“We read to know that we are not alone.” ― William Nicholson
I don’t remember exactly when I developed a love for reading, but my passion for books has endured for several years. Nowadays it’s not uncommon to find a book in my purse or find me losing myself in the pages of a great fiction novel, my favorite genre of personal development or deepening my spiritual practice with a book from that niche.
My tell-tale sign of an awesome book is one that I can return to again and again for inspiration, comfort or to uplift my spirits. There is something about getting caught up in the written word that makes me feel at peace and it appears that I’m not the only one that feels this way. Research conducted by the University of Sussex, showed that even six minutes of reading can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two thirds, so it’s not just good for your heart, it’s great for your health.
I used to believe that if I took a day off to get a manicure that I should get a gold star for taking care of myself. But I’ve learned over time that no amount of gifts to yourself can count as self care if you still struggle with trying to be perfect, disrespecting your body or struggling with self-love
Over the years, I’ve gathered a cherished set of books that have enlightened my definition of self-care and have become trusted guides that offer words of encouragement and a great read. Here are a few of my favorite self-development books that I hope inspire your own self loving practice.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Dr. Brene Brown
One of my all-time favorite books and one that I return to again and again. I view The Gifts of Imperfection as a manifesto for breaking free of trying to conform to ‘what you think should be’ and recognize that ‘who you are is enough’. The book uses honest storytelling and Dr. Brown’s research to discuss powerful topics such as shame, vulnerability, self-compassion and gratitude. Each chapter offers advice on how you can learn to DIG Deep in your life to get Deliberate with your thoughts and behaviour, be Inspired to make new and different choices and get Going by taking action.
I love the book so much that I even took the online course based on this book last year. I highly recommend this book as a guidepost to your journey to a wholehearted life.
A Return to Love – Marianne Williamson
This quote says it all:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
A Return to Love inspired me to begin exploring A Course in Miracles and is one of my greatest teachers on how to re-linquish fear and choose love instead.
Self-Care for Life – Skye Alexander, Meera Lester, Carolyn Dean
Self-Care for Life provides a year’s worth of practical tools and inspiration to help you nurture and nourish your mind, body and spirit. If self-care is typically an after-thought instead of a priority, this book offers daily wisdom designed to help you transform your life moment to moment.
Each day provides an inspirational quote and a wellness tip for the mind, a nutrition or fitness tip for your body and spiritual wisdom.
The Emotional Eating Plan for Smart Busy Women – Dr. Melissa McCreery
If you’ve ever struggled through the shame of emotional eating, diets and willpower are not the answer. Dr. Melissa McCreery’s book offers encouraging advice and a day-by-day rescue plan designed specifically for high-performing, busy women who are ready to take control of their self-care. I had the honor of interviewing Melissa about her book which you can check out here.
I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making the Journey from “What will people think?” to “I am Enough” – Dr. Brene Brown
Based on seven years of interviews and Dr. Brene Brown’s groundbreaking research, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) dives into the silent epidemic of Shame and how courage, empathy and compassion are the key to resiliency. The key message of this book is – You are not alone. If you’re ready to stop shrinking and start shining, this is another must read.
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
If you struggle with self-limiting beliefs, the Four Agreements offers 4 powerful lessons to end your suffering. My favorite agreement and the one that I admittedly still struggle with sometimes is ‘Don’t take anything personally’. Ruiz explains this agreement by saying ‘Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering”
One Minute Mindfulness – Donald Altman
One-Minute Mindfulness offers 50 simple ways to feel more connected, change unhealthy habits and savor routine tasks. If sitting down to meditate for 30 minutes is not your style but you still crave to feel more at peace during the day, this book is focused on finding the peace in the midst of chaos with simple challenges you can start today. Self-Care is a moment to moment practice so use this book to take a minute to get off autopilot and focus on you.
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
A powerful book about the importance of not lingering in the past, The Power of Now asks us to be more present everyday life, to see if we can make every moment mean something. Here are a few great lessons from the book:
Pleasure cannot be found in the outside world. What brings you external pleasure today may bring you sorrow tomorrow. True joy can be found only within. True love is not the duality of joy and pain. Pain cannot come from love.
We are not our thoughts; our thoughts are not who we are. Yet we tend to associate ourselves with our thoughts… This is a common error. To equate our thinking with our Being, is to live in a separation.
Happiness will come through you, not through other people. Do not wait for others, as you may wait forever.
