There are a number of ‘self help’ books out there to help you understand and reconnect with yourself. Each write from a different angle, whether it be from a psychological or spiritual angle, but all have a common goal that is to help you accept yourself, overcome your fears, become more confident, fall in love with yourself and increase self awareness.
I have read my fair share of self help books and this article is about the 3 books that I, and friends of whom recommended each book to me, have found the most beneficial.
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
This is not your typical self help book as it is based on a fictional character and his adventures that support his psychological and spiritual awakening, as he searches for nine spiritual ‘insights’ hidden in Peru, South America. The narrative is in the form of a parable, as the author writes primarily to ensure the reader can easily pick up the message or the lesson he aims to teach. The simplicity of the story enabled me to connect with the lessons without becoming overly identified with the plot or the characters identity.
- That there is a mass spiritual awakening taking place and that those involved in the awakening experience their lives as a ‘spiritual unfolding’ and are led by ‘mysterious coincidences’
- Awakening to life coincidences open us up to what life is about on this planet and ‘real nature’ of the universe
- All humans need energy which is gained from others through the attention they give us. We use a number of tactics to obtain this attention, but this can cause conflict. In order to feel continually energised we need to connect to the ‘divine energy’. This connection is measured by the feeling of love and lightness
- The more we remain connected the more we can understand what it is that causes us to lose connection, such as stress. We also become self aware to include the tactics we use to obtain energy from others
- The main aim is to become spiritually and mentally aware, helping others to do the same so that we can spiritually evolve
The main message here is about looking out for coincidences, identified as synchronicities by the Swiss Analytical Psychologist, Carl Jung. These coincidences are there to guide us through life providing us with opportunity after opportunity to help us reach our goal or life mission. It is also about becoming aware and clearing the tactics or dramas we use to obtain energy. An example is what the book describes as an ‘aloof drama’ where people who adopt this, hold back information about themselves in a bid to create an air of mystery and intrigue resulting in drawing people towards them and gaining their attention this way. I did this! Another example is the “interrogator”, where people who adopt this drama work to break down the spirit by continually questioning your actions. Your reaction to them by continually trying to prove yourself to them sends them energy.
This book is great for providing insight around the psychology of human behaviour, with the dramas discussed linking very closely to transactional analysis and the book “The Games People Play”, by Eric De Berne. It helped me became more aware of the ‘coincidences’ in my life, and I live by them now. They have always worked out for me!
There is an interesting Experiential Guide that can accompany the book which provides exercises on each of the nine insights to see how they manifest in your life currently.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Artist’s Way is a self help book for anyone that deems themselves as a creative person, but for whatever reason is not actually out there creating! It is a work book with exercises spanning 12 weeks. The writer, Julia Cameron advises that with regular adherence to the exercises, the budding creator within you will be suitably nourished and enthused to enable you to write, draw, dance, sing, act or whatever your creative expression may be.
There are a number of exercises to be undertaken each week and include:
- Writing morning pages – this is where you write three pages of whatever comes to your mind each morning and should not necessarily be treated as a diary entry. It is literally a brain dump.
- Taking yourself on an artist’s date – this is where you take a day or a couple of hour out each week taking yourself on a date to wherever you want to go, doing whatever you want to do.
- Repeating affirmations – to remove the niggling self doubt about your ability or inability to be a good artist.
…and more. I have yet to complete the book, but I have found the morning pages and the artist’s date very beneficial and nurturing. I will tell you how I came across the book though. I went to India in 2010 and a woman – now a good friend – I met there, who happened to work just round the corner from my sister, told me about the Artist’s Way after I told her I wanted to write. On returning to London, a few months later some friends asked me to house sit whilst they travelled abroad which I did. Whilst staying at there I had a nose at their bookshelf and lo and behold there was the book waiting for me. Talk about coincidence!
This book is great for all aspiring artists and will help motivate you into unlocking ‘your latent creativity and making your dreams a reality’
Wild Love by Gill Edwards
This book is spiritual based and talks about what love really is all about; it is unconditional, free and has no expectations. The author talks about her experiences in discovering that life is about enjoyment and being yourself rather than trying to be good and living up to the expectations of friends, family and society. It is only by being true to yourself instead of trying to be good that you can ever really truly be happy.
- A judging God where we believe we should sacrifice our authenticity by seeking approval, conforming and believing we will only be loved if we are ‘good’ – this is a false way of connecting with others.
- An abandoning God where you distance yourself, retreat or disengage as a defence against the ‘fear of abandonment’ or to ‘punish others’ – this is a false way of asserting ones individuality.
- Then there is the unconditional loving God that is both immanent and transcendent, and by recognising and connecting with this God from within we can connect with others and maintain and develop our individuality.
The book also covers many other topics with the main theme being to present the fact that we need to give up our old ways of relating and archaic ideas of God and to align ourselves with ‘Source’ energy or God that loves unconditionally.
This book is good for helping you break out of old patterns of relating with people or if relationships are not satisfactory. It aloso helps you recognise that in order for you to be truly happy it has to begin from within and that you can only achieve that if you are true to yourself.
“With any book that I read, I take what resonates with me at the time of reading and I leave the rest, and I would suggest for any readers to do the same. Everyone has their own perspective on how life should be lived but only you really know what feels right for you. I’ve experienced several different healing methodologies over the years – counselling, self-help seminars, and I’ve read a lot – but none of them will work unless you really want to heal.” – Lindsay Wagner