Self help

I don’t know what it is about the term “self help” that gets some folks underwear knotted.  I guess they think that no one is supposed to have any self-reliance and be constantly looking to other people to make their minds up for them, tell them how to live and maybe even chew their food for them after they tell them what they can eat.

Ok, let’s be honest and there are some so called “self-help” type materials out there that actually want to do that.  Instead of giving folks the ability to make their own decisions, they want to make the decisions for them and then fool people into thinking that they have made up their own minds when really all that they are doing is parroting what they have been told they should say.  And they put all sorts of judgements around the ideas as well.  It is like saying to a person, “This is a hammer, but hammers can break things so you must never use a hammer.”   To which the obvious response is,  “But how are we going to pound the nail?”

And then they just sort of sputter something about breaking things.

That is not helping.  That is getting in the way.

Self help says, “This is a hammer.  It is good for pounding nails but if you hit your finger it will hurt and it is not a good tool for fixing the good china.”   Thus the wise question when approaching self-help material is,  “Is this really going to help or is the writer or speaker merely trying to impose his or her value structure on my life?”

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5 Responses to “Self help”

  1. manskirt Says:

    Good point. Most people seeking “self help” are looking for help outside of help. I know for myself what I really need is discipline… I know what I want – it’s just forcing myself to obtain it. Sure – tools are important – but you can’t use them as a crutch either.

  2. Best Wishes Says:

    Are you saying that it feels like the self help industry is perpetuating its own interests and making people dependent on them, rather them helping them to help themselves, not to mention many of the proponents are really only using plagiarised concepts for their own niche markets AND are you saying that it is time we should stop being sheep but trust our own judgement to learn without guilt? If not then please ignore this cynical comment lol

  3. Jaxobz Says:

    Well the thing is people already do exactly what you advised them there, most of the time anyway. In order to help and influence anyone, you need to understand, respect and appreciate them. Otherwise you will only be able to influence people that feel inferior to you.

  4. lookself Says:

    I’ve been reading self help books for over 20 years and I’m still a mess!

  5. Allison Boroda Says:

    I think a lot of the self-help books that are written today are less about helping others and more about the almighty dollar. I worked for a professor who set out to write a book describing her extremely interesting research. The publishers told her she wouldn’t make much money unless she reworded her book in terms of what people should and should not do when raising their children. The problem was that her research did not look at predictors of long-term well being of the child. Unfortunately, she did as she was told in order to sell her book. She made a lot of money, too.

    The truth is, I know a lot of cult-like self-help book readers. They read these books like they’re reading Chicken Soup for the Soul. They are mostly single 30+ women looking for validation, companionship, and solace.

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