It’s only natural to turn to self-help books for support when your feeling dissatisfied with any aspect of your life.
However, depending on the perspective you are engaging with self-help books from, you might find self-help books don’t work.
Therefore, feeling nothing will be able to support you with what you specifically are struggling with.
But, I’m here to say, if you resonate with the above, don’t give up as you’ll see shortly, there is a solution.
To warn you, the solution might be something your mind will be immediately opposed to.
However, to know if something will work for you or not, you need to give it a try.
So, without further ado let’s get going.
1. You believe there’s something missing in you
This is the first reason self-help books don’t work because…
…by believing this, you likely also believe these books will support you in fixing what you believe you’re missing.
However, the truth is, self-help books don’t work because they can’t fix something in you, you believe you’re missing.
This is because, as I discuss in my blog post, How (and why) to change the way you see yourself, nothing is missing in you.
So if there’s nothing missing in you, it can’t need fixing.
Therefore, leading to the conclusion there’s more to what you’re struggling with.
So a little further digging is needed.
2. You BELIEVE self-books don’t work
Secondly, engaging with self-help books from the perspective they will fix something missing in you, only to find they can’t support you…
…will inevitably lead you to believe self-help books don’t work.
Therefore, feeling further dissatisfied.
However, self-help books can’t be engaged with from the perspective they don’t work.
Doing so, only closes your mind to the wisdom these books present.
This matters because the purpose of self-help books isn’t to fix anything in you, you believe is missing.
The purpose of self-help books is instead, to learn from the personal journey’s of others so you can test out there learnings.
Not because you want to fix something in you that’s missing, but because you’re curious to know what else they can add to your life to enrich it.
3. They can’t support you with how you feel
How you feel is an incredibly important piece to the puzzle of self-help books not working.
The reason being, how we feel determines the behaviours we engage in.
Therefore, ultimately impacting the results we get in our lives.
Self-help books, of course, can’t support us with changing how we feel since they can’t listen to what we’re thinking and feeling.
Therefore, they can’t provide us with the understanding we need to overcome our more challenging thoughts and feelings.
Instead, they start from the experiences, thoughts and feelings of the author themselves.
4. You’re a trauma survivor
If you have experienced trauma…
….and never got support for it, self-help books don’t work period.
For instance, a traumatic event can include:
- abandonment from one or more parents
- Emotional neglect
This is because when you experience trauma, to move on from it you need to process the emotions.
And to be able to process the emotions so you can move on, you need support, you need to talk about the trauma.
Talking about the trauma includes:
- Talking about your thoughts on the topic(s);
- The memories you have;
- and how they make you feel
In doing so, giving you the chance to understand your thoughts and feelings.
Coming from someone who struggles with vulnerability, it’s not easy I know, but as Robert Frost said ‘the only way out is through’.
What to do instead?
Ultimately, when you feel self-help books don’t work, there is only one other option.
Seeking the support of a Psychotherapist by visiting your GP (if based in the UK) and asking for a list of therapy practices in your area.
Personally, I am a survivor of childhood emotional neglect and the witnessing of domestic violence.
However, I didn’t choose to see a Psychotherapist until I was in my mid-twenties.
When I started seeing a Psychotherapist, it was then I realised, what I was missing all along was support.
Someone who I felt had my back rather than was against me.
Once I was seeing a Psychotherapist for a while, I was able to increase my confidence, which changed my perspective on self-help.
Therefore, inspiring me to also acknowledge and appreciate my own personal story and journey.
Self-help, as a result, became an extension to my Psychotherapy sessions, not a replacement.
The importance of self-help
Psychotherapy and self-help are important to our lives because if we’re not learning, we’re not growing and if we’re not growing, we’re not happy.
And I don’t mean any kind of learning.
I mean learning about ourselves, our past challenging experiences and our thoughts and feelings in relation to those challenges.
So if we don’t believe self-help works and give up on it we’ll not be able to fulfil our innate need to learn and grow.
As a result, contributing to our overall happiness and excitement for life.
Self-help books to complement the solution
If you’re not in therapy but decide to at some point or you’re in therapy and want books to complement your sessions…
…here’s 5 self-help, or as I prefer to call them personal development books to support you in your therapeutic journey:
- The Universe has your back by Gabrielle Bernstein
- The Artists Way by Julian Cameron
- Stillness speaks by Eckhart Tolle
- Start where you are by Pema Chodron
- You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter by Dr Joe Dispenza
In summary, self-help books don’t work because of your two beliefs ‘there is something missing in you’ and ‘self-help doesn’t work’.
In addition, they can’t support you with changing how you feel or if you’ve experienced trauma since you need to process the emotions attached to the trauma.
Therefore, the only solution is to invest in a Psychotherapist by asking your GP (if based in the UK) for a list of practices in your area.
Once you do this, you’ll also gain confidence in yourself, which self-help books could never give you.
As a result, you’ll start seeing self-help books from the perspective of having something to learn from them rather than helping to find something you believe is missing in you.
Consequently, increasing your happiness and excitement for life as they support your need for learning and growth.