Do you know someone in your life that's on a self-healing journey and also loves books? Maybe that person is you!
Maybe you (or they) find that you/they learn best through reading, through someone else putting what you're feeling and experiencing into words. So I decided to compile a non-exhaustive list of books that helped me on my self-healing journey. The following books (listed in no particular order) brought me peace, comfort, and compassionate understanding after trauma so that I was able to pivot away from "what's wrong with me?!" to "I make sense."
This article does contain affiliate links through which I may get a small commission which goes directly toward supporting me & my small business. But I can assure you that these books are all recommended from my heart & soul.
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster.
This book was everything I needed and more on my reparenting journey. Tara Schuster writes with such heart and candor that I really felt like talking with a friend who *gets it*. This book showed me tangible, manageable ways to not only practice this elusive concept of self-love but also to live with intentionality and wholeheartedness in every aspect of my life while also shifting my focus away from all the things not working to being mindful and appreciative of the good little things in my life. I recommend this to anyone on any stage of their reparenting journey (especially if you find yourself saying, "but it wasn't *that* bad.")
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk.
I wish this book were required reading in school or, like, in life. This book so eloquently explains how trauma affects (e.g. reshapes!) the mind & body - both developmental trauma and any trauma we may experience in adulthood - and why we aren't "crazy" or "overreacting" for having post-traumatic triggers. Bessel Van Der Kolk also provides over 100 pages about the path to recovery, providing readers a non-exhaustive list of holistic, clinical, and healing resources and modalities. Some readers find it a bit dense and dull, but I highlighted and tabbed so many pages *because* there's so much great, juicy information.
Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.
I discovered this book and subsequently Brene Brown when I hit major burnout at my job and had a nervous breakdown. This book taught me that our worth and value aren't made up of the things we do or how well we do them - that we carry innate worth and value as we are, right NOW.
Brown showed me how to embrace who I am, how to love myself and my life as it is, and to not wait to start living or loving until [x] happens.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Tawwab Glover.
This is another book I wish were required in school or in life. If you're like me, healthy boundaries (or boundaries at all) may not have been modeled for you in childhood. And so, as an adult, you may struggle with setting healthy boundaries (vs rigid or porous boundaries) or even being on the receiving end of a boundary. Boundaries might feel mean, selfish, or rude. Or you may feel like it's impossible to set boundaries because yours have never been respected so you don't see the point. However you feel about boundaries or how well you're able to set and receive them, I highly recommend this book to anyone on any stage of their healing journey - I can almost guarantee you'll learn something new. (Read my full review of the book here.)
Mindset by Carol Dweck.
While the subtitle of this book is "The New Psychology of Success," my biggest takeaway from the book wasn't so much about how to be more successful, but mostly about how switching from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset improve the way I saw myself. Like most people, I am my own biggest critic and for a long time I was my biggest bully. I believed I could never be anything more than wasted potential, that I would always be perceived as a failure, and that that's just the way things are. This book helped open my eyes to the fact that things CAN change, that I can change, and that I'm not stuck -- that I can be more flexible and adaptable and, in turn, more compassionate and slow to anger and self-shame. This book helped me unlearn a lot of limiting beliefs I had about myself and even the world. I recommend this book for anyone who's ready to let go of any beliefs that are keeping them stuck.
I will also say, also, that changing our mindset is not a one and done deal, because -- like the book above says -- trauma affects our bodies too. Mindset work is great and helpful, but it only works on one aspect. We are multifaceted human beings that do more than just think -- we feel, we react, we respond, we remember, we're triggered, we're activated... We need holistic healing -- mind, body, & spirit.
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay Gibson.
This book not only helped me identify emotional immaturity in my parents, but also how to identify emotional immaturity in general. In a lot of ways, this book was really validating because it put words to thoughts and feelings that I had a hard time expressing to others, particularly my therapist. And more than that, Gibson provided ways of healing from emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish caregivers. I recommend this book to anyone at any stage of their reparenting journey.
This is a non-exhaustive list so more may be added, some may be removed. I hope these books are as helpful for you as they were for me -- and please don't put any pressure on yourself to enjoy a book or feel the same way if you don't. These recommendations aren't to tell you how you should or shouldn't feel, or how you should or shouldn't be healing. I'm recommending these books for those looking for a resource so that they can learn something new about themselves and shift away from self-shame to self-compassion.
For me, books have always been my favorite way of learning or finding comfort - and I just want to help at least one person out there feel seen and heard and less alone.
Hi, my name is Marisa! I'm a trauma survivor, mental health advocate, and trauma-informed life coach. I'm on a mission to empower high achieving women and survivors of emotional and mental abuse reclaim their birthright of self love and compassion.
Want to support my work? Feel free to buy me a coffee :)