5 Books Full of Self Love Awesomeness

What is your initial reaction when you hear the words “self development”? Did you just roll your eyes? Most of us know that we need to take better care of ourselves, but doesn’t it sound like a lot of extra work? We have heard the typical “better you” lineup: eat healthy, exercise, take some “me” time, read more, keep a journal, meditate, let go of negativity, drink daily. Okay fine, I added the last one for fun. Beer yoga, anyone? Seriously, if you know of research that says drinking daily will improve myself, you need to drop that info in the comments!

Maybe you do these to some extent. I have attempted all of these, though I’m better at some than others. And maybe, like me, you feel there is a step missing to find that special spark in your life. After my son was born a little over two years ago, I started to feel like something was lacking. My family was complete, and I was happy in my career, yet an unknown absence loomed.

Around the same time, my MLM team was focused on self development. In fact, we were challenged to watch the movie The Secret and discuss our takeaway points. I rarely back down from a challenge, so of course I watched. By the way, it turns out MLMs are not really my thing, but I do still love the company, their products, and the people I met in my journey.

That small challenge sparked a drive to find my purpose and become a better version of myself. I began searching for guidance on Google and Pinterest. I watched videos recommended by teammates. In the end though, good old-fashioned books were the most beneficial for me. Well, that’s half true. As I was still trying to figure out how to be a mom of two and get back to work full time, I didn’t have much time or energy to pick up a book. What I did have were short bursts of time while getting ready in the morning or before bed, nursing, and pumping. I used those moments to listen to books through my phone.

So I signed up with Audible (affiliate link) and immediately downloaded any self development book that sounded remotely interesting. I stopped listening to some 10-30 minutes in because there was no connection at all. Others resonated so deeply, it was as if they were written specifically for me. I don’t read/listen as much these days, but I do still find it an important part of my growth.

My 5 favorite self development books

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Overview: Based on the film by the same name, The Secret addresses the law of attraction theory, which states what you think about, you bring about. It highlights a number of people throughout history that have followed this approach and gives a variety of examples from people today.

Why I like it: Yes, technically I watched the film rather than reading the book, but the content in each is the same. I love the idea of the law of attraction and was able to put into action immediately. I also love the focus on gratitude. Being thankful for what we have today can drastically change our current mood, as well as what comes to us in the future.

Favorite quote: “This is your life, and it’s been waiting for you to discover it. Up until now you may have been thinking that life is hard and a struggle, so by the law of attraction you will have experienced life as hard and a struggle. Begin right now to shout to the Universe, ’Life is so easy! Life is so good! All good things come to me!’”

The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today by Joel Osteen
Overview: This book puts a twist on the law of attraction, stating that whatever follows the words “I am” is what you manifest for yourself. It helps you hone in on the gifts God has given you and love what you have today in preparation to receive greater gifts in the future.

Why I like it: Not only did this book propel my desire to live more positively, it inspired me to strengthen my relationship with God. It provides a whole list of wonderful affirmations to arm yourself with. Joel encourages you to focus on the positive rather than the negative and to remember that any obstacles in your path are temporary.

Favorite quote: “Beauty is not in how thin or tall you are, how perfect you look. Beauty is in being who God made you to be with confidence. If you’re a size 4, great. If you’re a size 24, great. Take what you have and make the most of it.”

How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell
Overview: Drawing from his own experiences, the author provides guidance and insight on how to appreciate the gifts you have been given and use them to pursue your dreams. We all have a blank page and a blinking line waiting for us to start they story of our life. This book helps you break down that story into chapters and even paragraphs so it doesn’t become paralyzing.

Why I like it: With each new concept, I could easily identify areas in my life to apply them. Not only does the author discuss pursuing your purpose, he provides help for overcoming negativity from others (or yourself). He makes it clear that it’s not about having all of the answers. Instead focus on having the courage to start and the faith to figure out the rest as it comes.

Favorite quote: “Better to have a stomach full of butterflies than to feel like your life is passing you by.”

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Overview: After her sister commented “You never say yes to anything,” Shonda resolved to begin saying yes at every given opportunity. This book details her journey, and illustrates the profound impact this decision has had on her life.

Why I like it: It’s TV genius Shonda Rhimes. It’s funny. It makes you want to start saying yes and fight that silly fear monster that has kept all of us from say yes at one point. Plus in the audio version, she plays the audio of her 2014 Dartmouth commencement speech, which is awe-inspiring in itself. Google it!

Favorite quote: “Stand up in front of people. Let them see you. Speak. Be heard. Go ahead and have the dry mouth. Let your heart beat so, so fast. Watch everything move in slow motion.”

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Overview: This book tackles topics including self sabotage, fear, the law of attraction, working toward your goals, and learning to love yourself. The author takes concepts others in the life coach and personal development arena have addressed, provides her personal experience, and makes it relatable through some tough love.

