Self Help Books—Yay or Nay?

A friend recently read a self help book that made her so sad she had to put it away, thus confirming my own belief that such tomes only make us dwell too much on what we need to improve and not what we already do well.

Never mind that the same friend is a big fan of self help books, who just didn’t find this one to be right for her, I tend to paint the genre in broad, negative strokes.

Why? Because my mom was always telling me I should read this one or that one when I knew that on the happiness scale I ranked a solid eight, while she hovered around a four. Who knows, though? Without the books she might’ve scored even lower.

There was one piece of wisdom, though, that she gleaned from her readings that made perfect sense to me, and that given the opportunity I always pass along to others who might benefit:

No one else is responsible for your happiness. You alone hold that key.

Now that’s some solid self help.

Peace, people.

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

9 thoughts on “Self Help Books—Yay or Nay?”

  1. Yes. I have been telling my children all of their life,
    “Noone can make you happy, you are responsible for your own happiness”
    Glad others feel the advice is good advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not a big fan of them, although the fear of flying one I read did back up most of what I already knew about myself and flying. It was good to know I’m not crazy so there’s that. And see, you don’t even need to write an entire book. You have the wise words of happiness in concise form, all ready for a door banner or office shelf sign.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It really does depend. Like I can’t stand Dr Phil anymore, but someone said there was an episode I should watch. It was begrudgingly really good, lol. I think the only way a self help book “helps” is if its something you need to see/read at the time.


  4. Thanks for a good reminder to focus on what’s working than what’s not. I think self-help and personal development industry is a double edge sword. On the one hand, we can always improve ourselves and our lives by being open to more information, by taking personal inventories and updating old habits and patterns of thinking. On the other hand, too much it can itself turn into an unhelpful habit by creating a sense that we are a problematic self. So do we want to focus on the emptiness of it all, which obsession with self improvement does; or do we want to focus on the positive? It’s a hard balance to keep.
    The main pitfall in too much focus on self improvement is believing the idea that there’s something wrong with us. So what the industry can do is nothing short of Inception. The antidote, is acceptance and trust; that life has been around and has evolved and improved itself without the intervention of my thinking, which is often in the way than helpful. What has improved my sense of self in a lot of cases is actually not thinking about this self and instead focusing on the other, to give, to help others improve and trust that I will improve throughout this process too. It is in the nature of life to improve itself even when we are not looking, as long as we are connected and not isolated.

    Liked by 1 person

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