There are times in life when help can only come from the inside. Sure, there are situations when external help is handy – be it emotional or physical. But whether you have no one to understand you, people around you are too busy or you simply do not feel like opening your soul, there are times when self help becomes your only option. A few good stories for the soul will ease your situation, guide you in the right direction and perhaps teach you what to do in certain circumstances – after all, you are not the only one in this situation, so you can always learn from others.

With these thoughts in mind, here are some of the best self help stories to enlighten and guide you accordingly.

Help Is on the Way, by David Friedman

The world has never been more challenging and people experience more stress-related problems than ever. There are so many questions out there and so few answers. This book is not just willing to inspire you to find answers, but it will also motivate you to push yourself from behind. The author insists on the overall idea that every question has at least one answer – you just need to dig deeper.

Many times, these answers come in ways that no one truly expects. At this point, you have to be open-minded and explore all kinds of possibilities. This is not David Friedman's first attempt at fixing the world – in 1990, he wrote a song to reply to the AIDS crisis. It has become a cult song and has helped raise millions of dollars for different causes all over the world.

If you know the song, the book will look quite familiar. After all, each chapter is basically a line from this song. You will go through various stories, anecdotes, practical tips and tricks, helpful advice, and essays to help you understand the world. No matter what kind of challenges you are facing, this book will give you the answers.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

The title is based on a happening from the author’s childhood. One day, her brother, who was only 10 years old, had a report to do on birds. He had a few months for it, but he waited until the last moment. He was in tears, surrounded by books, papers, and pencils. His father came over and gave him the best advice ever – bird by bird.

Anne Lamott offers access to an incredible gift of self help. This step by step guide is mostly aimed at writers, but it is just as handy for those who get stuck in life and need a bit of guidance. There are different chapters – how to get started, what short assignments mean, how to go through the plot, how to choose a character, and so on. The author teaches, inspires and discusses.

This is one of the best self help essays on the market for writers. Even if you are not a writer, but you are thinking of becoming one, this book is for you. Keep your mind open and look around – inspiration is everywhere around you. Life is an art, and this book will help you overcome anything to become the writer you want to be.

The Four Agreements, by Miguel Ruiz

Miguel Ruiz has gained notoriety with some fascinating stories for the soul, and The Four Agreements makes no exception either. This is the type of book that will show you everything you need to do to achieve personal freedom. It is a step-by-step guide with detailed instructions on how to overcome obstacles that only you can see.

The book begins with the root of all these limitations. Practically, the author tries to identify all the beliefs and misconceptions that limit people. It is not your fault, but the society’s. It is the environment you grew up in. All these beliefs will rob happiness out of your life, but they will also create unnecessary suffering in the long run.

The book also provides access to four agreements that will inevitably come together as a code of conduct. Implement this code into your life, and things will change to 180 degrees in no time. Experience real happiness and love, but more importantly, find out what freedom actually feels like. Each agreement is a lesson of life that will make your venture more appealing.

Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed

Life is a challenge. At times, it is harder than what you can imagine. There are plenty of reasons that can cause sadness and unhappiness – a cheating partner, a dying family member, the impossibility to pay bills, or afford a holiday. All these things can ruin your shot at life – while they will pass eventually, they will take their toll on you.

On the other hand, life can also be extremely fascinating. You have just found the love of your life or you get the promotion you have always dreamed about. Cheryl Strayed was initially known as Sugar – an online columnist at The Rumpus. She was the type of person people turned to for advice and inspiration when in need.

Her book puts everything she knows in one place. It includes some of Sugar’s best lessons of life, but it also brings in some columns that have never been published. It makes an amazing collection of self help essays, but it will also stimulate compassion and honesty into you. Moreover, there is plenty of humor to put a smile on your face too.

Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson

This is an incredible story that may not seem like it has too much to do with life in the first place. Practically, you get to meet four different characters. Each of them has different characteristics, but they also have a few things in common. For instance, they all live in a sophisticated maze. Then, they are all looking after pieces of cheese to keep happy. Where is the catch?

This cheese could be anything – that is the point. It could be your dream job or perhaps an amount of money. It might be your dream car or home. Everyone has goals in life. Some people go for a loving relationship, while others are after possessions and wealth, not to mention spiritual peace. As for the maze, that is where you actually look for your goals – that is where you hang around to find your dreams.

There is one problem though – the cheese keeps moving, so you are less likely to get it too easily. The chase for cheese will bring in a plethora of different challenges. One of these characters actually manages to make it happen. This is when the real lessons of life begin, as the character shares some of the experience.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink has a simple purpose – the author aims to help you understand how you make decisions and what drives them. It is a mind-changing masterpiece and one of the best self-help essays out there – practically, you will never make decisions the same way again. Plus, it will change your mindset to 180 degrees.

Malcolm Gladwell will redefine how you see the world around you too. It may sound a bit confusing at first, but the book will change the way you think about thinking. You will learn how some decisions are made and why they should be made in a different way. Why do people follow their instincts? Why do others ignore their instincts then? How does your brain truly work?

Blink will help you meet the psychologist within you. Moreover, the author also analyzes some life-changing decisions that have gained mainstream attention – such as the shooting of Amadou Diallo or the election of Warren Harding. Bottom line, you will learn to make better decisions that will suit your lifestyle better.

Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling has gained some reputation with Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, but her newer release aims to help you redefine your lifestyle. The book is an inspirational and hilarious collection of self help essays – the type of essays that anyone can learn from.

This book analyzes Mindy’s life and challenges as she goes through her adult life. From finding new friends to finding love at work, there are a series of things that everyone goes through at some point or another.

Find out how to tackle these challenges and experiment life in a fun way. Explore anxiety and learn how to get rid of it. Laugh out loud and stop taking things so seriously. The book is relaxing, but also helpful at the same time.


As a short final conclusion, these are some of the best self help essays out there, whether you are after something motivational or a hilarious guide to go through life without worrying too much. The list can go longer, but no matter what you are after, there are stories for the soul that anyone can learn from.

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