Self-help is the best help…or…is it?

One of the many things that I wanted to try out at least once in life and then it strike off the list was: self-help books. I knew people who swore by their ‘7 habits’ or tried to ‘Make friends and influence people’. (Seemingly half-hearted) claims that they were life altering, a window to our inner self etc were many. Being curious(although doubtful too) was only natural.

Don’t take me wrong. I neither condemn them nor hate them. I do not advocate their use or question their methods. However, the fact that they command an entire area for themselves in book stores intrigues me. I wonder at times, are they really helpful enough to be so widely popular?

After a nasty fight with my closest friends I decided to join the bandwagon and got myself a couple of so-called books for comfort (and to escape dealing with it on my own). I had no idea of what I was trying to get from them, but when I walked out of the store I felt that the tremendous responsibility of ‘taking something useful’ from them was crushing me under it’s weight.

Like a diligent student eager to imbibe every pearl of wisdom his learned teacher has to offer, I started reading one of them. My mind, hungry to soak in the new-found knowledge, tried to muddle the voice of my heart which was straining itself hard to catch up. I jumped from one chapter to another, reading a lot but failing to absorb much.

If I was hoping that the book would reach out to me in Akashvani style and there would be some magical moment of revelation, I was sadly mistaken. For one, I felt that with a book the conversation is essentially one-sided. If you want to diasgree with something or want something elaborated, it is not (immediately, atleast) possible.

( Let me clarify here that I’m a huge fan of books. What I’m trying to discuss here is the content of certain books.)

I’m sure that the author meant well when he claimed that changing ourself can change our life. What he did not discuss though, was what can be done about the concerns regarding people close to us? We cannot change our family or shut ourselves off from humans in general. Whatever we do, isn’t there just that little flicker of possibility that it is not going to work?

I’ve had a good share of ups and downs my whole life. What I can vouch for from my experience is the positive change the presence of good people can have in our life. There is a little bit of good, bad and ugly in all of us, even in the best person we can know. Wouldn’t it be better to have a heart-to-heart with a person who you can talk to, hold his hand or whose shoulder you can use to lean on?

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