I read a lot of great books in 2015 in many different genres. I had made it a goal to continue to read more with my 30 By 30 list, such as reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. (Both of which I finally finished this year.) Of the books that I read this year, there were a few that stood out as completely helping to shift my perspective and changing my daily attitude. I’m continuously looking to improve myself. I’ll forever be a work in progress, and these books made a huge impact on my way of thinking and thus my quality of life this past year.
Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff
As Maya Angelou once said, “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’” This book will cause a massive shift in how you think about yourself, your actions, your failures and shortcomings.
If you’re anything like I was and find yourself walking away from too many conversations feeling a pang of shame over something you said only to replay it over in your head for days, or you keep yourself up at night worrying about something you did or a decision you made, this book will help you find compassion for yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations (or someone else’s for that matter).
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
I highly recommend reading all books written by shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown. Filled with entertaining stories nearly everyone can relate to, each book builds upon the concepts presented in the last. The Gifts of Imperfection, one of her first publications, is a great place to begin learning about how to bring courage and vulnerability into your relationships to find deeper connection with those you love, work with, or even just cannot stand.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson (AKA The Bloggess) turns every funny anecdote into I-just-snorted-wine-through-my-nose-and-now-have-a-severe-sinus-infection-level of hilarity. Beneath that humor, however, lies too-true truths about mental illness such as anxiety and depression that typically make one suffering from them feel isolated. Lawson breaks down the walls and shines light on the fact that none of us are alone.
True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
The title is deceiving. This book isn’t about “twoo wuv” or “mawwage”, but instead living and speaking and acting from love (as opposed to fear or hate or selfishness). The concepts extend into all relationships, especially love for ourselves. In addition to giving four keys to living with love, Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh insists that we cannot love without being fully present. He gives insight into how to begin a mindfulness practice and bring mindfulness into your relationships.
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve learned the lesson of “never say never” enough times to know that I shouldn’t say I’ll never get married again. Even still, I have quite the laundry list of events that must happen for me to even consider crossing any alter again. Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage is Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up memoir to the well-known Eat Pray Love, where she wrestles the concept of marriage as she travels across the world in exile with her Brazilian fiancé in wait for his visa. Delving into the history of marriage in both western and worldly cultures, Gilbert provides more information and insight than I had ever received before on the concept. If you are married, single, divorced, or otherwise curious about the concept of marriage among any gender or culture, this book will be undoubtedly enlightening at the least.