Self-help yourself to the love

Feeling Depressed? Why don’t you go and love yourself? Go on, love off.

In my first blog, ‘This Smoking Life’ I talked in one section about how I’d cut down on smoking. Now, this was merely written as a prelude to my conclusion about smoking bans on society and not necessarily as a method in which you should cut down on smoking.

If I was telling you what you should do with your life, then this could be misconstrued as a self help blog, which is dangerously close to self help books, which I think, put simply, are bollocks.

There isn’t one sure fire way to fix the human condition. This is because no two human beings are exactly the same; even identical twins have different psychosocial make-ups. Sure you can put certain people into a variety of categories depending on the topic. Self-help books on the other hand allude to being able to help anyone out of a slump, no matter who you are.

My first real experience of the self-help book was when I was qualifying to become a trainer. They were not part of the course I was on, which was dealing with things like cognitive behaviour and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Yet there they sat, worryingly close on nearby shelves at some of the bookshops I visited.

The sort of self-help books I’m on about, just to be clear, are the ones that say they heal your life and guide your inner soul to love and happiness through positive affirmations. The type of book written by people who look either like an evil failed magician, or an aging middle-class housewife who’s had one too many dodgy facelifts. Yeah, you know ’em.

This type of book seems to be a niche in the market that tries to attach itself to the genre of book that would aim to help people learn more effectively, the likes of which are written by educational theorists and professors of psychology.

I thought I would do some more research into them. I came out with mixed feelings. By mixed, I mean I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or shout at the words I was reading.

Some extracts I read from Louise L May’s ‘You can heal your life’ were full of meaningful phrases such as, “we decide to be incarnate on this planet.” “We choose our sex, our colour, our country”, what the hell? After a while, you’re still reading the words but the noise in your head is just saying Blah wa blah wa ha, wa wa wa ha ha, I can’t believe you’re falling for this bullshit, blah ha wa hahaha, wa, so long and thanks for all the cash, blah wa hahahahahaha!

There were CDs as well; these ‘helped’ you deal with your anger. Well, I enjoy my anger, goddamn it! I don’t need a CD full of sounds of the ocean to calm me down, it’s good to vent, and people know this. Once that’s done you feel better, especially since most of mine is directed at the TV and the idiots who live in it.

Of course, some advice recommends you do just that, let out all your rage. One CD called Anger Releasing (coincidently by Louise L. May), did just that. However as one Amazon reviewer nicely put it;

CD includes only one exercise. It is more for people who have some anger that they built over the time, not for people who had a bad day and they are irritated. CD is only 30min long, so it feels like waste of money.


That might seem enough, however they continue with;

I would not recommend it for one more reason, exercise could be much shorter, as there is no need to explain one thing for 30min, it feels like author wanted to fill in the CD with time not quality, which was probably a better idea to make money.


And so the extortion of influential people continues, perpetuated by the authors who themselves are either delusional, wilfully ignorant or money grabbing bastards. Perhaps all three.

I, like many of you, would ironically chuckle at an author suggesting the reader should laugh at thin air in order to make themselves feel better. It’s things like this that really frustrate me about the self-help book.

When one of these books tells you to say out loud and positively affirm ‘you love yourself’ every day, it suggests that after a while ‘hey presto’, you will now have found that you can go off and love yourself. Go on, love off.  You mutha loving lover…..

So for whom is this advice aimed at? Who are they trying to reach here? It must be people with low self-esteem. A study in Psychological Science showed that people with low self-esteem actually felt worse after repeating positive self-statements. In a follow up study they found that, paradoxically, low self-esteem participants’ moods fared better when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts.

It seems to me that if you feel naturally low and you’re trying to force yourself to be what these books call ‘happy’ and keep up with the proverbial ‘Jones’, the pressure that puts upon you would cause high anxiety, and ultimately make you feel like crap for not achieving what the book is telling you everyone can achieve.

You will find at the front of these types of books a clause that is clearly there to get them out of any inevitable shit they would otherwise find themselves in. It says that all medical advice given is only to be taken in collaboration with a doctor’s approval. The book is just there to serve as information to be taken in a general nature. God, it’s as if it’s confessing its sins before it’s fucked you up.

If self-help books really were servants, they’d be lippy gits who talked back to their master. Their master who probably earns less than all the money they’re getting paid from their side jobs serving other masters. And it’s their job to make you feel better? Where’s all the attention on you? Well they’re already cheating on you, because you’re just one of the masses to them.

What they can do though is tell you to ‘cheer up’ when you’re depressed even though they’ve never met you before today. And while they’re at it they can point out several other problems you weren’t even aware you had. Can’t your servant help you with any of these newly discovered problems? Of course they can, maybe you can meet them later at Waterstones, or maybe you could catch them online at that social networking website Amazon.


About residentweebler
Short Story Writer and Opinionated observer. Visit my blog for all this and more.

2 Responses to Self-help yourself to the love

  1. Slowlycreepingdeath says:

    Good blog. I personally would have no issue with books such as these if they help a person through their life. The trouble is they rarely do.

    As you Louise L Hay wished her cancer away. Now we know this is rubbish. However “like a sniper using bollocks for ammunition” some of those bullets will hit people at their lowest ebb.

    Positive thinking can make a person feel good about themselves, but it will not cure terminal illness or any other ailment. To make out (even without directly saying so) could eventually end up killing someone. I hope Mrs Hay can live with that in her million dollar mansion.

  2. Christal Krassow says:

    I love to read self-help books both online and offline. Self-help is a great topic too and of course we should always improve ourselves. ;,:*;

    Kind thanks“>

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