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  • 5 Books to Read to Improve Self-esteem

    Reading is one of the best ways to get in and out of your head at the same time. A question I am commonly asked by clients, colleagues, and friends is “What can I read to feel better about myself?” Of course, there are TONS of books out there, and this short list hardly skims the surface of info out there, but I have narrowed it down to books I truly feel can make a difference in how YOU feel about yourself.

    Before we get into the titles, let’s talk a little bit about self-esteem, and WHY so many people struggle so much with confidence, self-worth, and well…overall feeling good about themselves. Often, we were not taught to love ourselves. This informs the view we have of ourselves as adults.

    So when you ask yourself, “Why don’t I feel good about myself,” what you’re really asking is “What message was I not receiving while growing up?”

    Confidence is not something you are born with. It’s something you learn. Think about how your parents talked about themselves around you.

    *If a parent was hyper-focused on looks, you likely absorbed a lot of that energy.

    *If a parent was adamant about acting “proper” in front of others, this may help explain your inability to be vulnerable in relationships.

    *If your parent obsessed over the smallest (insignificant) thing, you probably repeat a lot of that in your inner monologue with yourself.

    Of course, this does not mean you have to abandon all of those relationships, or that your parents were necessarily bad people. On the whole, people tend to do the best that they can given the circumstances they are in.

    BUT this does mean is that we have to look inward, listen to ourselves more, and change the way we view the world.

    The following books are a great way to start exploring your inner world:

    · Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima: This book was really empowering. Jamie tells her story of failure after failure after failure before her company It Cosmetics became a success. She shares her vulnerabilities and struggles and how she kept going despite it all. I’d recommend this to anyone who is questioning whether they are good enough or whether their efforts are worth It (no pun intended). It’s filled with positive self-talk messages (and I’m all about that).

    · Happiness is the Way by Wayne Dyer: The late Wayne Dyer is one of my favorite authors of ALL time. This specific book looks at every negative tendency you may have and shows you how YOU can take back control. It also has great exercises and journal prompts at the end of each chapter which gives you an opportunity to practice.

    · Untamed by Glennon Doyle: Glennon is incredibly talented at putting into perspective how women look at themselves, and how that must change. Through her writing, she dives into the most intimate moments of her life and gives empowering, honest lessons on how to take ownership of yourself. I would recommend this to anyone who is questioning whether they are living a truly authentic life.

    · What I Know for Sure by Oprah: I remember reading this book while on vacation, and taking it everywhere I go because I needed to let the words sink in. Oprah shares such important messages in this novel, that you simply cannot walk away from it thinking “that was ok.” This book will teach you to let go and let love in, and that will change the way you see yourself. This will help you assess what is “worth” getting upset over, and how to navigate difficult times.

    · The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer: This is one of those books you have to read and re-read in order for it to sink in. If you are looking for a book that you will dog-ear and highlight—this is it. When it comes to self-esteem and self-worth, a huge portion is about getting out of your own way, and this is exactly what you will get out of this book.

    Working on your self-esteem is no easy feat. I hope this short list is helpful in starting your journey to a newer, more empowered self.

    If you are interested in taking your journey a step further and adding therapy to your self-care, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or via text/call 917.524.7663.


    Yana Kofman, LMHC