WHO READS SELF-HELP BOOKS?
Personally, I’ve never quite liked the word self-help, especially when it relates to book genres. I feel that it elicits a negative connotation and surmises that the targeted reader is eff’d up somehow and has problems that can’t be fixed by their own volition. “How to” is one of the most popular book categories in the publishing industry. There are thousands upon thousands that offer solutions to all of our problems. How many of them actually deliver? How many do we need to keep reading before the message finally starts to sink in? Or, is that not the point? Do we approach self-help books in the same way we do with alcohol and numbing agents? Are they all just a feel good distraction?
For myself, writing The Ultimate Journey was cathartic, it was an inner process of healing, a way to sort out my shift. I believe that many so called experts have gotten into their field of expertise primarily to address their own shift, or to make a difference in other peoples lives. Some have witnessed an injustice and want to “right the way” so others won’t have to experience what they have. During the process of writing my book I was asked by some – often in a snide manner, “What makes you an authority to write a self-help book?”
To be honest, at first I was taken aback and unable to answer. I didn’t have the proper letters of the alphabet after my name to prove my credentials. “Frack that!” I thought. “My life and all the shift that I’ve endured is my qualification!” My experience has taught me lessons that I can share with others – who may have gone through or, are going through similar events. It is my deepest belief that one can help another heal only when they themselves have healed that aspect within them self. In my book, I share life experiences that are intimate and expose my vulnerability. I became naked, with no where to hide. Consequently, as a result many expressed their surprise and gratitude after reading. I’m often told that they can relate to my experiences, and feel that they aren’t alone. This gives them hope, and the courage to be able to work through their shift.
It is not my intent to depose the so called experts in the self-help community, although I do see through some of their B.S. To me, it feels like they are saying, “The only way to heal is to follow what I say because you can’t do it on your own. I keep getting a vision of the Wizard of Oz hiding behind the curtain. “I am all knowing, respect me, do as I say!” It took the innocence and unconditional love of a little dog to pull back the curtain… and the facade. Fear and faith… hmm, what other institutions use this approach? We are led to believe that we are powerless and need help.
Currently I am working on an online course and writing my second book. I am learning the how to’s in this field—marketing, email scripts, and driving traffic to a sales funnel and so forth. The formula is basic: identify a specific need, offer a solution, and promise to deliver. There are some sneaky sales tactics that resonate to the aforementioned in which Toto wouldn’t have approved. The Ultimate Journey was written as a passion book, and definitely did not follow a marketing script. I put my heart and soul into it. I did not write it from a marketing perspective. I covered many aspects of the human condition, and a result didn’t make it specific. Still, I wouldn’t have written it any other way. Now, knowing what I know, the temptation to follow a canned narrative for book-two rears its ugly head from time to time. Fortunately, I’m not into homogenization, nor writing run of the mill ‘feel good’ self-help books and online courses.
There are many books, concepts and buzz words that stimulate our mind and give us just enough to tie us over. They are not adequate or deep enough for profound healing to take place. Most people don’t want to scuba dive, they’d rather stay on the surface where it’s safe. They’d rather hear mainstream words which for the most part – are out of harms way. But hey, why rock the boat? Typically, conventional wisdom is good enough for the masses—a good enough distraction to take the edge off.
I’ve digressed a bit, however not so much. This leads me to the subject of this blog… who reads self-help books? Everyone is at a different stage in their life. Most don’t question anything beyond their day to day life, a trait that I sometimes envy—ignorance is bliss. Get married, go to work, make money, have babies, and deal with shift as it arises. For the most part this is “the norm.” Sometimes however, and I am assuming that this is becoming more of a common occurrence… shift is starting to hit the proverbial fan! Those who gravitate to self-help books, or to spiritual council have most likely experienced a major transition in their life. This could be: a death of a loved one, a failed relationship, the loss of a job that provided needed/substantial income, or a serious health crisis. In some cases, a combination of one or more of each. Some seek self-help because they aren’t good at handling stress. Or, that their stress is becoming unmanageable. We all cope in various ways, whether it is behavioural or by using substances. If getting high, sitting on the couch and watching television all day is your idea of living life to its fullest, then I commend you. You are living the way you choose to live without any excuses. For others however, there comes a point in one’s life when they question what the hell this existence is all about.
I once heard a saying, and I wish I knew its source. “Both the rich and the poor read books. The only difference is: the rich read for self-improvement—the poor read for entertainment. One can’t paint the picture with one brush, however, there are habits that do breed success. Do you binge watch television, or read self-empowerment books? Did you notice that I didn’t say self-help? Personally I prefer Self-Empowerment. This change alone dramatically alters the perception of needing help, to one of feeling empowered. Awesomeness!
In closing, I leave you with an excerpt from The Ultimate Journey.
There are four stages in which a butterfly has to go through in order to transform from an egg to an adult. It hatches from its protective shell and is birthed as a caterpillar. The multi-legged larva eats everything it can—to grow, feeding off the leaf that it was born on—leaving nothing in its wake. As it increases in size, it needs to molt because its exoskeleton doesn’t expand—it outgrows itself. As soon as the caterpillar has fully grown, it forms itself into a chrysalis. Initially, it appears as if it’s just resting, as no change is visible. Yet, on the inside, magic is happening—rapid transmutation. When it’s time, it breaks free. The butterfly emerges with its newly formed wings folded against its body—they spread. The wings slowly fill with blood until the butterfly is ready to take flight—metamorphosis is complete.
What stage are you at? Are you ready to break free from your old and limiting form? Are you ready to be seen? Are you in position to spread your wings and show their brilliant colours. Are you ready to take flight?
If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, then I invite you to read my book The Ultimate Journey, an Earth traveller’s guide to awakening. here
Crack a spine and read an empowering book!
Frank is an author, hairstylist, salon owner, and passionate musician who writes empowering songs from his soul. Frank is a master in both Usui Reiki and Sound Reiki ® healing. He is a certified Indian Head Massage practitioner, and has developed his own therapeutic massage modality. Frank is dedicated to sharing his knowledge to help others awaken. His one wish is that we all find lasting peace within ourselves.
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Frank Di Genova © 2017