“God is looking for people who are prepared, people who are taking steps to grow, people who are serious about fulfilling their destiny.” -Joel Osteen. It always amazes me of how the right words can mend a heart, rejuvenate the mind, and restore one’s faith. When I read this quote, I was instantly reminded of the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” And depending on your journey in life you might take that to mean some things. Personally, I take it to mean help God help you.
Now, I’m not one to give unsolicited advice, but one of the ways I try to help God help me is by reading self-help books. Today you can find a self-help book on thousands of topics. On Amazon alone, there are over 151,656 titles in the self-help category. From The Secret by Rhonda Byrne to Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin E.P. Seligman. My sister who read The Secret said, reading the book made her feel powerful. Although I have not read the book and remain a little skeptical about the message the book is trying to convey, it is my understanding from the reviews that, it speaks of the power of positive thinking, and believing in the good of the universe.
But let’s talk truth, I can tell you that I started reading self-help books a long time ago. I remember reading my first self-help book on the heels of a devasting divorce. At the urging of my sister, I borrowed her book: Yesterday I Cried, by Iyanla Vanzant. The book was instrumental in helping me come to term with my guilt as a young struggling single mother. I remember a passage from the book, by writer Kahlil Gibran titledl: The Prophet, “Your children are not your children. There are sons and daughters of life searching for their own. They come through you, but they are not from you. Although they are with you, they belong not to you.” Right away, I felt relieved, and I gave myself permission to let go of the guilt and just be happy.
Over the years, I realized reading the right self-help book was helpful in my ‘self-therapy’. I read, In the Meantime, by Iyanla Vanzant. At the time I read the book, I was in a toxic relationship and reading the book helped me to understand a few things. Number one, in the meantime and in between time nothing in life was permanent. Two, I needed to clean my own house (a metaphor for life) before inviting someone to share it. And three, I will continue to repeat the same mistakes unless I stop procrastinating on solving my own issues. Meanwhile, I was filling the space in the meantime with relationships that started nowhere and going nowhere.
Right around the time I was losing faith in men and everything in-between, I did two things: first, I prayed harder. Second, not long after it was released, I borrowed my friend’s book, Act Like A lady, Think Like a Man, by Steve harvey. The self-proclaimed relationship guru said he wrote the book to help those who were ‘relationship-challenged.’ In the book he wrote, “Everything you need to know about men and relationship is in there.” At first I was critical, but, after reading just a few chapters, everything just clicked. It occurred to me that I already knew all that I needed to know about men. I learned that men are not that complicated! The truth is, many are looking for the same thing women are; and if you tell them what you expect, they will listen. My favorite part of Steve’s book was chapter two titled: Our Love Isn’t Like Your Love. He talked about the three P’s: Profess, Provide and Protect. He said, if a man loves you he will profess his love for you. If he loves you, he will want to protect and provide for you. On the other hand, if he has not professed his love for you, it’s more than likely he is not in love with you. Therefore, you should not waste your time with him. Finally, he concluded, if a man loves you, he will shout it out on the highest mountain, and he will defend you against his mother, and his whole family if necessary. The only thing that I disagreed with in Steve’s book was what he wrote in chapter eleven titled: The Ninety-Day Rule. Let’s just say, I don’t like that rule.
Again, I’m not one to give unsolicited advice, but I do believe we all need a little help. And a good place to start, on top of praying, is a good self-help book. In other words, get help, because there is no shame in it, only growth. As for me, I see a secret purchase on Amazon in my future.