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18 Books That Shine a Light on Self-Worth

best self worth books

Your self-worth is the value and importance you place on yourself and your own opinions. These feelings and thoughts about yourself form during early childhood. They’re shaped by a variety of internal and external factors, like your family life, culture, religion, and messages seen in the media.

The value we assign ourselves has the power to affect the way we live our lives, from the opportunities we pursue to the company we keep. This can create problems for those with a low or negative self-worth. But the good news is that you can change that negative conversation in your head.

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These books help you to shine a light on your self-worth and how to strike a healthy balance.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

rising strong

Social scientist Brené Brown believes that in order to be brave, we have to be vulnerable. Opening yourself up means the possibility of failing and falling. “Rising Strong” takes a look at what successful people have in common — they’re able to experience their negative emotions and setbacks, and get back up again. Brown analyzes this and puts it into terms we can all understand and learn from.

Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results

mini habits

Want a good habit to stick? The author of “Mini Habits” says to start small. Stephen Guise explains how his mini habit — committing to doing at least one push-up every day — led him to a larger goal of getting in shape. Learn the logic and science behind mini habits and how they can help you keep moving forward even when you feel depressed or stuck.

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Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

presence

Stressful situations can cause us to act out of fear, leading later to feelings of powerlessness or regret. Harvard professor Amy Cuddy believes the way to take control of these situations is to achieve ‘presence.’ Her book “Presence” recounts personal stories with examples of how people took control of moments that used to cause them stress and panic. She also outlines how you can apply the technique of ‘presence’ to your own life.

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

untethered soul

The Untethered Soul” explores our notion of self, and how consciousness plays a big role in our identity. It’s divided into five parts, with each examining a different theme relating to the exploration of self and how we fit into the universe. The book doesn’t have any specific religious leanings, focusing more on spirituality. Author and spiritual teacher Michael Singer keeps things light, using exercises to help you understand his ideas.

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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

four agreements

In “The Four Agreements,” author Don Miguel Ruiz explains where self-limiting beliefs come from, based on wisdom from his Toltec ancestors. Ruiz outlines and examines each of the four agreements and explains how they apply and why they help. The book reads as if you’re learning from a traditional healer.

Falling in Love with Where You Are: A Year of Prose and Poetry on Radically Opening Up to the Pain and Joy of Life

falling in love

Life gets messy and sometimes we find ourselves in unexpected places. “Falling in Love with Where You Are” is about accepting the here and now and being OK with it. Mixing poetry and prose, author Jeff Foster uses words to help readers find comfort in a current situation, even if it’s difficult. Because it’s a part of your story.

How to Love

How to Love

This book may be pocket-sized, but it tackles a big emotion — love. “How to Love” breaks love into four key ideas that represent the emotion. The author then explains in different contexts and relationships, and how love helps us feel more connected. There are also love-based meditation exercises that can be done alone or with a partner.

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Full Catastrophe Living

There’s a powerful connection between mind and body. “Full Catastrophe Living” teaches you how to use mindfulness through yoga and meditation to ease stress, pain, and illness. This second edition also features results from scientific studies examining mindfulness.

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

The Better Angels of Our Nature

Rather than examining the individual sense of self, author Steven Pinker takes a look at humans as a whole. “The Better Angels of Our Nature” explains that, despite our current 24-hour news cycle, there’s actually been a decline in violence among our species as a whole. He uses history and psychology to paint a picture of a modern world that’s more enlightened than we may think.

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Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe

Not sure which path the universe wants you to take? Let “Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe” be your guide on a journey of self-discovery. Illustrations combined with written instructions are designed to expand your understanding of self and help you find your place in the universe.

The Alchemist

Alchemist

The Alchemist” explores self-discovery through its main character, a shepherd boy who sets off on a journey in search of treasure. His travels lead him to a different discovery, one that’s more introspective and spiritual. Through Santiago, the author teaches us the value of listening to your heart and the importance of following your dreams.

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project” is one woman’s story of making the decision to take happiness into her own hands. After having an epiphany about life and the time we all have here, Gretchen Rubin began her happiness project. The book follows her as she tries a variety of tactics, from techniques backed by scientific research to lessons learned in pop culture. All in the pursuit of a happier life. The new edition also includes an interview with the author.

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The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Author Mitch Albom offers a very different take on heaven in “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” Instead of eternal peace, his protagonist — an 83-year-old war veteran named Eddie — is met with five characters who analyze the meaning of his earthly life while he’s in heaven. The story is meant to make the reader think, perhaps challenging conventional views on life and the afterlife.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

In her new book, Elizabeth Gilbert, the same author who brought us “Eat Pray Love,” encourages you to embrace your creativity to do what you love without fear. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, make art, or live more creatively, “Big Magic” serves to remind you that these things are possible. Through her writing, Gilbert leads you on a journey that will hopefully lead to a discovery of your own hidden jewels.

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Tiny Beautiful Things

Thousands of people have written Cheryl Strayed for advice. In “Tiny Beautiful Things,” the online columnist at The Rumpus reveals her identity and shares the best-of collection from Dear Sugar. The book also includes material that didn’t make it into the column.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

You Are a Badass

"You Are a Badass" is a self-help book written to help you kick ass at life. Jen Sincero, author and success coach, combines stories, advice, and exercises in a book designed to help you make positive changes in behavior. Learn how to live in the moment and work toward goals that bring you closer to the life you want.

The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith

The Universe Has Your Back

Many things in life are beyond our control. “The Universe Has Your Back” wants you to release the need to control everything and have faith that things will work out the way they’re supposed to. In a series of stories, author Gabrielle Bernstein presents lessons on how to give up control and embrace happiness, security, and clear direction.

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Adventures for Your Soul: 21 Ways to Transform Your Habits and Reach Your Full Potential

Adventures for your soul

The way we view ourselves and our situations often frame our outlook on life. “Adventures for Your Soul” invites you to examine things from a different perspective. Author Shannon Kaiser uses her own experience of transformation to provide a guide to help empower others to achieve goals and break free from self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors.

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