Not Another Self-Help Book…

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“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

— Lemony Snicket

You will have gathered by now that I am a huge fan of The Self-Help book. None of my friends seem particularly interested in this area – most prefer fiction- but I am all over self-help like..well like a Single Mother in need of some guidance. Most have an autobiographical element to them, and all five mention meditation and journalling at least once.

I sort of feel like I’m almost done with self-help now – I have a big pile of novels and plays to work through –  I’ve got the general messages loud and clear:

Follow your intuition. Trust yourself. Meditate daily to achieve inner peace. Breathe deeply, shallow breathing is harmful. When indecision arises, be still for a moment. Be grateful. Forgive yourself and those that have wronged you. Let go of anger and resentment. Eat well. Move your body. Stop worrying about money, be positive about it instead. Visualise your goals, be brave and believe in yourself. Accept uncertainty. Stop procrastinating and avoid perfectionism. Pray. Smile more at strangers. Do the things you lose yourself in more often, find your flow. Choose your friends wisely. Play nicely. Stop looking for love, it’ll come when the time is right. Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Stop being so hard on yourself. Be compassionate with yourself and others. Live with vision, purpose, faith and gratitude. Love, and accept yourself whilst simultaneously working to grow as a person. 

Not much to remember then. It’s basically a long list of Instagram quotes, but I’m happy I soaked up the life-stories that went with these messages. People tend to have been through some shit before they sit down to write a self-help book. They’ve made the mistakes, they’ve failed and succeeded; they feel qualified to tell their tales and advise others. Well I quite enjoy learning from them.

1.) The Inner Fix by Persia Lawson & Joanne Bradford

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I could not recommend this book more to any twenty-something in need of a little guidance. Which is most.

The message of the book is:

“Focus on the insides, and the outsides will take care of themselves.”

The book is divided into three parts;
The Problem; with chapters on: Fear, Control, Shame, Denial, Resentment
The Solution: Powerless, Higher Power, Hand It Over, Forgive, Grateful
The Future: Body, Work, Money, Friendship, Love

With an anecdotal style, Persia and Joey describe their past self-destructive behaviours, what they’ve learnt and how they came to change. I loved how relatable these women were; I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend over coffee, recounting tales of misbehaviour and things-we-wish-we-hadn’t done. It was well structured and there are tools and exercises to work through at the end of each chapter which I found both helpful and easy to commit to. It’s basically a beginner’s guide to spirituality and staying sane in your twenties.

2.) The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

This compliments The Inner Fix perfectly as it’s all about spirituality and turning fear into faith. It may be a little too Woo-Woo for some, with numerous prayer and meditation exercises. -But I must say I do feel just that little bit clearer and more peaceful after reading it.

3.) You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

I love this book. Apart from maybe Harry Potter, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quicker, I couldn’t put it down. The language is highly entertaining and upbeat; the author is the kind of person I’d love to have as a mentor. It’s a “Feel good about yourself and create a life you love” book. I’s been highlighted and scribbled all over, I would read it again and again.

4.) The Little Book of Peace by Tiddy Rowan

I just think every household should have a copy of this in their homes. It’s a little treasure; wise, calming and truthful. Wisdom from the ages and a handful of well-chosen quotes; I took my time to read this, enjoying each page and trying to let the words sink in, rather than rush through it.

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5.) Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Read my post on this book here. 

“An empowering read, full of empathy, wit and humour, it was comforting reading his story. It was all so real, so honest and raw. He spoke to the teenager in me and helped me accept my experiences as part of being human, not crazy. I didn’t think I’d find a book about depression so liberating…”

“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” — Sherman Alexie

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