I love self help books.  I love the idea of being able to slowly digest someone else’s words of wisdom, then dive in and do the workmyself.  I’m a very Do-It-Yourself kind of girl, so when I hear an idea that resonates with me I immediately apply it to my life, working through the advice and theories to see how things can improve for me.  Sometimes the ideas are well thought out and the steps for change and healing are clear and easy.  Other times the concepts are a bit more vague, leaving gaps as I struggle to truly understand the author’s intentions. 

Having dissected several self help books over the last few years, I have noticed some common areas where I feel many authors tend to fail, or are unable to convey a few crucial concepts.  Concepts that I believe are important in order for readers to truly be able to benefit from the self help work.   

1.       You have to want it

I think most authors assume that if you’ve bought their book you already know you want, and are ready for change, so they don’t spend much time asking you about it. But this is a question you must ask yourself. “What do I want?”  What do you want your life to look like, and what are you willing to do for it?  Perhaps more importantly, what are you willing to let go of to have this life?  If you think you can change your life without changing any of your thoughts, beliefs or behaviors, you’re wrong.  If you’re not ready to let go of your pain, your sadness, you fear, anger, guilt or bitterness, you’re probably not quite ready for change either.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, but understand that it’s likely more about you than the advice you were given, if you failed to see improvement in your life.  In this sense, sometimes you have to hit a pretty hard low in order to let go of all the old stuff so you can move forward.  We can exist for quite a long time in our current situations before something pushes us ‘over the edge’ and we finally begin to want change more than we fear it.  How badly do you want this and what are you prepared to do to have it?


2.       You have to feel it

I remember watching The Secret a few years back and being entranced by this idea that I could just visualize something and it would manifest in my life!  And I, like so many of you out there, quickly discovered it’s not quite that simple.  In fact some think the whole concept is pure nonsense.  I don’t know how many people have told me, “I did my visualizations, I wrote out my affirmations and said them all day long, and nothing ever changed.” 


It’s not enough to just say them, you have to feel them.  But again, how do I feel prosperous when my bank account is empty?  How do I feel thin when I’m overweight?  How do I feel loved when I am alone?  Honestly, I don’t believe you can.  I do, however, believe we can meet you where you are, then work to move forward from there.  For example, you don’t have any money.  “I am prosperous” probably won’t work, because you simply don’t feel prosperous.  But saying “I want to be prosperous” does feel a little truer.  But even that may not feel right to you.  Maybe you have a subconscious hang up about rich people being evil, and it still doesn’t feel good to say “I want to be prosperous”.  You may have to back off even more, and start with “It’s ok to want to be prosperous.”    The point is to play around with the words until they soften and then start to resonate with you.  You’ll know when you get it just right because you’ll feel it.  And when you start to feel the words and allow them to be true for you, that is when I believe you will start to notice change in your life.


3.       And lastly, it’s a progression

You want to feel prosperous but as outlined in #2, you don’t’ yet feel prosperous.  That’s ok!  Start where you are and work forward from there.  Maybe right now you still need permission to want the things you want (money, love, success, etc), so give yourself that permission.  “It’s ok to want it”.  You’ll notice that quickly you can drop certain parts, and go with just “I want to be prosperous” or even “It’s ok to be prosperous.”  Then eventually you can move to “I am prosperous.”  It’s a process, let it unfold.


The same is even truer with emotions.  People often think they can go from being depressed to happy in just a few short steps.  Maybe some can, but most of us have to move one step at a time toward happiness.  Imagine being at the bottom of a flight of stairs.  Depressed is where you start, but as you heal, you may move into anger.  While anger doesn’t necessarily feel good, and it’s not where you want to be, it is one step closer to happiness.  So be angry for awhile.  Then you might find yourself feeling guilt.  Guilt doesn’t feel so hot either, but it’s a bit better than depressed, and again, it’s a step in the right direction.   After guilt may come revenge or hatred, and while this is not your final destination, it is movement – movement toward happiness.  You continue your work (because as in #1, you really want this) and eventually you can let go of the vengeful hatred and move toward a simple sadness.   From there perhaps you dwell in a neutral ambivalence for a little while, and then are surprised to notice that one day you actually seem hopeful.  That hope turns to excitement, the excitement leads to expectation and very quickly you realize that you have made it all the way to the top of the stairs!  You feel joy and happiness much of the time. 


Please allow yourself to be where you are.  Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t turn around in a day.  Give yourself time to move up the stairs, and process along the way.


No matter what process you choose, no matter what author you love, I believe keeping these 3 things in mind will greatly enhance their work and your final outcome.


I wish you all the best in your self-help, life improving endeavors!


As always, it is my goal to uplift, inspire and help others to heal their lives.  Thank you for allowing me to be part of this with you.  - Kim    www.NobleHeartHealing.com