In the United States, self-help books continue to sell at a steady increase. This is despite the entrance of self-publishing, online bookstores, ebooks, and audiobooks. Despite the type of book, they are selling. We’re a country of self-helpers. Call it personal development, self-help, personal growth, self-mastery–whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. Apparently, we need help, and these books do the trick.

If you’re an adult alive today, you’ve read, bought, or had your hands on a self-help book.

The masses still buy books, DVDs, webinars, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, and spend lots and lots of money on…personal growth. In the process of helping ourselves, however, we often alienate the people we love. Is there a way to become a better person without trying to make everyone else better as well? I’ve found that while I’m deep in the self-help lifestyle, I wanna help everyone else become their best selves too!

Trying to change your friends and family members is not a great way to cultivate trust and love in relationships.

What to Do Instead:

When you’re wanting to share your self-help message with people you love (or maybe just barely know), it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First of all, make sure your motives are not selfish.

  1. Start with numero uno.
    If you aren’t helping yourself, you cannot help anyone else. The old adage practice what you preach comes to mind also. You can’t expect the people in your circle to want to make changes in their own lives if they don’t see how great it’s going for you.
  2. Saturate with love.
    Jesus always wanted to help everyone He had contact with, but He didn’t do it in a mean way. He didn’t guilt anyone into doing anything. All of Jesus’ actions on earth and in heaven are saturated in love and love alone. Unless your love outshines your desire to help your friends and family change, nothing will change–not you, and not them.
  3. Focus on forever.
    A concept that I’ve just been introduced to is “covenant relationship”. You’ve heard of it. Marriage is a covenant relationship. Baptism is a covenant relationship. Make sure your friendships are covenant relationship as well. Make sure that as you attempt to move your friends toward health, wellness, progress, development, and growth…that you’re moving with them, and your focus is on eternity. We aren’t in short-term relationships on earth when God is our Father. We want our friends in heaven too! We want our family in heaven too!
  4. Let losses lie.
    When you are on a roll and want your loved ones to tag along, make sure you aren’t dragging them along while their heels are dug into the dirt. It will be exhausting. It will hurt your relationship. It will hurt your heart. It will hurt your growth and harden both your hearts. If gentleness doesn’t work, then let it lie. Do not manhandle your loved ones into change. Change yourself, and let them see that you love them along the way!
  5. Pray.
    The #1 New York Times Best Seller or Amazon Best Seller doesn’t matter as much as prayer. Your life will not change more by attending a conference and dragging your loved one along. In fact, staying home, saving that money, and crying out to God in prayer will move mountains. The best self-help book on the market in history is probably already on your bookshelf. The Bible. Read it, study it, invite your loved ones to join you in your walk with God. Pray for them each by name.

In a world that needs help, it’s no wonder we all reach for self-help books. We gravitate toward life coaches and fitness instructors. We want someone to fix us when the One who can fix us doesn’t cost us any money. He already offered us the solution and it didn’t cost us 3 easy payments of $19.99. Jesus saves now. He saved you yesterday. He’ll change you too–for the better.