The Importance Of The Self-Help Genre

On some days, just existing in the modern world is difficult. Recent calamities in the past year alongside prevalent economic and political instabilities can ravage our mental well-being. Many of us are tired, hopeless and scared for the future as the numbers of people with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses continue to rise. Something good that has come out of these stressful times though, is the growing awareness of the importance of self-care. As a college student, I see myself and many of my peers persist in efforts towards self-improvement in an ever-stressful world. As a generation, we have redefined the traditional understanding of success, which measures how much money we make and how big our homes are, to attributing true success as being a happy and self-sufficient individual. As a result of this shift, an increasing number of self-help resources are now at our disposal, such as youtube videos, apps, podcasts and books. More and more mental health professionals are taking their wisdom online by creating engaging self-help content that the general public can access for free. As a collective, we now have a vast library of tools to utilize to better our understanding of the world, of ourselves and of our actions. The self-help genre is incredibly versatile, expanding into subgenres that hold insight into topics ranging from self-image to relationships to productivity. Here are a few of my favorites from this genre:

  1. 1. Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself In a World Striving for Perfection by Haemin Sunim

    Sign that reads “you are worthy of love”

    Haemin Sunim offers beautiful visuals in his #1 internationally bestselling book alongside a number of different reminders for us about how to take care of ourselves and others. In a world that is “striving for perfection”, it becomes all the more important for us to take a moment to slow down and appreciate the love we already carry inside us. 

  2. 2. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

    woman standing in a sunflower field

    This is one of the more well-known classics in the self-help game, as Elizabeth Gilbert writes about her journey towards finding herself during her 30’s. This memoir emphasizes that it’s totally okay to start over, no matter how old you are, if that means finding true happiness. This book has time and time again reminded me that nobody’s life is as perfect as it appears on the outside and that we’re all just people trying our best to learn from life’s many lessons.

  3. 3.   The School of Life on Youtube

    flowers at sunset

    The channel shares a unique perspective on the world around us through its blended lens of philosophy, psychology and sociology. Think of crash course style material delivered in a ted talk type of way. This channel will lead you to both ponder and understand humanity and why we do the things we do.

No matter who you are, you will benefit from giving the self-help genre a little extra attention. These books, podcasts and videos can provide you with a new perspective on things while helping you work towards developing valuable life skills. Having these resources also feels incredibly comforting, as you are reminded that you are not alone with your thoughts and feelings. Instead, they are validated and celebrated with this genre. As taboos surrounding mental wellness and messing up as an adult are slowly starting to dissipate, we must come together to continue fostering the idea that we’re all imperfect people, simply seeking to grow.