I won’t even pretend that I’ve got my stuff together. If one thing is going great in my life, twenty other things are falling apart. I worry, I stress out, I take an anti-depressant on the daily. My life is far from perfect. In fact, people who create an image of perfection is one of my biggest pet peeves. I have far more respect for those willing to risk being vulnerable versus perfect. So, what’s this have to do with self improvement? A lot. Let me tell you my story.
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Since my late teens and early twenties, I have craved normalcy. My youth was sprinkled with many rough patches. I’ve really only shared those times with my therapist. My husband, family and friends know very little about some events that have left me simply feeling broken most of my life. Over the years, I’ve found myself sheepishly browsing the self-improvement and personal development aisles at the book store looking for that one title that would give me all the answers to fix myself. Sure, I’ve found books that have shed light on things but it has been the combination of therapy and the following books that has sparked a huge paradigm shift in the way I view myself and life.
Top Three Self Improvement Books That Worked
First, the book you’ve likely already heard about: Girl, Wash Your Face by “it girl” Rachel Hollis.
Megan urged me to get this book after what I can only assume was a barrage of self-loathing texts from me to her. I really took to Girl, Wash Your Face. The cover alone reiterates exactly what my therapist and I constantly talk about: “Stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be.” I’ve been on a path the last few years understanding my true self versus who I think I am. A lot of Hollis’ advice reinforces the damaging misconceptions we create for ourselves and how and why to stop.
Now for the criticism of GWYF. I found myself second guessing some stuff she says because I can’t help but wonder if those are things people want to hear from her. On the flip side, I can probably say the same for my therapist. I guess I can be skeptical. My biggest criticism, though, and I apologize in advance if this offends some of you is Girl, Wash Your Face is personally too faith-based for me even making me feel uncomfortable at times. I half-heartedly believe in God which therefore makes me half-heartedly believe what she is saying.
However, the things I liked about Girl, Wash Your Face outweighs the things I didn’t. It touches on subjects I struggle a lot with: being a good parent, not being good enough, comparison and body issues. There is some great non-faith advice shared and I think most women can connect with it.
BUY: Girl, Wash Your Face on Amazon
Another New York Times bestseller that made its way into my Audible lineup earlier this year is Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life. So, a short story about my kid. She plays competitive soccer and takes some additional training for her position. A few weeks ago, I overheard that coach bluntly say to her: “You got beat because you aren’t doing what I told you to do.” There’s no sugar coating and I will say the same about Sincero’s You Are a Badass. She basically tells you to stop setting traps for yourself, stop making excuses, start doing. The Gen-Xer in me appreciates this tone.
The next book has received a lot of criticism for having a misleading title. It’s called The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders. Many wished this was more like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up but found it was more memoir than self-help. What I took from The Year of Less was a self-understanding about the patterns I create in my life and why through the author’s own stories. It has helped me understand some of the coping mechanisms I am prone to when I desperately don’t want to face facts.
BUY: The Year of Less on Amazon
Have you read any of these books? I’m really interested in finding other self improvement or personal development books in this lane, so if you have read something that you found dynamic and life-changing, leave us a comment. Or, save the image above to one of your Pinterest boards so you don’t forget what I recommended.