Just the words “self help,” may make you squirm. Trusting a stranger’s advice about what will make you happy is certainly questionable. If you’re a self-help skeptic, I encourage you to dabble in these three books. Each of them uplifts and informs, without arrogance. All three have changed my life.
Follow Your North Star by Martha Beck
The one life guru I turn to above all others is Martha Beck. Other people must feel the same way, because she’s wildly popular.
Beck’s fascinating life-story took her from Mormonism to Harvard to raising a son with Down’s Syndrome, to inventing the career of life coach. She’s intelligent, down-to-earth, and above all, authentic.
Beck’s tone sets her apart. She’s not preachy. She’s not lofty. She’s not out of touch with real life; quite the opposite. Beck offers practical advice that’s easy to immediately integrate into daily life. If I have a problem that feels unsolvable, I inevitably Google the problem with Beck’s name attached: “grief Martha Beck,” “forgiveness Martha Beck,” and so forth. The search always leads me to a candid and deeply helpful article that not only makes me feel less alone and gives me action items to improve the situation, but that also makes me laugh at her and at myself. When I read Beck’s work, I feel like she is speaking directly to me.
Of all her articles for O, The Oprah Magazine and of all her books I’ve read, the audiobook Follow Your North Star is the most powerful for me. In it, Beck leads you, the reader, through the process of listening to your inner voice and letting it guide you toward the life you were “meant” to live, a life full of energy and freedom. I’m not sure I would have become a stay-at-home mom had I not listened to this audiobook, and that life decision brings me more joy than I knew was possible. Follow Your North Star is also available on iTunes.
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
Of all the spiritual books I’ve read, New York Times Bestseller The Untethered Soul takes the proverbial cake for putting me in touch with the spiritual side of life. Unlike similar books, it’s not repetitive, and the language is concrete. Singer’s masterful use of metaphor enables the everyday lady like me to truly grasp and wallow in profound concepts about our human existence on this planet. And he even teaches you how to let go of past pain. Wow.
Stand Up For Your Life by Cheryl Richardson
Look past the cheesy cover (sorry, Cheryl), and you’ll find a book full of practical tools and exercises to help you build courage and trust in yourself. In my early 20s, Stand Up for Your Life boosted my self-confidence as I entered the workforce and became a “real adult.” I haven’t cracked it open in years, but I think back to its key tenets often: how to view “negative” life experiences in a constructive way, when and how to speak up for yourself, how to silence defeating thoughts, and how to resist shying away from your own greatness. Richardson is a self-help rockstar.
If you find yourself wandering to the self-help section at Barnes and Noble, don’t be embarrassed, my friend. There’s no reason to be ashamed of improving one’s self. Or, if you are too embarrassed, just order them on Amazon.Google+