You probably focus a lot of your time and energy showing love to other people — your spouse, parents, friends, and children.
And perhaps you rely on these same people to feel loved yourself. It is the approval, praise, and support of these important people that make us feel secure and valued.
Sometimes, though, we can rely too much on the approval of others to feel that sense of self-worth. We don’t feel lovable unless someone else affirms that we are.
What if you could find a way to fuel your life with the love you need without having to rely on other people?
Our ability to be fully authentic, fully actualized individuals hinges on our willingness to love ourselves and to embrace our own worthiness — flaws and all.
Unfortunately, people often struggle with this concept.
While it may sound easy to change your self-talk or pamper yourself on occasion, we are often too quick to put ourselves down or compare ourselves to others.
Aside from improving your self-esteem, developing self-love can help you rebound from adversity more quickly than you would if you have feelings of self-loathing.
You have no control what life hands you, but you have full control over your response.
People who practice self-love have more coping skills and resilience when it comes to life challenges.
One of the best ways to overcome your low self-esteem and understand the true meaning of self-love is by reading inspirational works of experts and thought leaders.
- Here is a list of 21 self-love books to support your efforts:
- 1. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are By Brene Brown
- 2. The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Accepting of Yourself By Shannon Kaiser
- 3. Choosing Me Before We By Christine Arylo
- 4. The Undervalued Self: Restore Your Love/Power Balance, Transform the Inner Voice That Holds You Back, and Find Your True Self-Worth By Elaine Aron
- 5. Love Your Body By Louise Hay
- 6. Becoming Whole: A Healing Companion to Ease Emotional Pain and Find Self-Love By Bruce Kehr
- 7. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself By Kristin Neff
- 8. The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions By Christopher Germer
- 9. The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook: A 14-Day Plan to Transform Your Relationship with Yourself By Tim Desmond
- 10. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It By Kamal Ravikant
- 11. How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism By Stephen Guise
- 12. Radical Acceptance By Tara Brach
- 13. Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living By Pema Chodron
- 14. Learning To Love Yourself By Gay Hendricks
- 15. The Art of Talking to Yourself: Self-Awareness Meets the Inner Conversation By Vironika Tugaleva
- 16. Love Yourself Lighter: How to End Your Weight Struggle by Changing the Way You Think By Suyin Nichols
- 17. Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life By Byron Katie
- 18. Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance By Rosie Molinary
- 19. This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide By Geneen Roth
- 20. I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” By Brene Brown
- 21. Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment By Marianne Williamson
Here is a list of 21 self-love books to support your efforts:
1. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are By Brene Brown
Brene Brown helps you realize that you are enough by helping you explore your courage and compassion.
While today’s society may make you feel inadequate with its demands, the truth is that you are good enough to excel in this world.
As a professional, Dr. Brown shares with you what she has learned from years of research on the power of engaging with the world as a worthy person.
Using ten guideposts, Dr. Brown will engage your mind and your emotions as she teaches you how to develop the motivation that you need to wake up each morning knowing that you are enough.
She also teaches you that while you may have imperfections, you are brave enough to overcome them.
One reader of this book who was initially skeptical of self-love books said, “I think I can guarantee that something in this book will profoundly change you.” No matter what turmoil you are facing in your life, this book can help you weather through it.
2. The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Accepting of Yourself By Shannon Kaiser
The Self-Love Experiment will help you put a stop to sabotaging yourself, get over your fears, and gain the confidence you need to succeed in life and become your own best friend.
People often think they shouldn’t put themselves first because it would seem selfish. The Self-Love Experiment corrects this false belief and helps you prioritize yourself no matter what goal you are aiming to achieve.
Kaiser shares her personal secrets to finding her purpose and living life with a renewed passion after struggling with eating disorders, drug addictions, depression, and career burnout.
Throughout the book, she walks you through her simple plan that began as a personal experiment, guiding you through the process of getting rid of your fear and falling in love with your life.
You will discover how to change your everyday habits to fall in love with your life and change your outcomes. One reader notes that “the message is honest — self-love isn’t a quick fix, it’s a journey of self-compassion, self-respect, and learning to accept the parts of yourself that you may not always view as lovable.”
3. Choosing Me Before We By Christine Arylo
This book is written with sass, soul, and empowering wisdom need to live their best life.
Choosing Me Before We is written to challenge women to create the relationships they want rather than the toxic ones that they might have.
Throughout the book, you will discover that your closest girlfriend is one of your best resources to offer loving advice about what is best for you.
You will appreciate the stimulating questions posed in this book to help you uncover what you really need to be happy and daring you to get real about your life.
You will learn how to get rid of old habits that have been holding you back, as the author shares the real-life experiences that changed her life trajectory.
This book was written to teach you to stop settling for less than you deserve and to be honest about what you want out of life and relationships.
4. The Undervalued Self: Restore Your Love/Power Balance, Transform the Inner Voice That Holds You Back, and Find Your True Self-Worth By Elaine Aron
This is another book written by a highly-respected author on the undervalued self.
