Social media, kaypoh relatives comparing us with our peers, and a kiasu culture flood us with messages that we’re not popular, successful, or happy enough.
If the critical voice in your head keeps you up at night, it’s time to take some time out and re-evaluate. Relax, shut your phone off, and have an honest conversation with yourself. If you need guidance, try out these books for some much-needed insight:
1. Belonging doesn’t mean conforming:
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Anyone who’s ever had a hard time fitting in knows — being lonely in a crowd sucks. Everyone except you seems like they’re in an exclusive little club of their own.
Soon, we build an emotional wall around ourselves to protect ourselves from getting hurt — at the cost of keeping everybody else out.
Author Brene Brown uses Braving the Wilderness to talk about the need to accept and own our vulnerability.
“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.”
— Brene Brown
Opening up to others may be terrifying at first, but if it leads to us making deeper, meaningful connections, we’re all for it!
2. Being flawed makes us stronger in surprising ways:
Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim
It’s easy to dismiss and belittle something imperfect — we do that with our appearance, our achievements, and our experiences every day. We demand so much from ourselves and others that we forget to appreciate the little things.
Haemin Sunim reminds us to stop being so hard on ourselves. The book details the ways we’ve learned to be critical of others and ourselves, and how our insecurities make it easy to resent others for having it better than us.
Using examples from his life as a monk, Haemin Sunim outlines his journey of unlearning the toxic behaviours behind pride and envy, and puts down simple rules to practice self-love for a peaceful mind. By loving our flaws, we can even accept others for who they are and be more compassionate to them.
Let’s face it, who doesn’t want a little more TLC in their lives?
3. Do YOU, even if they can’t deal with it:
The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi
If you’ve ever wanted to know what the #sorrynotsorry spirit feels like, it’s this book!
The fear of rejection takes on many forms, and its impact is felt in almost every aspect of our lives. Kishimi tackles this subject with wisdom, giving the book a down-to-earth tone that will soothe even the most highly-strung nervous wreck.
Kishimi brings a perspective that’s both fresh and timeless at the same time, mapping out the negative thought patterns that trap us into people-pleasing. The book goes further on how we can create sources of validation to build a self-image that lasts. You’ll be able to hold up against the harshest ‘no’ with a smile and your head held high.
Becoming your own cheerleader is no easy process, but your self-esteem will thank you for it. What do you tell yourself when you need a little pick me up? Let us know in the comments!
National Reading Movement
National Library Board