HELP! DO SELF-HELP BOOKS HELP?
I've been asked quite a bit which books have changed my life. Then, almost in the same breath, most of these people tell me they's just finished reading a book that changed their life. This made me feel weird because I'd read the same self-development books, and usually, these were the books I'd recommended to them.
I've read numerous books of that ilk and none of them have changed my life, not a bit! Moreover, some aspects of my life became worse! I later discovered that these were my 'No Pain, No Gain' moments. However, I was furious that I seemed to be left out of these positive life-changing events. What had I done wrong? What did I not get?
This frustration led me on a journey to taking personal responsibility for my life. I've always believed that there's much more to our lives than material, on-the-surface kinds of pleasures and experiences. In fact, when I was in my early twenties I asked friends questions like, "Why are we here?" and stuff like that. I was considered a bit odd. So much so, a couple of my friends un-friended me because they thought I was far too serious. I was.
If I reflect on my reading habits over the last 25 years, the books that have stayed with me and continue to inform my behaviours and attitudes are: The Road Less Travelled by M.Scott Peck, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl and more recently, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle - this book really touched a nerve, as did Byron Katie's Loving What Is.
And if these writings and others have had any effect on my life, it would be this: When I picked up The Road Less Travelled all those years ago and read a few pages, I felt less alone. Being different, which is how I always felt and was referred to by family and friends, didn't feel so bad after all. These books and others became my friends.
It took me many years to figure out that when my sense of balance was shaken, which it seriously was, it was an opportunity for me to re-think my life. So I chose to continue reading so that I could continue to learn. And although I wasn't entirely aware that I was developing more consciouness by learning how to be courageous and more authentic, I clearly was.