Aron explains that self-esteem is the product of having a balance of love and power and the ability to incorporate love into situations in your life that seem to only require power.
You will also learn how to deal with power struggles that look like they are simply issues of love.
Aron covers subjects from your personal life to your professional life to give you strategies to get rid of feelings of shame, defeat, and depression; get out of hostile relationships; and become your best self.
Readers have found this book to be written in a clear and empathetic way to provide you with a simple and effective guide to uncovering your self-worth.
5. Love Your Body By Louise Hay
This bestselling book lets you in on 54 affirmation treatments that are designed to help you create a body that is beautiful, healthy, and happy.
Readers have found this book to be simple, yet effective. One reader noted that she has “only been saying the affirmations for women 5 days now and I am already seeing results.””
You will feel uplifted after reading through this book, especially if you have a certain part of your body that you are unhappy with and want to work on.
This is a great book for healing emotional pain and trauma. The author fills the chapters with warmth and empathy to give you hope while you learn how to ease any emotional pain in your life.
Kehr details stories of patients in treatment for psychotherapy. He recounts their thoughts and feelings to unveil what is going on in their minds during these mental struggles.
One reader reports that this book offers “a real insight into what happens behind the door in the office of an experienced expert clinician, one who listens to his patients and gets to the core of problem first.”
The concept of “becoming whole” is devoted to ameliorating emotional stress that won’t go away.
This is a great book for people who are experiencing emotional stress as well as for those who love someone who is going through this turmoil.
Readers have found this book to be insightful and revealing and a great resource for you to use to heal yourself or those you love.
7. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself By Kristin Neff
This book focuses on leaving insecurities and self-criticism behind. You will finish this book feeling as if you are able to achieve your highest potential and live a more happy and fulfilled life.
Dr. Neff offers exercises and specific plans for handling emotional struggles, addressing everything from parenting and work-related issues to weight loss.
Readers from their teens to mature adults have been able to find wisdom in this book. Says one reviewer, “Of all the books on my self-help shelf, Kristin Neff’s Self Compassion just might be my absolute favorite.”
8. The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions By Christopher Germer
This book might be right for you if you tend to be self-critical during times of stress.
Dr. Christopher Germer uses this book to teach you how to accept your difficult emotions even though we all want to avoid pain.
Allowing ourselves to feel those emotions and responding with compassion to our imperfections are critical steps to take on a path to self-love.
This practical guide explains the science and practice of developing self-compassion and offers creative and grounded strategies for putting the practices into action.
Like other readers, you will learn why you haven’t been able to overcome your anxieties and learn a new approach to accepting yourself without judgment.
9. The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook: A 14-Day Plan to Transform Your Relationship with Yourself By Tim Desmond
This book offers a step-by-step guide to learning mindfulness-based techniques that will make you feel happier with your life.
If you often find yourself stressed out or having negative thoughts, this book will teach you how having self-compassion will help improve your health, increase your sense of inner peace, provide you with emotional stability, and bring more happiness to your life.
Readers appreciate the cutting-edge research the author includes in this book to show that anyone can strengthen their self-love through practice and increase their mental health and wellness.
After reading this book, you will learn how to spend just half an hour each day for two weeks focusing on three practices that will change your life.
The author’s “Map to Self-Compassion” will engage you in a way that will improve your motivation and your kindness with yourself.
Readers have found that the practices outlined in this book help manage their anxiety and depression and become more resilient after enduring life’s hardships.
One reader noted that she very much appreciates that there are 15 audio recordings by the author that are available through his website, and they are not only practical but also customizable to fit into your daily schedule.
10. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It By Kamal Ravikant
This book recounts a talk that author, Kamal Ravikant, gave in 2011 about the truth he learned about self-love and its power to be transformative to your life.
He learned self-love through experiences such as trekking to one of the highest base camps in the Himalayas, meditating in the Dalai Lama’s monastery, earning a US Army Infantry patch, walking 550 miles across Spain, joining a Black Women’s writers’ group as a white male, and working in hospice.
He argues that self-love is not a difficult task but takes commitment to fulfill this goal, and he provides life-changing strategies to show you the way.
As one reader says, this book is “magical in its brevity, heartfelt message, effectiveness, and practicality.” It helps you contemplate what you would be doing with your life or how it could be positively improved if you truly loved yourself.
11. How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism By Stephen Guise
This book makes the strong argument that imperfection is freedom from feeling the daily, intense pressures that our society puts on us.
You will learn simple techniques to develop unshakable confidence that will improve your performance in all aspects of your life and get rid of the unrealistic expectations that you may have once held for yourself.
Imperfectionists are able to lead happier and healthier lives than those who stress out over every move they make. You will see how letting go of small things will not impact your life in a huge way.
One reader noted that the “review of the academic literature on perfectionism to be both conscientious and valuable.” With a mix of academics and illustrations, the book will provide you with a valuable message.
12. Radical Acceptance By Tara Brach
This book by psychotherapist and Buddhist meditation teacher, Tara Brach, revolves around the common belief that something is wrong with you.
The author uses personal stories and case studies to teach you how to trust yourself and your goodness rather than always being worried that you have done something wrong.
