Helpless Finding Help in the Self-Help?


I was in Barnes & Nobles today browsing in the self-help section. I’m sure those of you who have been following me on this journey are thinking, FINALLY! This whole “I Quit Dating” charade is over and this girl is finally going to get back out there. She’s seeking help! And if you thought that, you would be way off-base. Truthfully, I was there researching ways in which to expand my empire! Did you know that there aren’t any books called, “I Quit Dating?” At least not in Barnes & Nobles or via a quick search on Amazon. I can’t think of why. But nevertheless, I was there RESEARCHING in the dating section which was in the SELF-HELP section, because where else would it be?

Being a natural people watcher / people observer, I couldn’t help but notice a young girl, likely younger than me, though I can’t be sure since I always think people are younger than me. The perils of having an old body stuck in a young one!

Nevertheless, I instantly began to wonder – what is the young, attractive girl doing in the love section? What kind of help or guidance is she hoping to find in all all these books, half of which are advice books about dating that are written by single people? (Honestly, I could never figure that out. How can someone be a single, dating expert? Show me the married dating experts! No?)

I wanted to talk to her, but restrained myself because the self-help section isn’t the place where most people are looking to make friends. However, that didn’t stop me from forming my own ideas, assuming that she was actually there looking for help, unlike me who is beyond help and was just… hovering?

I wanted to tell her all the things that nobody seemed to want to tell me. I wanted to tell her the truth, instead of generic affirmations that are so chalk full of clichés that they can write THEMSELVES on the sidewalks.

I wanted to tell her that while she can find help here, it’s unlikely that she’s going to find the answers that she seeks tucked away in a chapter entitled, “What to Do and What Not to Do.”

I wanted to tell her that she’s amazing and that someday she might find someone who doesn’t play the games, doesn’t follow the rules and just lets himself fall in love with her, and her with him.

I wanted to tell her that there’s one thing greater in life than romantic love, and that is going out and living her life to the fullest.

I wanted to tell her that finding love is not a given and that she not only has to meet the right person, but she has to meet him at the right time. I wanted to tell her that there are so many things that are out of her control and have nothing to do with her that could affect her chances of accomplishing this. I wanted to tell her that sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why something didn’t work. It’s not about her or who she is. It just is.

Lastly, I wanted to tell her that life will still be beautiful without the idea of a “him” and that she can still find her place in the world without “him.”

I wanted to tell her that she’s fine just as she is and that she doesn’t need all those books to tell her how to dress, what to say, how to act or what to do. I wanted to tell her that she’s wonderful just the way she is.

I wanted to tell her that she doesn’t need to play this game.

I wanted to tell her to be herself.

What would you tell her?

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J is a happily single 30-something currently documenting her stories of love and loss. Her blog, “I Quit Dating” features excerpts of her journey as she reflects on the lessons learned from the men she loved. A complete collection of essays detailing her walk away from finding Mr. Right in order to pursue a more fulfilled life will be self-published next year. She recently moved from Los Angeles to New York. Contact: iquitdating (@)

5 thoughts on “Helpless Finding Help in the Self-Help?”

    1. Don’t give up. I don’t want people to be like me. I don’t want people to give up on finding love. I feel that meeting someone is a gift and not a given. I think more people should live their lives as if “he” might not come. Be you and live your life.


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