(Editor’s Note: Are self-help books worth it? BEST blog contributor, Marysa Rogozynski, looks through a new lens to gain a different perspective. Enjoy! KT)
Okay, so maybe that’s not quite your take on self-help books, but they tend to get a bad reputation.
Recently, I decided that picking up and reading a book again would be a great idea. So often I get caught up in work or life, that I forget to take a break. I was trying to figure out what books I wanted to start with, and I decided that I would explore the realm of self-help books.
To be honest, I started reading a book called, Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out Of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop because I thought that I was no longer good enough after my horrible break-up. It probably wasn’t the best idea at the time since it was a tell you how it is type book, but re-reading with a clearer mind, I would recommend it (you’ll find more of my favorites at the end of this post).
Anyway, back to my main point; self-help books have a bad reputation.
When I started writing this post, I have currently read approximately ten self-help books. These books have ranged in all sorts of topics, and none of them was part of the for Dummies collection.
By no means am I an expert on this topic, but I wanted to share my perspective on the realm of self-help books and how they can be more of a benefit than a detriment.
One thing that I hope to accomplish from this post is to debunk the preconceived notions about self-help books, and share how they might benefit you!
I promise that you might be surprised by what you learn from them.
Disclaimer: self-help books aren’t for everyone. I can honestly say that I was skeptical about picking up my first self-help book, but after I finished it, I was hooked.
There are two main reasons for this.
Reason #1 People’s Experiences
When you are reading a book labeled as a self-help book, you are taking a look into another person’s experiences. Based on these experiences, you are given the opportunity to apply them or help put your own experiences into perspective. For example, I picked up a book about trying new things and the next thing I know, I am inspired to tackle a personal health goal of mine from a different point of view. Instead of doing traditional weights and cardio, I challenged myself to 30 day yoga program. This is something that I would never have considered before reading that book. I am currently 15 days in and can honestly say it is a healthier form of exercise for me at this time.
If you pick up a well-written self-help book, it is going to be more than just the step-by-step instructions on how to make your life better. Instead, you are going to find guidelines that you get to mold into a plan that works best for you. You have been given the personal experiences of the author on what has worked and what has not, plus your own experiences, and you’ve gained further insight into the situation. You get to morph it into what you need, not what someone else says will give you the perfect life.
Reason #2 The Escape
When you are reading a book, regardless of if it is a romance, fantasy, or science-fiction, do you ever find yourself getting lost in that book? Do you ever find yourself living through the words on the page to avoid some of your reality? Do you put yourself into the place of the main character because you connect with their story?
Want to know something funny? You can do the same thing with self-help books. The only difference is, instead of getting stuck in someone else’s reality, you get stuck in your own.
That may not sound ideal, but hear me out. You picked up that particular book because you were looking for something that you might be missing in your life or want to improve. Sometimes, by reading these books, you can fill in the blanks, and write a new chapter of your own story.
You begin to look at your life in a wide range of perspectives, and you escape from what was happening to what could be happening. It’s not an exact science, but it’s a different experience from what then you had, which can sometimes be unsettling. Sometimes the first step in the right direction is a little uncomfortable.
I can tell you from my experiences; it’s worth taking the first step. Pick up that book!
Have I convinced you yet?
Self-help books, as implied by its name, are meant to help you. Whether it’s learning a new recipe, getting lost in the fairy tale of someone else’s life, or learning how to be more confident, in a sense, any book can be a self-help book. It’s just a matter of what your perspective is, what you want (or need) it to get out of the experience.
As I started my self-help book reading journey, I realized something. I hate the genre title of self-help. I was reading books on topics from brain injury to personal finance to self-confidence.
Instead of self-help books, I have decided to call them informational diaries. So maybe that isn’t the most catchy name, but this genre of books deserves to have a positive reputation.
What do you think? Do you want to try one out?
Think about this: What’s something that you wanted to take a chance to make a change in your life?
Take that chance! Give it a shot! You never know what you might discover!
Here are some of my favorites. What are yours?
Marysa Rogozynski grew up in Ontario, Canada until her family moved to the United States. After the move, she completed high school in Montana, going on to earn her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology at the University of Jamestown, where she also sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury playing collegiate sports. Currently, she is finishing her Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology at Eastern Washington University. She enjoys traveling, going to the movies, baking, and playing with her cats.