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The 6 Best Self-Help Books for Personal Growth

July 24, 2022

woman sitting on a rock facing the lake and mountains with her black hat on backwards and arms reaching up in triumph

The ONLY way I have time to read!

Your Path to Personal Development With Self-help books

When I entered adulthood I had literally no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have role models that I wanted to be like and I didn’t know where to find them. All I knew is that there seemed to be women out there in the world who were confident, connected and really good at self acceptance. 

I struggled with poor self esteem, negative thoughts, resentment, perfectionism, people pleasing, a severe lack of boundaries and just generally struggled to know who I was or how to find out. After growing up in a volatile home, I knew I wanted a different life but didn’t know how to get there. 

Reading was the thing that opened the door to me finding out who I was, what I valued, that I was VALUABLE, and how to start acting like I believed it. 

It’s truly beautiful to witness and be a part of the current movement of self-discovery, self-help and personal development, particularly with respect to motherhood. We’re breaking cycles, barriers and some of the perceived rules of motherhood and I’m SO proud of us.

There are many avenues to educate and uplift ourselves and sometimes that can become overwhelming, so I’m sharing these 6 books on personal development to add some simplicity to your journey. 

Finding the right book can be overwhelming since the self-help section at your local bookstore has literally hundreds of options, making it hard to determine what might work for you and what authors ‘click’ with your personality.

@diaryofanhonestmom Happy International Self Care Day #selfcare #motherhood #thehonestmom #honestmom #Mentalhealth #momtruth #careforyourself #selflove #youmatter #momsmatter ♬ original sound – The Honest Mom

Self-Help Books DO Help

When I’m not creating relatable TikToks and Instagram Reels you can most definitely find me listening to an audiobook while I clean or walk or drive or do anything. I struggle to sit down and read, but audiobooks are an incredible way for me to digest books!

As someone who’s deep in the trenches of breaking the cycles of generational trauma, I’ve done a lot of “self help” reading over the years.  I whole-heartedly recommend these 6 books by some of my most favourite and celebrated authors because of their immense contribution to my own personal development and growth.

Some of these books are a big part of the reason I create content online so boldly today. They have shaped me in so many amazing ways. 

They have also played a role in me writing my own guided journal for struggling moms. It too, has helped change my life. 

Support Your Personal Healing Journey with these Self-Help Books

As promised, here are my top 6 book recommendations for personal development. I’ve written a little blurb on each of them to make it easier for you to decide which one would be best for you to start with based on your individual situation.

You’ve probably heard about one/all of these well-known book titles, but I’m excited to introduce you to them with some quick and helpful words on HOW they can actually help you. 

Let’s dive in!

Also read3 Benefits of Journal Prompts for Mental Health

1. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission.” Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness

Did that quote pierce straight through to the little-girl version of yourself?

As a kid walking through the hallways of middle school on your way to class, to a full-grown adult attending a business meeting – we have all been there, eyes darting around, searching to see how we compare, how we stand up to the rest of them; wanting to fit in comes naturally, after all. 

In her book ‘Braving the Wilderness’, Brene Brown teaches us to give ourselves permission to BE ourselves instead of always trying to fit in.

In her 4-step process, she guides you through the importance of authenticity, bravery, trust and vulnerability to a place, or wilderness, where you are able to welcome the fact that the greatest sense of belonging, and the most important, is the belonging to yourself. 

Discovering this will allow you to live more genuinely and find groups of like minded people.

It’s not an easy mountain to climb, but the view from the top is unparalleled.

2. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

“The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me. I quit spending my life trying to control myself and began to trust myself.” Glennon Doyle, Untamed

I talk about this a LOT when I share on socials, specifically surrounding motherhood and how it is HARD. You are doing HARD things; life is hard and there is nothing wrong with you. Kind of like the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ scenario where it’s not you, it’s motherhood.

That’s the exact sentiment of Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed. Doyle will take you through her journey of awakening and how she came to her realizations and eventually the freeing of herself. 

This book is for you if you feel like your authentic self has been held captive by societal expectations and you are ready to break free.

3. Atomic Habits by James Clearor Trauma Healing and Cycle Breaking

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” James Clear, Atomic Habits

What I love about the perspective offered in Atomic Habits is that you don’t need to make a monumental change in your life all at once to be making a difference. In fact, it’s all of the little things that make the biggest difference in who you are.

