Bookstores and libraries have shelves of self-help books. It can be overwhelming to know where to start. Often women will ask me which book to read to help with certain issues. For the next two posts, I want to give you some recommendations for two dimensions of your life: your relationship with yourself and your relationship with others.
Here are 7 books I recommend to those who want to work on their relationship with themselves. These are in no particular order.
1. Anything by Brené Brown.
I recommend starting with Gifts of Imperfection, which is her shortest book. Daring Greatly and Rising Strong are both helpful reads for anyone wanting to live whole-heartedly. I recommend her books to anyone who feels weighed down by shame or for those who internally wrestle with feeling like “enough.”
2. Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life - Susan David
Dr. David's book gives guidance to handling the range of emotions we experience on a daily basis. She gives strategies for noticing emotions as well as how to make value-informed decisions to move forward in light of those emotions. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever struggled to know what to do with his or her emotions.
3. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma - Bessel Von Der Kolk
Dr. Bessel Von Der Kolk is a psychiatrist who lays out a comprehensive framework and understanding of trauma and its effects on our bodies and brains. Be warned that the stories in this book may be difficult for some to read due to the intensity of their traumatic content. However, this book is a fascinating read about how trauma physically and emotionally impacts us and what trauma recovery can look like. I recommend this to anyone who has experienced any level of trauma in life.
4. Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others - Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky
When I recommend this book I always start by saying, "When I read this book the first time, I broke a pen because I underlined so many pages". The book maps out how working with trauma can impact us. The author also helps show how you can still work in trauma related fields in meaningful and sustainable ways. I highly recommend this book to anyone working in a trauma related field. This includes nurses, doctors, firefighters, social workers, therapists, ministers, vet techs, police offers, Department of Children Services employees, teachers and many other professions that work closely with those who are affected by trauma.
5. Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now - Meg Jay
Dr. Jay focuses her work on the important season of life we call “the twenties.” She shows how critical these ten years are in the life of young adults and gives practical advice on how to make the most of them. Dating, career, friendships, and both mental and physical changes are all addressed in an honest and relatable fashion. I recommend this if you are in your twenties, work with twenty-somethings, or love a twenty-something.
6. The Assertiveness Guide for Women: How to Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries, and Transform Your Relationships - Julie de Azevedo Hanks
One constant topic in my office concerns the challenge of communication. This book is a helpful guide for women who want to learn communication in helpful and healthy ways. I recommend this book for those wanting practical tips to move them towards more assertive communication.
7. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself - Kristin Neff
Self-compassion is often misunderstood to be self-pity, self-indulgence, and self-esteem. But Neff’s work helps the distinct traits of self-compassion. I recommend this book to anyone looking for tools that that can strengthen your own practice of self-compassion.
Next week, I will share three more books for improving your relationships with others. If you are looking more support in your self-improvement journey in Nashville, then fill out this form for a 15-minute phone consultation.