Why I like it: I love this unapologetic, direct kick in the pants. It’s like getting life advice from your best friend, assuming your best friend is funny and enjoys occasional profanity. Through this book, you are encouraged to own up to the B.S. that keeps you from achieving your goals and loving yourself.

Favorite quote: ““You are a badass. You were one when you came screaming onto this planet and you are one now. The Universe wouldn’t have bothered with you otherwise. You can’t screw up so majorly that your badassery disappears. It is who you are. It’s who you always will be. It’s not up for negotiation.” And because I love this book so much, here’s another: “Deciding means jumping in all the way, doing whatever it takes, and going after your dreams with the tenacity of a dateless cheerleader a week before prom night.”

Try a Little Positivity: Daily Affirmations for Kids

Do you remember the first time you didn’t want to look in a mirror? How about the last time you had a negative thought about yourself? It’s difficult to be positive when we live in a world of photoshop and “friends” ready to critique every picture you share through social media. A world of bullies and body shaming. Where every insecurity we have can be amplified at the push of a button. A space where others are more than willing to identify new concerns you hadn’t even considered.

Thankfully, there is also an increasing number of people standing up against this behavior. People choosing to love themselves and others based on who they are, not what they look like. For all of the voices (including your own) saying you are not good enough, there are voices emerging to shout, “You are incredible!”

I can tell you, it’s not the easy choice. Of course, it can’t be that simple! It’s one thing to be proud of those tiger stripes you earned. It’s another to put on that bikini and own those stripes like the goddess you are. You can believe you’re happy at your current weight and still wish you were ten pounds lighter. It’s easy to look in the mirror and find your imperfections, only seeing the little things you wish were different. It’s harder to look in that same mirror and say, “Damn, I look good! I AM incredible!” And believe it with every fiber of your being.

Learning to love ourselves is hard enough. Teaching this to our children and being a good example day in and day out is an additional challenge. After my daughter was born, I decided to make a conscious effort to never talk negatively about my appearance or the appearance of others in front of her. This has become easier as I work on my self appreciation, but it’s still something I have do with intention. It is not yet second nature. I do not avoid mirrors or pictures. There is no big to do about putting on makeup, it’s just something I do everyday. Yes, everyday. Even when I don’t leave the house. I know, I need to let it go. I’m working on it!

So I was taken aback when one night after her bath, she turned away from the mirror and told me she didn’t want to look at herself. What? What do you mean? She was two and a half at the time. I calmly asked why but didn’t push the issue too hard. She never did explain where this came from, but I knew I had to find a way to change it

I had recently finished listening to the book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero on Audible.com (affiliate link). By the way, I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read/listened to it. I started saying daily affirmations in the morning as I was getting ready and found that it had a positive impact on my attitude.

I decided to try this with my daughter after bath time each evening. In the beginning, she wasn’t always on board. She occasionally fought to look at herself in the mirror, but by the time we finished the affirmations, she was always looking in the mirror and smiling. Now we say affirmations in the morning, either after brushing teeth or in the car ride to school. My two year old son has also started saying them with us. It’s a great way to set the day off on the right foot. The affirmations we say have changed a little over the past year and a half, but we have been consistent over the past four months with the following affirmations:

I am strong
This isn’t really about physical strength, even if my kids flex their biceps from time to time when they say this. I want them to know they possess the strength to face anything that is brought into their life.

I am smart
This is beyond having books smarts or doing well in school. I want them to be confident in their ability to make good choices.

I am kind and loving
Speaking of good choices, in this world of negativity, I hope they choose to always being kind and act in love rather than hate.

I am beautiful inside and out
At least once a week my daughter will ask if she looks pretty in the dress she picked out for the day (it’s dresses or nothing for this girl!). When she asks this, I remind her that she’s beautiful because of who she is, not what she wears.

I am the best me I can be
This is our reminder to give our best in all that we do. This one and the following three are also part of my own daily affirmations.

No one else can be me
We are all unique. God created each of us in a specific way for a specific purpose. Just as we cannot be anyone else, no one else can be who we are. Even identical twins are unique individuals.

I am worthy
This is my favorite. It was a lightbulb moment the first time I heard it. We are worthy of the great things brought into our lives and the greatness God has prepared for us to achieve. Never let someone tell you that you deserve anything less.

I am blessed
This is a reminder for my kids to recognize how blessed they are.

Thank you God for making me this way
Finally, we give thanks to God for creating us the way he did and for providing us with all we need to fulfill our purpose in life.

Once we finish the affirmations, the kids will typically tell me that they will have a good day and we discuss anything special that we are looking forward to that day. How do you help your kids stay positive about who they are? If you say daily affirmations, how do your differ from ours? I’m always looking for new ideas!