What qualifies as self-love? How do you start practicing it? Are you already doing it?
We all know self-love is a big topic. It’s all about putting yourself first, above all other obligations, commitments, and expectations. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that you can quit your job, ignore your friends, and not pay your bills (we don’t live in a perfect world).
However, it does mean that you choose to put your own needs and happiness first. So, quit your job if it makes you unhappy. Break up with your friends if they are toxic. Pay your bills, that is important no matter what.
Here are five of our favorite books that center around self-love. Some will show you how to harness self-love to live your dreams, others are about how successful people found self-love, and some will help you gain the confidence you need to truly put yourself first.
Need a book with guidelines to help you start living the self-love life? Look no further than The Self-Love Experiment, by Shannon Kaiser. After struggling with addiction, depression, and an eating disorder, Kaiser found a way to put her life back on track and achieve her own goals through self-love. Her book teaches you how to let go of your fears and start on your own self-love journey.
Everyone’s favorite reality-tv hairstylist wrote about how he went from being a depressed boy in rural Illinois to the fabulous self-love icon that he is now. Over the Top, by Jonathan Van Ness is a memoir that shows that no matter where you come from, once you start loving yourself, the world opens up. Van Ness uses humor and honesty to share his most shameful, difficult, and successful moments to prove that once you start living as you are meant to be, you can find happiness.
Self-love isn’t just about putting yourself first, it is also about accepting yourself for who and how you are. Body shame is prevalent in today’s society and wreaks havoc on self-esteem. Sonya Renee Taylor has just what you need to fight back. The Body is Not An Apology is a radical take on self-love that is all about making peace with your body. More importantly, it’s about shaking down the system that would have us think our bodies aren’t worthy of love. We are all worthy of love, no matter what we look like.
When you first start your self-love journey, you might feel like you’re being selfish or letting others down. In their witty book, How to Love Yourself (and Sometimes Other People), Lardo Rinzler and Meggen Watterson talk about how you can love yourself while continuing to maintain healthy relationships. Actually, you might start to see how loving yourself is sometimes the first step in loving another person. At its core, this book is about how everyone is worthy of love from themselves and others.
While practicing self-love doesn’t mean you have to spend time alone, sometimes you just want to. There can be a bit of revelation that comes from solitude (those revelations are usually about relationships). What a Time to be Alone, by Chidera Eggerue uses sass, wit, and wisdom to teach you the three things you need to practice self-love in the modern world. First, learn how to celebrate you for who you are. Second, don’t worry about other people’s demons and drama. Third, learn how to sustain and grow healthy, non-toxic relationships.