My 5 favorite books to help you "find yourself" again and again and again
Updated: Nov 29, 2019
I shared in a previous blog how I have been on a lost/wandering/finding journey for a while now. And I shared the picture below of my nightstand. Books were just a part of the examining, along with counselors (more than one), retreats, isolation (which I don't recommend) and brave conversations with loved ones (which I do recommend).
When we're struggling in something, we typically don't dare share the pain of the moment with anyone, for various reasons. And then we wonder why we feel alone. And then you find a book that speaks to you, and it's so encouraging to think you're not crazy. And then you think..."hey, what I'm going through is a thing because someone else actually wrote a book about it!"
So I wanted to share a handful of books that have been tremendously helpful to me, as I try to find and develop what is genuinely me. And I have found that as I get stronger in that arena, it actually helps in my other struggles and situations, like work, friendships, marriage, church, leisure, etc.
I frequently say this book is my second Bible. It describes and explains the trap so many of us fall into as we try to "love" and "help" the other people in our lives, and we end up losing ourselves. The authors offer practical and tangible ways to address defining what is your responsibility and what is NOT!
I can honestly say this was the first book that was a mind-blowing experience for me! I had never heard dialogue and insights and personal challenges like this...ever! A friend loaned me this book around 1994 (so the image is of it's original cover), and I never returned the book. I can reread it and get new insights every time.
"To acquire happiness you don't have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don't you experience it? Because you've got to drop something. You've got to drop illusions."
Whether you believe in the concept of positive psychology or not, the tools outlined in this book are practical and practicable in every day situations, no matter how big or small. It begins by challenging the paradigm of "I'll be happy when...."; success by accomplishment keeping the bar of happiness constantly moving and always just out of reach. Achor encourages the reader to flip the bar and measurement where the anchor to happiness comes from within, making success the natural outcome and more achievable.
Oh to be able to tell those critics to SHUT IT! Beginning with an empowering quote from Theodore Roosevelt, the theme of this book is to give credit to you as the person showing up in the arena of your life, not to the critics (including inner critics) that sometimes keep us small. Brown's research on vulnerability shows being vulnerable is not weakness, but quite the opposite. It is the bravest risk one can take to show up and be seen in your own life. Make the time to take this read and dare greatly. It's why I started to develop my counseling practice around this work. And a good segue book for after you dare, is "Rising Strong", also by Brene´Brown. Because when you dare to show up, expect to fall. This book empowers the getting-back-up process.
How can you esteem something or someone positively that you don't know intimately? I believe an integral key to developing positive esteem for yourself is to know yourself, and know you well! Assessments like this are a good place to start; Myers Briggs, DiSC Profile, Colors, etc. I like the theory of the temperaments (sanguine, melancholy, choleric, and phlegmatic). This book offers a Personality Profile test that reveals how your unique blend of traits affects your emotions, work performance, and relationships. Then read about the others in your life and gain even more insight to better those relationships. (PS. I do temperament counseling in my office. Very enlightening.)
Man, this little powerhouse nugget of a book can take you baby step by baby step of walking through walls you might not realize you have built. You can use it as a daily devotional, meditation, prayer piece, because the "chapters" are small, manageable contained info packs that get you thinking on things like habits, listening, boredom, loneliness. But then Kelly makes a one-statement Key Point, followed by a one-statement action step that could cure any paralysis by analysis!
What are some books that spoke to you? I'd love to hear about them and I look forward to getting to know you too!