Self-Help vs. Self-Improvement and the Winner is…

The Self-Help Industry

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The self-help industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry that is driven by the dissatisfaction of life for many people. The world pushes a constant need to be more, do more, and ultimately gain “happiness” achieved only by being something different. If someone feels they need to change any area of their life, they can count on finding someone ready to sell them a bill of goods that will “fix” their problem(s). There are books, seminars, audios, and video products along with personal coaching on just about anything one could want to change about themselves. Interestingly, however, is the contradiction that the word, itself holds. There is no such thing as “self-help” if you are relying upon someone else’s advice, plan, or support.

Perhaps we aren’t as independent as we like to think we are, as we do need someone to support us in some way. But who can we trust completely as we move through the pathway of life? Should we trust other infallible humans to help us be who and what we are designed to be? The self-help industry often reinforces the perceptions of inferiority. It can also allow us to create a form of avoidance in which we never reach the base of a problem as we simply exchange one issue for another slightly healthier one. The market of the self-help industry mostly creates unrealistic expectations as profit is the root of the motive. This creates a non-lasting change that instead only presents the perception of change. Maybe if we feel the need to change something about ourselves then it isn’t self-help, we need, but self-improvement. So, what’s the difference?

Self-Help/Self-Improvement Difference

Understanding the difference between the two seemingly similar words of self-help and self-improvement, it is important. Self-help means you need help to change and that requires a need for something to do it. And if you are using outside resources the solution is not found internally. However, self-improvement is about growth and development. In this case, one realizes that change is important and seeks the steps needed to advance in that direction. We can help direct our improvement, but it is important to realize that we need internal help that can only come from our creator.

If we want to reach the ultimate satisfaction in life, then there is only one way. To reach the ultimate plateau is to realize our need for Christ. It is only after understanding this, that we can then seek to develop and improve. When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He guided us with the conduct needed to achieve the ultimate improvements of life as He presented us with the Beatitudes.

Looking at the Beatitude of Need

Beatitude, which is Latin for blessing, gives us a standard of living that contrasts the Kingdom values with the values the world gives us. Christ shows us what we can expect from the world and what we can expect from God. Being blessed by God means to experience the hope and joy of life independent of outward circumstances.

This begins by first recognizing our need for God, which is why Christ names it first. By laying down our pride and personal independence, we can then move forward with developing ourselves into who we were designed to be. This allows us to then seek self-improvement over the contradicting word of self-help. We can find both hope and joy, which is the deepest form of happiness gained only by following Christ.

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him. For the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

When we turn to God seeking His ways over the world’s we can rely fully upon His help in life. This will allow us to set upon a lifestyle of self-improvement as we realize that we cannot help ourselves. Through turning fully to God and seeking His ways over the world’s we begin the first step in the process of self-improvement. It is with the beginning of this process that we become closer to God.

Seeking to Change by Developing a Godly Relationship

The New Testament book of James gives us practical ways to develop a closer relationship with God once we acknowledge our need for Him. The first step is through humbling ourselves before Him. We do this by allowing Him full authority and control in our life as we commit to follow Him. This is followed by staying away from the views of the world and instead relying on the teaching of Christ.

We should also strive to live a pure and clean life replacing our desire to sin with our desire to fully experience God. In this, we should seek to express our regret and seek forgiveness for our sins of the past and those when we falter as we recognize that our worth comes only from God. This truth and belief help tremendously boost our confidence and secures the reminder that we are important no matter what lies in the pathways of life whether the past, present, or future.

When we choose to come humbly before God we learn to lean on His power and guidance and not seek to help ourselves. We do not deserve God’s favor, yet He wants to give us not only worth but dignity despite our faults and blunders. Won’t you take the challenge today to seek self-growth and improvement over self-help no matter what your circumstances are? Dig in deep and root your conviction in the full knowledge of God’s love for you. Seek your motivation in knowing that your worth comes only from God and He is always standing by ready to give you a life restart for the asking. And lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that life satisfaction only comes from fully acknowledging your need for God and there is no “self-help” for that.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Outside of Christ, I am weak; in Christ, I am strong.

Watchmen Nee

Extra Study

Isaiah 57:15; Mathew 25:34; Luke 6:17 – 26; James 4:7-10

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you seek self-help or self-improvement in your life? Have you fully acknowledged that it is only with the help of God that you can develop and improve to reach satisfaction in your life? Share your thoughts and revelations on life as you trust only in the one that can bring life eternal.

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