My whole life I have been an avid reader and in the last 10 years, I have really taken to self-help books. Self-help, spirituality, advice or whatever you want to call them—I love them. I’ve read dozens, and they’ve made a positive impact on my life. Here are five of my favorites that I recommend to my friends all of the time.
“Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle
Glennon Doyle’s memoir has probably changed my life more than any other. She writes about a life filled with eating disorders, substance abuse, depression and marital problems, which she mostly ignored. Glennon was stuck in a purgatory of never dealing with her pain, but never feeling true happiness. “Love Warrior” is the story of a woman identifying her pain, feeling it and becoming a warrior through it. It is so raw and authentic.
More than anything, Doyle taught me this: pain is inevitable, ignoring it will not help. We need to feel our pain. Dealing with our pain is the only way to experience true joy and happiness. And we are all strong enough to feel it and heal from it.
“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert makes the case that creativity (whatever it means to you) is something humans need to act on. We need an element of creativity in our lives in order to live a life of joy, spirituality and wonder. Gilbert explains that living a creative life does not mean you have to be a skillful painter or talented poet. Or even making a living from any of it. The only requirement is that it makes you happy.
One day, I sat down and wrote a short piece about a man I loved and the history of our relationship and how it changed me. I wrote it because I needed to process the relationship and my feelings for him. Until then, I never considered myself a writer, let alone a good writer. The experience of writing it out was profound and I realized that I needed the practice of writing in my daily life. When I read “Big Magic,” I realized I didn’t have to be good at writing. I can just do it. And I should do it if it brings me joy.
“Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
“Designing Your Life” is a great introduction to design thinking, the methodology used in areas like software development and product design. The authors teach us how to use design thinking to create a life that is both meaningful and provides a living. If you’re confused about your life, don’t know what you want to do or if your plan(s) didn’t work out for you, this book is for you. Throughout “Designing Your Life,” you learn how to use design thinking to positively impact and change your own lives.
The book taught me how to figure out what’s important to me, brainstorm and mindmap ideas, have lots of plans, prototype and keep going after it. In today’s tech/innovation world, we hear a lot of inspirational quotes telling us it’s okay to fail, but no one really explains why it’s ok or how to do it well. This book does exactly that. Because just like Glennon taught me in “Love Warrior,” failure is inevitable, so figure out how to work with it, not against it.
“The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul” by Danielle LaPorte
“The Desire Map” is part book and part workbook. LaPorte explains that we traditionally create goals because we hope that achieving that goal will fulfill us. Our goals are usually centered around a tangible thing, but what we’re really chasing is a feeling. “The Desire Map” helps the reader get clear on what is important to him/her, define their personal values and set their ‘desired feelings’. Then, figure out what you need to do to achieve those feelings (i.e. set goals and create action plans).
I found this book to be profoundly helpful. It clarified what I really wanted to feel in life, not just what I wanted to do. I stopped making goals like, “lose 20 pounds.” Instead, I realized that the feeling I was craving was confidence and strength, so I set goals that would make me feel strong and confident, like running and improv classes. The process was cathartic and really motivating for me. I started making the biggest moves in my life after this book. I recommend doing the workbook every six to 12 months.
“The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
“The Confidence Code” was recommended to me by a woman in my graduate school program that I deeply admire and respect. I was telling her the issues I was having at work, feeling inadequate and insecure. This book was exactly what I needed.
The authors, Kay and Shipman, go over the neuroscience of confidence, specifically for women, as well as give some very helpful advice on how to gain confidence. Kay and Shipman explain that “you won’t discover it by thinking positive thoughts or by telling yourself (or your children) that you are perfect as you are. You also won’t find it by simply squaring your shoulders and faking it. But it does require a choice: less people pleasing and perfectionism and more action, risk taking, and fast failure.”
I will admit that I haven’t read all of this book, but that’s another great thing about it—you don’t have to read it from start to finish. You can pick and choose chapters as you go if you’re short on time.
I mentioned above that I’ve read dozens of self-help type books, but I only shared five here today. I chose these five because I think each of the authors come from a place of empathy and blend science with love throughout their writing. I believe no matter where you are in your life’s journey, you can get a lot out of any one of these books. Happy reading!
Author: Stephanie DeLacy
Author Bio: Stephanie DeLacy unapologetically shares what it’s like to navigate the world as a 20-something girl with humor, profanity and raw vulnerability. Stephanie recounts stories of her travel, mental health and the journey to loving her body. Her descriptions of dating are bawdy, but incredibly relatable. She courageously describes her dysfunctional childhood, healing from trauma and how she’s evolved as a survivor of sexual assault. At times heart-wrenching, her stories will evoke raw emotion and connect to you on the most guttural level. She hopes to inspire authentic living and human connection. Stephanie lives in Cleveland with her dog and two cats. You can follow her on Instagram @alifeenroute.com
Link to your social media or website: http://www.alifeenroute.com