11 Self-Help Books That Completely Changed My Life

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Along my journey, I’ve had the privilege of coming across some pretty amazing literature. Some of these books have helped me accomplish many goals, including spiritual, emotional, financial, and relationship goals. Here, I share with you 11 of my favorite books that have had the greatest impact on my growth in many of the areas mentioned. In fact, I credit these books with having changed my life for the better. And I hope that you’ll explore them for yourself.

1. The Secret: I actually saw the documentary that the book was based on when I was a freshman in college. And I must have shared it with every single person I cared about. Sure, it’s been criticized for being a simplified approach to a more complex life principle. However, simplicity was the key for me to first: understand The Law of Attraction, second: recognized that I had practiced it unknowingly throughout my life, and third: to instantly put it to work, but this time with clearer intentions. I must say that because of its simple approach, I found it easier to focus on my goals and have them manifest one by one. From getting into my dream school, to getting jobs, and even getting the exact same car that I’d once glued a picture of on my very first vision board less than 1 year later. When I recognized how powerful my thoughts really are, it set me on a journey to exploring more about where some of my negative thought patterns come from, especially if they kept me from having the life that I always dreamed of.

2. You Can Heal Your Life: Another book that I’ve bought several copies of for friends and family in both print and audio versions.This book introduced me to the concept of having self-compassion (not sure if that’s a word) and empathy. It basically picks up where The Secret leaves off since it offers solutions for improving the quality of one’s thoughts, especially as it pertains to self-image. After all, we teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. We also attract people and things into our lives based on what we think we deserve. Paying attention to self-talk is the best way to assess what you really feel about yourself. It also helps in getting to the root cause of those negative thoughts and forgiving yourself and others so that you can truly heal your life. This book offers positive affirmations for reprogramming a negative mindset and touches on metaphysics and the effects your thoughts can have on your body’s health. Two words: Great stuff!

3. Think & Grow Rich: The title of the book is self-explanatory. But I will admit that brother Napoleon Hill had me second guessing everything I thought I knew about education and the role that it would play in my life. In fact, I wanted to drop out of school before I could even finish the book, but Sallie Mae already had my name on a few documents so I had to finish. This book is an earlier version of The Secret and You Can Heal Your Life, but it offers more strategies with a business approach. Most entrepreneurs tend to appreciate a book like this. In fact, many well-known businessmen have credited this book with being the reason why they became so successful. It’s definitely left a permanent impression on me.

4. Getting To I Do: This book isn’t quite what its title suggests, but it does offer up some tips for both men and women to incorporate into their single, dating, and married lives. It is a MUST READ for those who feel a bit insecure in how to date or interact with the opposite sex (including with parents, friends, etc.) in a way that is healthy and beneficial for both people. I  would say that it is heavy in psychology based principles of how men and women (masculine and feminine regardless of physical sex) interact with one another, and how we could interact with much more harmony if we understood our own individual nature. Based on this book alone, I have a completely different outlook on relationships and interacting with the opposite sex. In fact, I plan to do some relationship videos laced with some of the principles I’ve learned from this book to help others put things in perspective. And yes, all of my close girlfriends were gifted or recommended a copy of this book. It’s a GAME CHANGER!

5. The Alchemist: The dreamer and believer in me absolutely loves this book! It’s a novel about a shepherd boy who goes on a journey to discovering his “personal legend,” which is the equivalent of his life’s purpose. It’s laced with jewels of timeless wisdom on just about every page. And it will definitely have you inspired to take of advantage of your time on Earth and pursue your hearts desires while you have the chance to. It’s one of those books that you feel the need to read every few years just to see how much progress you’ve made towards what you say you hope to accomplish in life. Let’s just say it keeps me on my toes and gets me right back on track when life’s circumstances can be distracting.

6. A Return To Love: This book is nothing short of miraculous. When you read it, you can feel love pouring all over you in the form of understanding, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and just pure love. Marianne Williamson offers insight into life-lessons she’s learned based off A Course In Miracles, which is a Universal approach to Christian based principles. After reading this book, I felt so connected to everyone on the deepest levels of understanding. Not so much on the shallow tip, but you walk away with the understanding that we are more alike beneath the surface than we are different.

7. A Course In Miracles: As mentioned above, this is literally a life course. It’s like a companion to the Bible or whatever sacred book your faith is based on. Its pretty dense, but I promise everytime I read a page or practice a lesson, I become more open to life and I feel more grounded and loved than ever before. Let’s just say you’ll have to see for yourself.

8. The Four Agreements: Talk about getting to the root of almost all of the problems we face as human beings. This books offers four foundational principles that we should strive to live by, not for religion’s sake, but for our own sanity. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, it touches on limiting beliefs and how we can just about rid ourselves of unnecessary suffering and lead our lives with more love, abundance, and happiness.

