The other day I was watching a movie and a woman whom had just had her heart broken went to a bookstore to look at the self-help section. The scene showed her sheepishly picking out the books that would be best suited for her problems and then avoiding the cashier’s judgmental gaze as she bought them. It was probably because I was in a sensitive mood that day, but I was a little upset by the way self-help books were portrayed in this movie, and in society in general.
I had never really considered giving self-help books a try until one day when I was browsing through online bookstores and came across one that had a summary that was highly appealing to what I was feeling at the time. That book, Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein, really changed my perspective on the way I was treating myself. I didn’t agree with everything in the book and some of it didn’t pertain to my problems, but I can say without a doubt that it made a difference in my life. After that, I became very defensive of self-help books. They can really help, why does it have to be embarrassing to buy them?
A few months later I was assigned the book What Color Is Your Parachute? 2010: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career Changers by Richard N. Bolles to read for a business class I was taking. I read it begrudgingly and quickly became engrossed. This book isn’t just a guide to finding a job, it is an inspirational and uplifting book that helps you recognize how awesome you and your talents are. That’s when I had the idea that self-help books come in all different packages. Here was this book that is supposed to be just a job finding guide, yet it helped me immensely in other ways. I know feel that it’s obvious that self-help books can range from those written for a specific problem, to a fictional novel that you can connect with and learn from. An example of this is The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. After reading that book and connecting with the characters in it I realized that I needed to make a few changes. Reading that novel helped me almost more than reading the books out of the self-help section.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that no one should feel ashamed of what they’re reading. Each book, whether it’s from the self-help section or not, has the potential to assist someone with their problems and no one is entitled to judge which book we get that help from. I obviously think that self-help books are great tools that can be very helpful, so if anyone needs some help I can guarantee you’ll find a book that is perfect for you.