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Sometimes, you need a little encouragement to help you cultivate self-love. This post will give you the best books that will help you love yourself.
Disclaimer: Please remember that this post is not intended to replace proper medical guidance or medication. If you suspect you have mental health issues, then please see your doctor to obtain a diagnosis. Alternatively, you can get matched to a licensed therapist online who is available 24/7.
People often start committing to a much-improved way of living in the future around New Year’s. Resolutions abound and people get excited because change is in the air.
But the fact is, you can do this at any time of the year.
Disclaimer: Please remember that this post is not intended to replace proper medical guidance or medication. If you suffer from anxiety or chronic worrying, then please see your doctor to obtain a diagnosis. Alternatively, you can get matched to a licensed therapist online who is available 24/7.
You can start today.
If you wanted to.
Jim Rohn suggests that we take the time at the end of each day, each week, each month, and each year to take stock of where we’re at.
What have you accomplished in that length of time? And what do you still have to do?
He’s got a beautiful way of explaining the importance of self-reflection, so I’m including his video here.
You need to watch it too.
Books that will help you love yourself and become more confident
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, 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.
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
Author: Neale Donald Walsch
Published date: 1995
Available on: Amazon
Controversy: If you’re a literalist who subscribes to organized 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
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 rigorous 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 recognize that it’s intended to be a gentle reminder rather than a in-depth dissertation, then this would be of great benefit.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Live
Controversy: This book talks about our self-worth and how important it is to value ourselves in order to become successful in our lives.
Oftentimes, we hold on to false beliefs that prevent us from getting one step closer to our goal.
We self-sabotage and often we don’t even recognize it.
This book brings a fresh perspective to reflecting on our behaviors and how to work on ourselves instead of placing the blame on other situations or people.
Quotable Quote: “Because if you base your self-worth on what everyone else thinks of you, you hand all your power over to other people and become dependent on a source outside of yourself for validation.
Then you wind up chasing after something you have no control over, and should that something suddenly place its focus somewhere else, or change its mind and decide you’re no longer interesting, you end up with a full-blown identity crisis.”
This book’s part of Jen Sincero’s Badass series, and this specific one talks about unleashing your inner badass and overall just improving your mindset on life, letting go of any inaccurate subconscious beliefs that are holding you down.
Spending the majority of your time caring and thinking about what other people think of you deters you from having a sense of freedom and self-expression. It’s a mind game that you need to practice.
Approach this book with an open mind and you won’t miss its most important message on self-confidence – specifically, eliminating self-doubt is key to achieving things that you’re actually capable of.
It encourages you to go outside your comfort zone because quite frankly, nobody achieved anything amazing from staying inside their bubble.
A must read!
Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness
Controversy: This book is about rewiring your thinking and transforming negative emotions into positive ones.
It strikes a balance between accepting the reality of things and finding good in it.
The book also contains a multitude of inspirational quotes to help you stay motivated.
Quotable Quote: “Self-love is the balance between accepting as you are while knowing you deserve better, and then working towards it.”
We often mistake that achieving happiness means that we will never have to express sadness ever again. We convince ourselves that sadness isn’t an important emotion and that we should be happy all the time, this then leads to “toxic positivity.”
Well, Vex King’s book isn’t about that. Sadness is an emotion that we need to allow ourselves to feel, and shouldn’t be shunned away just because it’s the opposite of happiness.
After all, being human means we’re, able to experience multiple emotions.
One of these is sadness.
We can actually learn a lot from our sadness. And it makes us look forward to being happy.
No one can be happy all the time. It’s impossible. How can you feel happiness without going through pain and sadness?
Really experiencing these emotions, whether good or bad, in a productive way, helps us grow as a person.
You’re able to manage your emotions well and not let them consume you.
Granted, there is a learning curve to this, and it’s common for people to not get the hang of it the first time but, nobody’s perfect.
We don’t get things right the first time.
We make mistakes.
That’s all okay.
It’s all a part of our journey to self-discovery and growth.
Accepting the fact that we can’t achieve society’s standard of perfection will pave the way for us to be perfect in our own little ways.
When you start to love yourself, you notice many things about yourself that you weren’t able to see before. You hold a lot of goodness in you that was there all along.
This book will help you with all of that.
While there’s no doubt this is one of the best books out there to help you feel better about yourself and achieve self-growth, it’s not perfect.
If you don’t like cliché motivational quotes, then you’re better off finding a different book from this list.
How to Love Yourself: A Guide to Building Your Self-Esteem When You Don’t Know Where to Start
Controversy: Written by someone in the fashion industry, this book raises eyebrows. What qualifications does the writer have to write about this topic?
Plenty, as it turns out.
The fashion industry, after all, is all about getting approval for your looks, and isn’t that the opposite of self-love?
I recommend this book as an easy read for self-love and healing.
Quotable Quote: “Attaining inner peace isn’t about letting someone else read your lines; it’s about embracing your character and giving the performance of a lifetime.
Never be afraid to express your inner thoughts, never be afraid to dance to a different beat because when you shine with self-acceptance, you light up the world.”
This book is actually perfect for beginners since it acts as an easy guide to building your self-esteem. It will help you accept your imperfections and recognize their beauty.
And the best part is, learning how to love yourself is an investment that doesn’t break the bank. Just like any relationship with someone else, the bond you have with yourself needs to be nurtured.
You may have unresolved issues, past trauma, or painful experiences resulting in a difficult relationship with yourself
To fix your most important relationship, you need to resolve this trauma.
