Self-help Books

I like to thrift semi-frequently. And one thing I have noticed in my many thrifting adventures is the plethora of discarded self-help books.

It got me thinking, what are we searching for? Because clearly, we aren’t finding it since we aren’t keeping these books. There are so many on them. 100 Ways to Change Your Life! 30 Days for a Total Money Makeover! Do these things, and you’ll never be the same! From money to marriage, the books cover every topic of human emotion you can think of.

Does anyone remember Chicken Soup for the Soul? Plus, all the spin-offs of it. I think I had at least two of them in my youth. Then I started thinking about other things, not just the books I’ve seen in the human improvement genre.

Magazines articles, advertisements, beauty commercials, billboards. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. It seems we are bombarded with these “suggestions” about how to change our lives, supposedly for the better. But why is it that we have this idea we have to change all the time.

We need better skin, better teeth, better hair, better money management skills. We should be smarter; we should drive better cars, live in bigger houses, have top of the line everything. The whole notion says, “You’re not good enough, and you won’t be until you do x, y, and z!”.

What if, stay with me here this is a crazy concept, what if we learn to be better people without books? Without material things. Without cosmetic changes. What if we embrace our human-ness? The messy, the difficult, the ugly, the challenging, the overwhelming, the confusing, and all the other things we encounter in life. Because among all those mistakes and all that uncertainty, we find sunlight, and the simplicity of a hug, lunch with a friend, coffee on a chilly morning, the stars on a clear night.

If we learn to let go of the vanity and the need for the latest and greatest, a funny thing happens, we start to become better people. Without a book or a guide. I have found that the most simple things do mean the most. The cheesy quotes you read aren’t just cheesy quotes. Start living them and see what happens.

Love hard. Live within your means. Save some money. Eat relatively healthy, but indulge sometimes. Laugh as much as you can. Spend time outdoors. Travel a bit if you can. Save time for hobbies. Learn. And most importantly, be true to who you are, not what some book tells you who you should be.



Categories: Mental Health

2 replies

  1. One of my biggest pet peeves is walking into a psychology or philosophy section in a book store, a used book store, ANY STORE that literally sells BOOKS and being bombarded with “10 ways you’re NOT living your best life!” or “5 steps to happiness!”. My insides squirm. The logical sensors in my brain start imploding and that usually coincides with a boisterous rant in my outdoor-voice. Embracing our human-ness, as you say, is probably the best step anyone could take. Maybe it’d be good to write a book with that as the first step and then two hundred blank pages.

    Liked by 1 person

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