When you close your eyes and you throw a stone, the chances are high that you hit self-help. There are countless books about the topic. In one of Germany’s biggest book stores Thalia, there are even complete sections devoted to the topic. There are many, many, many blogs writing about this topic. Mine is no different, although I mainly try to help myself =). Why is there such a huge supply and apparently demand for self-help?
I can only guess and when I think about it a few reasons come to my mind. One reason might be an abundance of choice. Too much choice is counterproductive and leads to being unhappy. It is because it adds uncertainty to our lives. If I know all those choices, the perceived likelihood of failure increases. This means we have to navigate through a complex life and we need all the help we can get.
Another reason might be the ascent in Maslow`s hierarchies of needs. As many of us don’t need to worry about shelter and food, we focus on more complex needs such as self-actualization. We learned a lot from our ancestors how to find a job and how to fulfill our basic needs, but few are knowledgeable in finding purpose and achieving self-actualization. This might be another reason why we are looking for help from people who seem to have managed this.
I think that also the way we interact with each other contributes to an increased need of help. We are hyper-connected with all our devices, but it seems as if we lack true connection. Either to nature or to each other. It feels as if we are uprooted. Many people are looking for a simpler life with more meaning and stronger, deeper relationships.
Is it a good sign or a bad sign? Well, it depends. I think it is good that you are looking for help, when you don’t know how to do something. Sometimes, you know what to do, but you just need the confirmation by someone else. It can be a bad thing, if we forget to make real-life experiences from which we can learn a lot, too. Maybe even more. This is a mistake I often do. I am in love with books and knowledge, but I know I need to make more real-life experiences. Go out and live.
Sometimes, I have a strange feeling when I watch a video or read a book, and someone claims that you HAVE TO do this or that in a certain way. My alarm goes on when I hear this. But can I blame them? If you want to sell an idea, people need to feel your energy. They need to fill that you are 100% convinced that this is the way. It is way more difficult to say: “Well, I am not sure, if it works for you. Go out and try different things and see what helps you best.”
It is also easier to be served the “solution”. I don’t have to think and reflect, but all I need to do is follow the advice. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. This might lead to more uncertainty and an even greater need for self-help.
I won’t give an advice this time. I just wish for us that we find a healthy relationship with seeking self-help. Not everything will work for you and that is no reason to doubt yourself. Okay, I guess that counts as advice =).
Love and hugs, Stephan