The Problem With Self-Help Culture

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If you have ever scrolled down a social media feed, you have probably stumbled upon some sort of self-help content.

From using positive affirmations to waking up at 5am and following a strict morning routine, self-help gurus seem to know all the secrets to becoming the best version of ourselves.

At a first impact, this message might seem inspiring and motivating.

After all, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves and self-help content might just inspire you to eat healthy or to get started on that book you’ve been wanting to write for a while.

But there’s a darker side to self-help, this culture feeds into hyperindividualism and perfectionism – as we consume content that promises to have the power turn our life around, we can become unhealthily obsessed with the idea of improving ourselves, often at the expense of our mental health.

Nobody’s life is perfect, nor will it ever be. Self-help culture, however, tells us that if we work hard enough, then it just might be.

This message can have detrimental effects on our self-esteem, as we feel like we’re never enough, while everyone else on the internet seems to have it all figured out.

I have fallen into this trap myself, obsessing over productivity and filling every second of my day with activities that I believed would make me a better, more successful human. But according to self-help culture, there’s always more work to be done and more aspects of your life to improve.

It is important to remember that self-help is an industry – a booming industry at that, encompassing a large range of products (books, apps, workshops) and ultimately profiting off of people’s dissatisfaction with their current life situation.

As we get sucked into this vortex, we risk losing money and wasting precious energy tearing ourselves apart.

Does that mean you should unfollow all those life coaches, throw away your gratitude journal, and stop waking up early?

No. But like everything on the internet, this type of content needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Acceptance of who we are and of our circumstances is just as important as self-improvement.

Words by Benedetta Fabris


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