What’s nice about this book is that it’s straight to the point, and it gives a guide on where to begin your self-healing journey.
Similar to other self-esteem books, the message behind Lakeysha-Marie Green’s book is timeless: Loving yourself is just as important (if not, even more) as loving other people.
If you’re a beginner in self-help books, then this is highly recommended, as it lays out the fundamental ideas and key points when it comes to self-love and confidence.
Negative Self Talk and How to Change It
Controversy: This book tackles the effects of negative self-talk.
You may think that saying self-deprecating jokes about yourself is funny, but you’re actually making a negative impact on your self-esteem.
You’re tearing yourself down instead of building yourself up.
This book is an easy and worthwhile read on the importance of how you speak about yourself and others.
Quotable Quote: “What you want to believe is not a measure of its correctness. What you believe about anything is a measure of the programs you have that support your belief. ”
Shad Helmstetter is a best-selling author and the leading authority in the field of self-talk. He knows exactly what to say and how to say it with maximum effectiveness.
Some people use negative self talk, such as cracking self-deprecating jokes, as a coping mechanism.
It’s quite common nowadays, especially in the younger generation, whose cerebral cortex hasn’t fully developed.
This can negatively impact their growth.
Another thing you need to remember is that negative self-talk is the opposite of positive affirmations. And what you speak into existence will affect you in the future.
If you keep telling yourself you’re going to fail, then chances are you really are going to fail.
If you say, you’re fat. Then you are.
If you say, you’re ugly, no one will love you. Guess what? You’re right.
So, it’s time to configure the way you speak about yourself.
The eloquent writing of the author makes this one of the must-read books on self-love and confidence, which is why it’s included in this list.
Love Yourself First: How to Heal from Toxic People, Create Healthy Relationships & Become a Confident Woman
Controversy: This book focuses more on a woman’s perspective on self-love and confidence.
On average, more women are seen to be people-pleasers and are pressured to do things they’re afraid to say no to.
This can lead to a series of events that can be painful or traumatic to the woman.
Krystle Laughter’s book teaches you how to break free from toxic cycles and also the importance of saying ‘no.’
Quotable Quote: “Teach others how to love you by loving yourself first.”
Written by a certified life coach who identifies as a woman, for women everywhere who are struggling with their self-esteem.
This makes it much more relatable to all of womankind.
What does it do?
It mentally prepares you for your next healthy relationship and shows you how to spot possible red flags (that means this relationship isn’t good for you) so that you can leave as early as possible.
Women often get taken advantage of, whether in romantic relationships or in work settings and sometimes they let people get away with it – all for the sake of keeping the peace or pleasing other people.
“No.” is a powerful statement, and you need to learn when and how to say it.
This book will help you eliminate any fear surrounding this word and realize that you have the right to say no because you want to. While Love Yourself is intended for women, but you can still learn a lot even if you’re a man who finds it difficult to say no.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Controversy: This book takes a different approach to improving your self-esteem and curing yourself of your people-pleasing tendencies.
It’s straight to the point and it reminds you to live a little.
The reality is that not everything is going to be perfect, and that’s okay.
You’re not perfect and you don’t have to be.
Quotable Quote: “Remember, pain serves a purpose.”
Mark Manson has a refreshing perspective towards life and positivity. His thought-provoking book explains that you don’t need to be positive all the time.
He provides the honest truth without any sugar coating.
The reality is that we have to deal with bad things from time to time, and faking positivity won’t shun these things so easily.
Faking positivity results in toxic positivity, which is also not good for your wellbeing.
Figuring out to embrace your fears and doubts actually allows you to be stronger and more emotionally attuned with yourself, improving your self-esteem and allowing you to grow as a person.
Why is this important?
Because knowing you aren’t perfect means that you won’t allow yourself to be put in situations that won’t provide you with any growth opportunity or benefits, which saves you time and energy.
It’s a great read that includes personal stories from the author, laced with ruthless humor.
If you aren’t a fan of profanity, then skip this book recommendation.
Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again
Controversy: This book explains the reason behind the hurt and pain and why forgiveness can sometimes be difficult.
It touches on a few Christian ideologies and connects them to forgiveness. So, this isn’t recommended for someone looking for a more secular approach.
The book also provides a step-by-step process of freeing yourself from your past pain and also how to manage your emotions in the future.
Quotable Quote: “My ability to heal cannot depend on anyone’s choices but my own.”
This great read exemplifies the power of forgiveness and how it not only affects the other person but also yourself.
We need this reminder that there’s still life after the hurt and the trauma. You are still worthy of living despite your pain.
Forgiving is hard, but it’s necessary to release yourself from the shackles of pain in order to move forward.
It takes a lot of strength to forgive someone who’s not even sorry, and this book will teach you how to do it.
Letting go of past traumas will make up room for new experiences that will also be valuable for your own growth.
Lysa TerKeurst opens up a few of her painful memories and how she overcame them. It’s truly inspiring and gives a lot of hope to the reader.
You need to have an open mind, especially when it comes to religious topics since it does bring up the Bible from time to time.
But, if the concept of faith and religion bothers you then better to skip this recommendation.
All in all, this can easily be categorized as one of the best books out there for self-love and healing.
Final thoughts on books that will help you love yourself
And there you have it – a few books that will help you love yourself.
These are some of the best books on self-love and confidence that informed – and continue to inform – the way we understand and practice self-love.
What about you? Do you have any life-changing books that transformed how you looked at yourself?