:: Over to You ::
What are you favorite spiritual and self-development books? Share in the comments belowRead More »
According to urban legend, (also known as a quick google search) actor Charlie Chapman wrote a poem on his 70th birthday that chronicles his self-love journey entitled ‘As I Began to Love Myself’.
Is is an inspiring piece that takes the reader on a journey of how our own life lessons shape our wisdom. I’ve come across a few articles that attribute the poem to other authors so I’m not sure if Chaplin wrote it or not, but either way the work speaks for itself and the lessons hold true. Here is the full poem:
As I Began To Love Myself
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it“RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things Ilove to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.
Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!
What are your biggest self-love lessons? You can journal your own reflection or use the poem as a guide. Check out the template below:
Today I call it ________________________
Here’s a glimpse into the poem I’ve been creating for myself:
As I began to love myself I realized that the greatest gift that I can give myself is the willingness to change my mind. No matter what hurt I’ve experienced or negative words that I’ve said to myself I have the power to believe that something else is possible. Today I call this a MIRACLE.
As I began to love myself I recognized that greatness is contagious! As I discover the light and greatness within myself it is my duty to help others discover this within themselves. Today I call this SERVICE.
Create your own ‘As I Began to Love Myself’ poem! Think of what you’ve learned about yourself over the years. You can use the template provided above or create your own. Join me in the comments to share your poem!
“You don’t need to know how to dance, to have fun!”
This was the enthuastic declaration from the stunning former Pageant contestant and now budding Fitness guru Yendi Phillipps when I asked her about her new fitness program In the Dance Fitness Jamaica. I had the pleasure of meeting the talented and charismatic dance Pro during her media promotional tour for the DVD.
The former Miss Jamaica World, Miss Jamaica Universe, Dancer and Mother of 1 (yes she’s a mama!) developed In The Dance Fitness Jamaica as a way to share her workout secrets along with Jamaica’s rich and magnetic dance culture with the world.
Dancing since she was 3 years old, Yendi’s love of dance took her around the world where she studied and performed various forms of dance including Modern, Jazz, African, Jamaican Folklore and Popular Dance. Her passion for dance has gotten her in the best shape of her life without ever picking up a weight and doing it while having fun!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Yendi after I got my whine on in her class. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the Alvin Ailey Dance School won’t be knocking on my door anytime soon but I held my own taking Yendi’s class. She’s an awesome instructor, hilarious (no really she had us laughing the entire time) and her program In the Dance Fitness will definitely make you feel great. Check out my video Q&A with the lovely Yendi below
Feeling ready to get your whine on? To my friends in Canada, head on over to your local Walmart to get your copy of In the Dance Fitness Jamaica. To learn more about Yendi and connect with her check out the links below. Thank you to her management team and Tika Simone for the invitation to the event!
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IAMYENDIRead More »
Did you know that February 13 is Madly In Love with Me Day?
Created by Author and Self-Love Catalyst Christine Arylo, the International Day of Self-Love was created to raise the awareness of self-love among women and girls around the world.
I recently had the honor of sitting down with Christine and 10 amazing and inspiring Self-Love Advocates for my free course Self-Love Academy. Even though I designed the Academy to be a 10 day experience, self-love truly doesn’t have an end-date.
In the face of fear, regret, guilt or shame we can choose to look beyond these emotions and choose to see the good in ourselves. During Self-Love Academy, I created special Love Mantras with the hope of inspiring and reminding participants of the power that lies within ourselves. Here are 11 ‘Amen Worthy’ Mantras to breakthrough your fears, boost your confidence and accept who you are:
#1: Self Love is a Choice. Today I choose to Love Myself and recognize that I have gifts to offer the world.
#2: I am committed to doing the work to unleash the best within me
#3: Nobody benefits from my exhaustion (BUT) everyone benefits from my happiness
#4: Saying no is one of the most powerful things that I can do for myself
#5: I am Beautiful, Confident and Smart.
#6: Today I choose to honor my beauty, my strength and my uniqueness
#7: I love myself enough to take the actions required for my happiness
#8: I deserve only loving and respectful relationships
#9: I am incomparable! There is nothing or no one to compare or compete with
#10: The antidote to fear is action
#11: It is better to give AND receive
Did you miss the live run-thorough of Self-Love Academy? Well not to worry because I’m keeping the course and virtual community open! Best of all it’s FREE!
Subscribe below or Visit www.selflove-academy.com to receive VIP access to the inspiring lessons and the heads up on the additional classes I’ll be hosting soonRead More »