.  Moreover, it won't divulge the magical life that  it promises unless you do some actions, inspired actions.  Stop whining and ranting.  Do what you are told to do and expect great results.  Self-help books can help.  Only if you help yourself.
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