This book will help you develop the balance of seeing clearly and having compassion that brings about radical acceptance.
Radical Acceptance empowers change inside of you by healing your feelings of fear and shame and helping build true relationships.
Readers have found this book to be life-changing in that it incorporates wisdom from several different stories to help you create a change within yourself.
13. Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living By Pema Chodron
This book will help you become fearless and compassionate. It incorporates insight and humor in its guidance on how you can embrace your life at whatever stage you are in rather than denying certain aspects.
The author uses 59 traditional Tibetan Buddhist slogans to help you learn meditation and develop the courage to work with your inner pain and discover a happier life.
This may be the right book for you if you are facing troubles that seem too large to handle. One reader claims she was able to regain happiness and give meaning back to her life after reading this book.
14. Learning To Love Yourself By Gay Hendricks
This book is ideal for those who are on a journey to forgiveness, acceptance and loving themselves.
One reader found this book to be different from other self-love books as it teaches you to realize that your entire life can change the moment you choose to love yourself. This powerful book will offer you the happiness that you have been unable to find elsewhere.
Says one reader, “This book has been around forever and it still offers much great learning. It’s a thin book and gets to the point without going deep into theory or quoting tons of studies and clinical observations. The point is simple. Listen to your feelings. Feel them deeply in your body and don’t resist. KNOW that every feeling you have is valid.”
15. The Art of Talking to Yourself: Self-Awareness Meets the Inner Conversation By Vironika Tugaleva
This book asks you to trust yourself and offers a gentle guide to self-awareness. In this book, the author hopes to introduce you to your real self.
This book is not meant to “fix” you, as it will let you know that you do not need fixing. Instead, it is an exploration of your inner mystery that is meant to inspire you to understand yourself better.
16. Love Yourself Lighter: How to End Your Weight Struggle by Changing the Way You Think By Suyin Nichols
You’re probably tired of hearing to eat less and exercise more to change your body, but the truth is that you have to change your mindset in order to lose weight.
If you battle with your weight, you may have a mindset that is contributing to your extra weight. This book teaches you how your mind works and how to rewire your thinking to get the results you want.
You will read inspirational stories of others who have been in your shoes and overcame the challenges of losing weight. Readers appreciate this new approach to weight loss and the effect that it has.
17. Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life By Byron Katie
This book offers a step-by-step guide for loving your life. Byron Katie introduces “The Work” as a powerful method to solve problems and deal with limiting beliefs.
When doing The Work, readers experience a sense of peace and are able to find the clarity and energy to make a positive change.
The Work can be applied to every aspect of your life and undo the negative thoughts that prevent you from experiencing happiness.
After reading this book, you will learn how to love your life and overcome obstacles that seem impossible.
18. Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance By Rosie Molinary
This book incorporates evidence-based techniques into a year-long action plan that teaches girls and women to have a healthy self-image and increased self-confidence.
Beautiful You includes a 365-day action plan that empowers women to regain a healthy self-image This hip and modern guide is full of inspirational thoughts that are relevant to modern culture.
“This book had a lot of exercises and journaling prompts that were related to holistic wellness – related to all aspects of one’s life, not just beauty. It can be enjoyed by anyone of any age or gender who is willing to be introspective,” says one 5-star reviewer.
19. This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide By Geneen Roth
This book by bestselling author, Geneen Roth, incorporates humor and insight to explore the personal beliefs, traumas, and social pressures that impact women’s feelings about their bodies, their confidence, and their relationships.
Roth offers a humorous look at her personal journey of struggling with her weight and self-hatred and how she learned to be at home with herself.
The author does a great job of embracing everyone’s unique potential and teaching you how to be kind to yourself, let go of grudges, and overcome your anxieties.
Says one of her readers, “This newest book is beautiful, insightful, funny, deeply spiritual, practical, wise. It helped me recognize growth that has happened because of the work started decades ago.”
20. I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” By Brene Brown
Another great book by Brene Brown, this one focuses on how your imperfections connect you to other people and to humanity.
She reveals how your vulnerabilities are powerful reminders to keep your mind open and recognize that everyone is in this together and shares the same insecurities.
This book is especially great for mothers, as it shares many stories of mothers who are struggling to believe that they are enough.
One reader said this book “pushed me to examine my thoughts and my attitudes toward shame and blame and vulnerability and strength.” This is a helpful book for anyone who has felt they have been shamed into silence.
21. Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment By Marianne Williamson
This book will urge you to acknowledge your suffering in order to heal yourself and experience personal growth and an opportunity for enlightenment.
Internationally recognized teacher, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author, Marianne Williamson, teaches you that denial will never offer you the chance for true healing.
She calls us to embrace our suffering and face it directly in order to grow and evolve as a person.
The book is written with warmth and compassion and provides you with profound wisdom to find a deeper awareness of your feelings.
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If you are looking for a book to help improve your self-acceptance or self-love, try a few of these out.
Each one has something special and unique to offer, and they have helped many people overcome the challenges of low self-esteem and unhappiness with themselves.