Wisdom//

11 Self-Help Books That Completely Changed My Life

WARNING: Be prepared to be transformed

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Growing up, I had no clue just how much thoughts of poverty and unworthiness permeated my psyche and those around me. Deep down, I knew that life could be so much better than what I had experienced and, as a result, this inner knowing sent me on a journey of self-exploration. The things that I’ve discovered about life will have a positive impact for generations to come, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Here, I share with you 11 of my favorite books that have had the greatest impact on my personal development in many of the areas of life including spirituality, emotions, finances, and relationships. In fact, I credit these books with having changed my life for the better, and I hope that you’ll explore them for yourself. 
 
 1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne: This book was my first conscious introduction to the Law of Attraction. I use the word conscious because I had practiced this life principle long before I knew what to call it. I saw the documentary that was based on the book when I was a sophomore in college and was so compelled by its timeless message that “thoughts become things” that I must have shared it with every single person that was open to its message at the time. Sure, it’s been criticized for being a simplified approach to a more complex life principle. However, simplicity was the key for me to first: understand the Law of Attraction; second: recognized that I had practiced it unknowingly throughout my life; and third: to instantly put it to work, but this time with clearer intentions. I must say that its simple approach made it easier for me to focus on my goals and have them manifest one by one. From graduating from my dream college, the University of Miami, to getting jobs and internships, and even getting the exact same car that I’d once glued a picture of on my first vision board less than 1 year later… When I recognized how powerful my thoughts really were, it set me on a journey to exploring more about where some of my negative thought patterns had come from, especially if they somehow interfered with me experiencing a life that I knew I deserved.

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2. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay: At a time when my mind was already open to the notion that thoughts become things, I was introduced to this book by my eldest brother, whom I’ve always looked up to for spiritual guidance. Yes, I’ve bought several copies of this title for friends and family in both print and audio versions. This book introduced me to the concept of having self-compassion and empathy. It basically picks up where The Secret leaves off since it offers solutions for improving the quality of one’s thoughts, especially as it pertains to self-image. After all, we teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. We also attract people and things into our lives based on what we think we deserve. Paying attention to self-talk is the best way to assess what you really feel about yourself. This book helped me get to the root cause of those negative thoughts and forgive myself and others so that I could truly heal my life. It offers positive affirmations for reprogramming a negative mindset and touches on metaphysics and the effects that your thoughts can have on your body’s overall health. Two words: Life changing!


3. Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: The title of the book is self-explanatory. But I will admit that brother Napoleon had me second guessing everything I thought I knew about education and the role that it would play in my life. In fact, I wanted to drop out of my sophomore year of college before I could even finish the book, but Sallie Mae already had my name on a few documents so I had to finish (which is a valid point that he makes in the book). This book is like an earlier version of The Secret and You Can Heal Your Life, but it offers more strategies with a business approach. Most entrepreneurs tend to appreciate a book like this. In fact, many well-known businessmen have credited this book with being the reason why they became so successful. It’s definitely left a permanent impression on how I view money and success.

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4. Getting To I Do by Dr. Patricia Allen: This book isn’t quite what its title suggests, but it does offer some tips for both men and women to incorporate into their single, dating, and married lives. It is a MUST READ for those who feel a bit insecure in how to date or interact with the opposite sex (including with parents, friends, etc.) in a way that is healthy and beneficial for both people. I would say that it is heavy in psychology based principles of how men and women (masculine and feminine energies) interact with one another, and how we could interact with much more harmony if we understood our own individual nature. Based on this book alone, I have a completely different outlook on relationships and interacting with the opposite sex. For example, I had no idea that I was wearing what Dr. Pat Allen calls a “masculine mask” in relationships, which helped me understand some of the conflicts I had experienced while dating in my early twenties. This insight alone helped me experience massive shifts in how I interact in relationships. In fact, I plan to do some relationship videos laced with some of the principles I’ve learned from this book to help others put things in perspective. And yes, all of my close girlfriends were gifted or recommended a copy of this book. It’s a GAME CHANGER and sharing is caring!

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5. The Alchemist: The dreamer and believer in me absolutely LOVES this book! It’s a novel about a shepherd boy who goes on a journey to discovering his “personal legend,” which is the equivalent of his life’s purpose. It’s laced with jewels of timeless wisdom on just about every page. And it will definitely have you inspired to take advantage of your time on Earth and pursue your heart’s desires while you have the chance to. It’s one of those books that I feel the need to read every few years just to see how much progress I’ve made towards all that I hope to accomplish in life. Let’s just say it keeps me on my toes and gets me right back on track when life’s circumstances get in the way.

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6. A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson: This book is nothing short of miraculous. When you read it, you can feel the love pouring all over you in the form of understanding, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and just pure… love. Marianne Williamson offers insight into life lessons she’s learned based off of the teachings of A Course In Miracles, which is a Universal approach to Christian-based principles. After reading this book, I felt so connected to everyone on the deepest levels of understanding. I walked away with the understanding that we are more alike beneath the surface than we are different, and that is a beautiful thing.


7. A Course In Miracles: As mentioned above, this is literally a life course. It’s like a companion to the Bible or whatever sacred book your faith is based on. It’s pretty dense, but I promise every time I read a page or practice a lesson, I become more open to life and I feel more grounded, more connected to everyone and everything, and more loved and loving than ever before. Let’s just say you’ll have to experience it for yourself.


8. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz: Talk about getting to the root of almost all of the problems we face as human beings. This book offers four foundational principles that we all should strive to live by, not for religion’s sake, but for our own sanity. Lessons like, never make assumptions or don’t take anything personal can be life altering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, it touches on limiting beliefs and how we can just about rid ourselves of unnecessary suffering and lead our lives with more love, abundance, and happiness.

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9. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell: This book touches on the power of intuition or thinking without thinking. Every day we make decisions, and some are made instinctively, while others are made after a thorough investigation. Many times, the best choices are made with little to no explanation, all because something within us allows us to make snap judgments that need no justification. This book taught me to always trust my intuition. Love it!
 
 10. Science Of Mind by Ernest Holmes: I’m currently reading this one and it’s like another companion to whatever your faith is already. It’s metaphysics at its finest and it really focuses on developing the discipline to create a more harmonious world through our individual thoughts. Its philosophy is based on Christian teachings, but it also draws from virtually every spiritual faith as it teaches readers to guide our thoughts intentionally towards a life of health, wealth, success, love, harmony, and peace. Another feel good read every time you pick it up. It’s enlightening and refreshing, and it gives you a sense of peace and personal power.


11. Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships by Marianne Williamson: Marianne Williamson did it again with this one! For me, this one is so necessary for this generation as we have drifted further away from intimacy in our interactions with those in our lives. It’s a collection of personal essays, prayers, and self-reflection of interactions within relationships. It will have you open to acceptance and being accepted, forgiveness, love, intimacy, and attracting the right mate from the right space. It is ever enchanted and another must read.
 
 There’s much more that I’d love to share with you. There are also so many that I have yet to read. I want to know what books have changed the game for you. Please leave a comment if you’ve read any of these books, and share some of your favorite reads below.
 
 Love,
 
 @BCSTARKS

P.S. — Join my list for inspirational messages that will keep you going throughout the week.

Originally published at bcstarks.com on August 17, 2016.

Originally published at medium.com

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