I do not read self-help books. Ten rules for finding happiness. The ultimate path to success. How to keep your man from straying.
And it’s not because I’m in a constant state of bliss. And I still can’t afford to go to outside countries for vacation so that I can finally start adding location to my social media posts. “Missing my friends-in California.”And my man doesn’t stray but only because he is inexistent.
I tried to read self-help books. But I often found that they were in contrast to my reality. They were written from someone else’s perspective. About their life. According to their lane. In their definition of things. And in regard to their personality.
That’s the thing about generic advice. It does not take into consideration the simple but vital truth; we are not the same. It also does not take into account the unpredictable mess that is life and the immeasurable faultiness of human beings. And yet no amount of knowledge can protect us from life or from ourselves.
But even as I say all this, I know that some people’s lives have been changed because of reading self-help books. So I only speak for myself when I say that they don’t work.
And that’s the point I’m addressing. The condescending ‘arrivalism’ that makes people feel the need to instruct others on how to live their lives. Or to judge their choices.
I’m talking about the man whose woman knows how to please him. Congratulations to you. But speak for yourself when you write a long list of rules on how to please a man. It’s presumptuous to assume that all men are the same and that they want the same things.
I’m talking about people who think they know when their friends ought to get married.
I’m talking about Christians who threw verbal stones at a woman for asking if it’s necessary to change her name after marriage. “God said that women should obey men.” But not everyone is a patriarch. Furthermore, not everyone believes in the existence of a deity. So speak for yourself when you put religion on a pedestal. I have met amoral theists and I have met honorable atheists.
Speak for yourself when you talk about priorities in life. When you talk about the definition of success. When you tell a married couple that three years is a long time to wait to have children. Unless of course the couple is supposed to have children on your behalf. Then by all means tell them how long is too long to have a baby.
I know the things that make me happy. Meaningful work. The adrenaline rush that comes with being in school. The unexplainable excitement that I feel when I read a great book. Kindness. Love. And I pursue these things relentlessly.
But be it far removed from me to impose my idea of happiness on another person. To be arrogant as to assume that unless they do what I’m doing they are bound to a life of unhappiness and mediocrity.
We are all different. So speak for yourself.