Unexpected Ways Self-Help Books Changed My Life
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first? The travel section? Non-fiction? Thrillers? Well, for me, the path is always the same: Self-help here I come. While I love a good murder-mystery every now and then, nothing can compare to the amount of inspiration that seeps into my mind whenever I’m turning the pages of a self-help book.
I guess you could call me a self-help junkie. But see, I wasn’t always this way.
I used to find the self-help section a bit awkward. Despite how curious I was about these “how to fix ___” books, the possibilities of being judged or misperceived by others who’d witness me perusing these shelves kept me afar. Crazy, right? Even today as I write this post, I shake my head for allowing fear to be such a roadblock. But those negative connotations sure did melt away the day I saw the vibrant orange spine and the words “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.”
And that, my friend, is how my love affair with self-help books began.
From opening my mind to the power of perception to creating healthier habits and becoming more confident overall, needless to say, I’ve found this section to have been extremely helpful over the years… hence the name. And I’ve realized there’s nothing embarrassing about diving nose first into these books. Wanting to become uplifted, inspired, and most importantly, seeking a way to unlock the key to living a more fulfilled life — that’s something to be proud of!
And to think just one browse is all it takes to uncover the gold mine awaiting one’s attention. So whether you’re seeking to lean into your desire for self-development, or simply seeking a new kind of literature, trust me, self-help is the way to go. In fact, below are three reasons this section has forever changed my life… for the better.
1. My mind has been re-opened to the joys of learning.
I used to think the only way to consistently engage and stimulate your mind was through school. (I know, I know — another crazy thought.) Yet self-help reconstructed that mindset, and in some ways, this section has become a classroom for me. From furthering my understanding of psychology and physiology to reading more about history and humanities, I am constantly learning new things, making the overflowing cup of knowledge incredibly invigorating!
2. I have finally realized the importance of prioritization.
Whether it’s worrying over nonsense drama, obtaining that “perfect” body, or trying to please everyone else before yourself, so many of us spend the majority of our precious time on things that — when you think about it — really don’t matter. I know I used to.
Yet self-help — specifically this brilliant, hilarious book — shed the light I desperately needed and taught me the importance of prioritization. It was my personal assistant in helping me realize the people, places, and things that are most important in my life. Once I stopped giving my f*ck’s away to the things that didn’t matter, I truly did start living a better life.
3. By creating healthier habits, I now enjoy freedom from anxiety.
With the guidance of self-help, I have not only experienced personal growth, practiced self-work, and embraced self-acceptance — I have also created healthier habits, too. Thanks to these books, I now cherish meditation and have chosen to simplify various areas in my life, which in turn has freed my mind from the tight grips of anxiety.
Now, do I still have days where I wrestle with negative thoughts and emotions? Absolutely. But overall, self-help has helped me reshape myself into a happier, healthier, and more confident individual. And while I still have a lot to learn — and will most definitely have many more curve balls thrown my way — thanks to self-help, I’m up for the challenge.
Kathryn McLamb is a writer and photographer on a mission to inspire others to celebrate the everyday. She runs her blog Pineapple Street, and when she’s not plotting her next travel adventure, you can find her wandering the colorful city streets in San Francisco.