A couple of years ago I began to avidly read self-help/motivational-type books. This was on the heels of changing the radio stations I listened to (at first it was while my kids were in the car, now it's all the time....I cannot believe the crap that gets put into the airwaves), then I began to get choosier when it came to what I watched on t.v. and at movie theaters.

Through this transition I have read A LOT of books on improving the way I look at myself and the way I engage in day-to-day life.  The picture above is just a tiny sample of what I have ingested over the past few years.

In fact, I like reading books that help me understand myself and the world around me better so much that last year I started a book discussion group which met bimonthly at a local yoga studio. We took a summer hiatus,  but I am excited to say we'll be starting up again come September!  

One of the main reasons I began to work at filling myself with information and insight into a more positive point of view is because there is so much negative soaking into all the crevices of our daily life.  

Essentially, I made a conscious decision to work at practicing being less of what everybody else thinks I should be, and more of what God actually created me to be.  

It isn't always easy, and (honestly) it can  be lonely at times.  But the result of these changes has led me to feel more comfortable in my skin and in the relationships I have with my family and friends.  The isolation I sometimes feel is minimal compared to the benefit of being part of a growing number of people who want to "be the change they wish to see".

So, in case you (like me) want to work at becoming the most authentic version of yourself, I have put together a list of my favorite books which have really opened my eyes and heart.

Personal Improvement:

  1.  Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW (and anything else she's written).
  2. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (as well as The Power of Now).
  3. The Dance of Connection (also The Dance of Fear and of Anger) Harriet Lerner, PhD
  4. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (great read for those who love sarcasm).
  5. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Parenting Improvement:  (Which, I have learned, is way more about ME than about my KIDS).

  1. The Conscious Parent & Out of Control by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
  2. Living What You Want Your Kids to Learn by Cathy Cassani Adams
  3. The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Dr. Meg Meeker (all her books are super!).
  4. Bringing up Girls (there is a boy version too) by Dr. James Dobson
  5. How to Really Love Your Child by D. Ross Campbell, MD

There are many others worth mentioning, but these ten books have had the greatest impact on who I am today.  

Some of the other things I have done over the past few years to disperse the negative energy permeating our culture include; listening to podcasts like Zen Parenting Radio, and those of a terrific priest by the name of Father Mike Schmitz from Minnesota (thanks Allen-Michael for sharing him with me!).  In addition I have been spending more time in prayer, asking God to help me stay on track toward living out my life's unique purpose.

What are the names of the books that inspire you?  I'm always looking for new titles!  

Here's to never forgetting we can turn the page on past troubles, and look forward to a purposeful ending!  

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