Why is Self Help a dirty word?

I like to read. I always have. I love browsing the aisles of bookshops and second hand shops searching for that next title that I can lose myself in or learn something new from. I have found though that something in me changes when I hit the self help section. I become more aware of who might notice me looking at titles like “How to win friends and influence people” (a great book by the way), “The subtle art off not giving a F**k”, “Thinking fast and slow” or any of the other hundreds of inspirational sounding titles. It’s a similar feeling I used to have as a young guy in the video shop “accidentally” looking through the adult section (I imagine anyway, if I did that).

So why is it like that? Is it just me? I imagine I’m not the only person self conscious about reading self help books. I have a feeling it’s not such a big deal for women but for us guys, well, we’re just supposed to either know how to succeed or just suck it up and accept our lot in life. I feel that possibly if I was to be looking at self help books aimed at finances or physical health then it wouldn’t be so bad but if I’m wanting to read about how to just be happy in life, or spiritual wellness, then that’s just something that guys shouldn’t do. Right?


The way I see it is, if I want my car to run better, I send it to the mechanic. If I want my garden to grow better, I research how to make it the best it can be, if I want to learn a new skill, I look for books that can give me that insight.

Well personal happiness is no different. Because happiness is a fluid state of being, that is, it is always changing (no one is 100% happy 100% of the time) it can be easy for us to think we are doing something wrong. I have found that reading those self help books can definitely help.

As with any book, there are some that are better than others and no single book suits everyone. The trick is to push through our self imposed paranoia of the self help section. That’s right, it’s my own issue that I think others are judging me. And if by chance they actually are, well, I’ve now come to a place of acceptance with my own desire to be the best I can be so they can judge me all they want. I’m going to continue to smile.

Happy Reading


Published by Dan O'Keeffe

I am a Personal Growth and Mindset Coach. I help people find their purpose and move forward, creating the life they really want to live.

2 thoughts on “Why is Self Help a dirty word?

  1. Hi Dan, Over my 66years on this planet I have read many self help books, too many too list but the one thing that I have learned, is that to be happy, is to always live in the moment and take happiness in what I am doing in the present, and to always remember that I am loved, and to be loved you must always love yourself, even if only a little. Love that you are doing this and look forward to reading your posts x


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