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In the run up to the holidays, especially the New Year (and to a lesser degree, Valentine’s Day), many people usually end up looking at what they’ve been doing in the past and then decide what they hope to do in the future.
This is the time when people start thinking of or even writing down New Year Resolutions and committing to a much-improved way of living come next year.
In fact, Jim Rohn goes so far as to suggest that we take the time at the end of each year (there are other times as well) to take stock of where we’re at so we can make appropriate plans.
I’m including his video here so you can watch it too. 🙂
Self love for the New Year
I believe that this time of the year is actually a great time to finally commit to loving yourself.
Love isn’t just a feeling.
You know what those romance movies keep showing, right? That all-consuming, passionate affair that makes people need somebody else.
That’s not what we’re talking about here.
We’re talking about real, unconditional love for yourself.
It’s a tough one.
Very few people actually know what it’s like to love themselves – much less how to love themselves without condition.
If you’re one of these people, then I recommend that you read our post: How Do You Love Yourself, Let Me Count The Ways: The Ultimate Guide to Self-Love.
It’s a meaty post at about 7,000 words and will give you all the information you need to get started.
And then once you’ve done that and you have a good grasp of what self love really is and how to cultivate it, you can dive into the following books to round out your knowledge.
This is our recommended reading list. In our opinion, the books in this list are the top self care books to help with self love.
I’ve included a short blurb for each book as well as quotes that will help you fall in love with yourself.
Side Note: This is an ever-expanding list as we come across books that we think should be included. We’re always reading, always learning. And it’s a process that will never end. At the time of this post’s first publication, we’re including 3 books. If it becomes too unwieldy a post, we might publish a sort of sequel.
In the meantime, read.
Live the blissful life you deserve.
Conversations with God, Book 1
Author: Neale Donald Walsch
Published date: 1995
Available on: Amazon
Controversy: If you’re a literalist who subscribe to organised religion (specifically, fundamental Christianity), then you will definitely have a problem with this book (the entire series actually). The book makes an important point in the early chapters: we don’t actually know who wrote the New Testament. And it simply goes downhill (or uphill depending on your view) from there as it then overturns practically every single literal interpretation of the Bible that you ever thought was true.
Quotable Quote: “Your first relationship, therefore, must be with your Self. You must first learn to honor and cherish and love your Self. You must first see your Self as worthy before you can see another as worthy. You must first see your Self as blessed before you can see another as blessed. You must first know your Self to be holy before you can acknowledge holiness in another.”
The first in this list of top books that will help you love yourself is none other than Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God, Book 1.
I included a particularly crucial excerpt in How Do You Love Yourself, Let Me Count The Ways: The Ultimate Guide to Self-Love.
This series was presented in the form of a conversation between the author and God, where they discuss supremely controversial subjects and debunks many (all?) of fundamental Christianity’s tenets.
To read this book, you need an open mind and an acceptance that God comes to people in many forms – that brilliant sunset that made you tear up, that song in the radio that lifted your heart in your darkest moment, that loyal friend who doesn’t even believe in God but whose compassion is as big as the continent of Europe.
Approach this book with an open mind and you won’t miss its most important message on love – specifically, that we must first purely and truly fall in love with ourselves before we can purely and truly fall in love with others.
Conversations with God Book 1 explains why this is a crucial first step and what happens when we put the cart before the horse and love other people first.
A must read!
Full Disclosure: I’m actually baptised Roman Catholic and was educated by nuns of the Religious of the Good Shepherd from the time I was 5 years old until I turned 16. I then joined a liberal university where I was taught Catholic Theology by Jesuit priests, who were adamant that the Bible should never be read literally.
Loving What Is
Controversy: This book talks about the (not so) radical approach of accepting full responsibility for everything that happens to you. And by everything, I do mean everything – including, in one example, the role a rape victim played in her own abuse. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and you might need to put this book down once or twice (or maybe a hundred times) before you can go through the material…and then, you’ll want to read it again to make sure that you understood the message. It walks an incredibly fine line between encouraging that you own your own power and victim blaming.
Quotable Quote: “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.”
The second on this list of books to help with self love is Loving What Is by Byron Katie and her husband, Stephen Mitchell.
Byron Katie was living the modern life with its modern stresses and chaos and found herself gradually sinking into depression over time. One day, though, she has an epiphany that changed the way she lived her life and which she now shares in this book.
Called The Work, these four simple questions – when applied judiciously – will help you see what is causing you pain and suffering. Once you know this, it becomes simpler to release the negativity and the value judgements you attach to the experience and live free.
I will admit that this was very tough for me in some places.
I mentioned before that I’m not yet enlightened enough to be able to say with perfect equanimity that I believe I am at source of all negative things that happen in my life so there were parts of this book that was a hard read for me (I mean if I were to be involved in a terrible car accident, did I do that?).
I also believe that whilst we can all benefit from being more zen about our lives (in other words, more accepting of reality as is), there comes a point when we have to fight for better things. Look at how far we’ve come in terms of women’s rights, for example.
We now have the vote.
Domestic abuse is now widely treated as a crime.
Women can now occupy positions of power in the business world.
Where would we be if we only accepted reality and did nothing to change it?
In these kinds of discussions, I always love to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men (and women!) who can dream of things that never were and ask why not.”
The Self Love Experiment
Author: Shannon Kaiser
Published date: 2017
Available on: Amazon
Controversy: This book is more like a journal and the format may throw some people off. Also, there are some references to things that may be a trigger for some (such as when the author talks about going through an eating disorder, drug addiction and depression). On the other hand, she doesn’t really go into too much depth about her journey so the relatively regular reference to these experiences may leave you a bit bereft. Finally, the word “experiment” has connotations of rigourous discipline and logical testing. The book itself relies more on emotion than reason.
Quotable Quote: “Self-love is not a place we get to but a place we choose.”
Shannon Kaiser used to hate her life and herself.
She struggled with body image issues, drug addiction, corporate burnout and depression – things that many of us living in the modern world have problems with.
And, like many of us, she eventually realised that self love is as necessary as breathing.
Her approach is subtle and gentle as she shares her stories and experiences. Whilst most of her issues have to do with her body, her recommendations are transferrable to whatever problems you’re facing about yourself.
Like many self-help books, the message The Self Love Experiment contains is timeless: we need to love ourselves (as much as we love other people). And she gives you a few examples on how to accomplish this based on her own personal story.
If you’re looking for a never-before written view on loving yourself, you’ll be disappointed with this book. But if you read it and recognise that it’s intended to be a gentle reminder rather than a in-depth dissertation, then this would be of great benefit.
And there you have it – a few books that will help you love yourself.
These are the top self love books that informed – and continue to inform – the way we understand and practise self love.
What about you? Do you have any life-changing books that transformed how you looked at yourself? Do share them in the comments section below! We’ll read it and if we like it, we’ll add it on this list. Can’t wait to hear from you. 🙂