One reason: BS.
That is, Blind Spots.
I’ve heard people criticize the entirety of the self-help industry as nothing more than empty platitudes and positive words primarily used to sell books and products to suckers.
It’s funny how oblivious those people are to the arrogance they exhibit when they criticize “self-help.” Often, they themselves have tried, but not benefited from, self-help literature (because arrogance usually translates to dismissing anything that doesn’t come out of my own mouth). Or, they’ve never given it a chance, primarily out of fear that it might actually work, which would mean that they, of all people, might need help from someone other than their own self. See the beautiful contradiction? They deny “self-help” because the only thing they believe in is self-help.
Now, given all of that, is “self-help“ misnamed?
You’re getting a book or a lecture or a video of someone else teaching you, so because there’s someone else, is it really self-help?
Yes. Because what they’re teaching you is how to help yourself.
Help you do what, though?
I argue, as I said in the beginning, one thing: address your blind spots.
Self-help teaches you how to address your blind spots.
Blind spots are the things you can’t recognize about yourself, but once you do, and you know how to address them, then, and only then, can you help yourself.
So, when you pick up a book or read a random article or come across something that identifies as “self-help,” before you dismiss it or pass it by, be open to the notion (read: fact) that you don’t have all the answers.
Give it a chance, and help yourself.