In this book, James Clear will show you easy and fun ways to create and implement good habits in your life and get rid of the bad behaviours.

Going cold-turkey and dramatic modifications that often end with you feeling like a failure when they don’t work out are OUT, and crafting small, positive, habitual routines in your life over time are IN – grab this book to start making these little but impactful transformations in your life today.

4. Becoming by Michelle Obama

“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll quickly and inaccurately be defined by others.” Michelle Obama, Becoming

This deeply personal story is a true reflection of the strength, vision and courage of Michelle Obama. She has done so much good in this world with these attributes, and writing this memoir to share her experience and offer advice has been a true gift.

In her memoir ‘Becoming’, Michelle tells us the story of her life as a little girl, young adult, first lady, and beyond. She highlights how the teachings of her parents, to be authentic and stand up for herself and what she believes in, brought her to where she is today – living her life with a greater purpose.

She illustrates how you, too, can do great things, things that are important to you. She encourages you to embody the person you truly are with dedication, hard work, and a belief in yourself. The hard part is to push past the naysayers and curve-balls life tends to throw, but it’s worth it. 

YOU are worth it.

5. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” Brene Brown, Gifts of Imperfection

Who wants to love the dark, shameful parts of themselves? Brene says we all should and that by doing so, we can only then step into and own our story. 

We are all familiar with the term ‘Instagram vs Reality’. Brene’s book shows us how to live and embrace the reality part, and throw the fake perceptions we bestow upon others, the ‘Instagram’ part, in the trash.

Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown will take you through 10 parts of your life that you need to let go of in order to live wholeheartedly. She will enlighten you to the importance of vulnerability and how being vulnerable will give way to beautiful and meaningful connection with yourself and with others. One of the best reminders in this book:  Making these changes is an on-going process, not a milestone to achieve.

6. Fierce Free and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker

“It takes a while to figure ourselves out, that’s all. If you are young in this, keep going. If you are further along, don’t be afraid to challenge an old paradigm when new internal evidence presents itself to the contrary.” Jen Hatmaker, Fierce, Free and Full of Fire

Jen Hatmaker’s latest book ‘Fierce, Free and Full of Fire is pretty much the cheerleader you’ve been waiting for to just fill you with an immense sense of strength and belief that you are EXACTLY who you need to be. There’s no need to hold back, shrink yourself, or worry about what anyone else thinks of you because God loves you, and YOU love you. And that’s enough.

Hatmaker will also get you out of your comfort zone when she encourages you to challenge your current belief systems and truths you’ve previously accepted when new information and gut feelings are telling you otherwise.  

She simultaneously shares her own struggles and how she has overcome them while giving advice that will inspire you to unleash your truths – advice that is backed-up with factual evidence from experts in various fields; and all in a very relatable way. Kind of like a conversation with a friend.

Her words will hurl you into a state of being where you feel there is no other option but to be the person you want to be with so much conviction – to be fierce, free and full of fire.

Start Reading Self-Help Books to Keep Growing

These 6 books are clever, life-altering works of genius. 

I’m undeniably moved by the words that grace these pages and the authors that were brave enough to share them with all of us.

Moving out of our stagnant complacency, stepping into our authenticity and accepting all parts of ourselves is easier said than done, but as these authors tell us through their stories, trial and error and experiences, it’s key to live the life we are longing for. I love that we can address hard things while also embracing life and fun at its fullest. 

Particularly for moms, books like these prove:

  • It’s ok to want more
  • It’s ok to work toward our dreams, even when that means dedicating a little less of ourselves to our families
  • Mom-guilt be gone – we deserve to get out there and do things that bring us joy

It’s actually more than ok; it’s necessary.

These books are a great resource for life and can translate to all areas we are struggling with, and parenting is no exception. To be a better parent, we first need to better ourselves. 

Right? Let’s do it. Together. Let’s keep this movement of self-discovery going and change what we’ve been told motherhood should be for future generations. 

Like I said before, I would absolutely love to hear where you’re at in your journey and how one or more of these titles I’ve shared with you has given you the perspective you needed to take you another step further in sharing your light to the world.

I’d love for you to join my Honest Mom’s Circle so I can let you know when I post a new blog, like this one, and all other goings on with @diaryofanhonestmom

Thanks for being here and I hope that simply reading my blog has shifted your perspective and curiosity just a little. Have a great day!

- Libby

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