Confessions of a Self-Help Book Reader

Dear Readers,

One of my pleasures in life (please don’t think that I am crazy) is reading self-help books. This comes after chocolate by the way.

There, I said it. I admit my bookshelves are loaded with them. They are placed neatly in between some of my favorites like Bridges to Madison County and Catcher in the Rye.

I live a blessed life. My children are healthy, happy and thriving. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back and a “rooster” that crows at me every morning called the Morning Ag Clips. And above all, I have a network of friends and family that show me love and support every day.

How lucky am I? Why the self-help books?

I actually don’t read them – I eat them up. So hard it is for me to walk by the book table that is placed strategically at the very front of the bookstore. It is brimming with answers to problems and flaws that I didn’t even know I had until I walked by it.

With excitement I am snagged by a book and shortly after make my purchase. I flip through the pages with giddiness, before I even begin the read, when I actually believe that this book, above all books for sure, will change the future for me, now and forever! This is where I am totally drinking the Kool-Aid.

Seriously, does anybody out there do the same thing?

Most of my self-helpers revolve around making good business decisions, growing a business successfully and building a strong team. However, I am not beyond trying to make the relationships in my life better, or choosing a read that justifies the reason that I tick the way I do. Example topics include astrology, north stars, love connections, feng shui, quadrants, eating better…oh it’s all there sitting in my bookcase.

I get great pleasure in trying to figure it all out.

I at least start strong out of the gate when I purchase a new self help book…I take the pledge, sit with myself and ponder hypothetical answers to the questions being asked of me by the self help book…I go hard at it, anxious to get into bed at night to indulge myself in the advice and the enlightenment of the next chapter. It’s kind of like the honeymoon phase in a relationship. I underline, highlight, tab and say “yes”, I definitely will be back for that line of wisdom!

The information is so good that I then drag my poor friends into it, texting them pictures of passages or worksheets of wheels and charts that they should complete, giving them homework to discuss over our next coffee or glass of wine. Yes, it is quite ridiculous and funny when I think about it. I just want to help my besties live the greatest most fulfilled life that they can…right? I love to share!

Then the redundancy kicks in. I start choosing other books or magazines to read over the latest self help book. The last straw is when I am madly cleaning the house before house guests arrive and the inner voice inside of me says, “ding, ding, ding, just put it somewhere, you got this Kate…next!” And then the book is placed on the shelf with all the other self-help books that I once so lovingly thought had all the answers.

When I think about it, my self-help books act as a library that has documented phases and growth in my life. I like to think that I carry little pieces of all of them with me, because in their own small way they have helped me evolve into the person that I am today…even though many of them have never been finished.

A few months later, the cycle begins again. However this time I see someone else at the self- help table, pawing through the volumes of good advice. Carefully picking through each one to be sure as not to miss the perfect choice. With a sparkle in their eye, they choose, and a glimmer of hope radiates from their soul, spilling out onto the yet to be read pages of the book.

I think our relationship with self-help books speaks volumes about the nature of being human.

It says that each and every one of us self-helpers (and there are many, admit it) strives to be a better human being.

We find wisdom in learning and genuinely want to live a full life for ourselves and the people that we love.

Self-help books say loud and clear that I am not perfect; I am vulnerable.

And despite my age and placement in life I still have a lot to learn about myself and I want to learn it.

I don’t ever want to give up that desire. When I do…well, you know the rest…

With lots of love and thought,

Kate

P.S. I have a friend who is also a self-helper…she de-cluttered her whole life based upon the findings in a book. She weeded and hoed much of her stuff out. A lot of it now sits in my house…maybe I should borrow her book? 😉

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