9. Blink: This book touches on the power of intuition, or thinking without thinking. Everyday we make decisions, and some are made instinctively, while others are made after thorough investigation. Many times, the best choices are made with little to no explanation, all because something within allows us to make snap judgements that need no justification. Love it!

10. Science Of Mind: I’m currently reading this one and it’s like another companion to whatever your faith is already. It’s metaphysics at its finest and it really focuses on developing discipline to creating a more harmonious world through our individual thoughts. Its philosophy is based on Christian teachings, but it also draws from virtually every spiritual faith as it teaches readers to guide our thoughts intentionally towards a life of health, wealth, success, love, harmony, and peace. Another feel good read every time you pick it up. It’s enlightening and refreshing, and it gives you a sense of peace and personal power.

11. Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships: Marianne Williamson did it again with this one! For me, this one is so necessary for this generation as we have drifted further away from intimacy in our interactions with those in our lives. It’s a collection of personal essays, prayers, and self-reflection of interactions within relationships. It will have you open to acceptance and being accepted, forgiveness, love, intimacy, and attracting the right mate from the right space. It is ever enchanted and another must read.

There’s many more that I’d love to share with you. There’s also so many that I have yet to read. I want to know what books changed the game for you. Please leave a comment if you’ve read any of these books, and share some of your favorite reads below.

Love,

@BCSTARKS

BrittNay’s Corner: What I Resist, Persists…

Today, for the first time I became aware of how often I allow my mind to be consumed by the things and experiences that don’t please me. For the first time I was able to recognize the very moment that my negative thoughts drifted so far that anxiety began to creep up on me. I started feeling anxious and couldn’t focus long enough to complete the task at hand. My emotions were all over the place, and peace was the farthest thing from me. All of this because I could not take my mind off of those things that I believed weren’t working for me. From my current 9-5 and my living situation, to my diet and all the things that I want to change. You name it, my mind was on it. And boy did it go on and on and on…

“Negative thoughts stick around because we believe them, not because we want them or choose them.”

Andrew J. Bernstein

That is, until something within me recognized the chaos that was going on my mind. I like to call that something my “inner knowing.” That inner knowing recognized the verbal and emotional assault that I subconsciously inflicted upon myself as I uncontrollably dissected how I could have and should have done things differently, or how the experiences that I was having was somehow less than fair. My observer remained still and awakened to the fact that “it” was not a part of this negative space that was being created within me. This inner knowing knew the truth about life, about my circumstances, and about what is possible for me… and “it” became my great escape from the toxic false reality that I had inflicted upon myself.  Before this moment, I could not see how I was contributing to my own suffering because I would not allow myself to dream a better reality than the one that I was experiencing. The reason I could not dream a better reality is because I would not take my mind off of what was wrong in my eyes.

“Bondage is – subjection to external influences and internal negative thoughts and attitudes.” – W. Clement Stone

After being on this journey for as long as I have, I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two about the truths of life. Thus far, what I know to be true is that the things that you resist in life, will persist. That is to say that whatever one focuses on, and whatever one gives their emotional energy to tends to linger whether positive or negative. This truth lead me to the awareness that I had created a reality for myself that even I disapproved of because I refused to instead shift my attention to everything else that had worked in my favor. In the words of Abraham and Esther Hicks,”I would not let things get good for me” because I was so busy focusing on what I thought was so bad. From this space, it is nearly impossible to welcome any of what God and the Universe has in store for us when we can’t even be grateful for the blessings that we have already.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

It was revealed to me that nothing and no one outside of me had been more instrumental in keeping me from the life that I dream of living than the negative thoughts that I allow to fester in my mind. In this moment, as I share my experience with you, I am thankful for this newfound awareness, for it has now empowered me to know just how much power I have in co-creating my reality.

It is my wish that you will be blessed and brought to a more powerful level of awareness as a result of reading my story. After all, the truth is only a thought that you keep thinking until you believe that its true. DON”T BELIEVE THE LIES!

How much can you relate to my story? I’d love to learn more. Drop a comment below, or shoot me an email at bcstarkspr@gmail.com.

Love,

@BCSTARKS

The Perfect Stranger: Encounters that leave a lasting impression

“I had pizza and coffee with a perfect stranger today. It reminded me of my journey and why I must answer the call.”- BCSTARKS

Sometimes we get lucky enough to cross paths with just the right people at just the right time in our lives. The kind of encounters where witnessing the other’s passion and purpose somehow ignites our own. I was so fortunate to have been inspired by the perfect stranger. After back and forth dialogue over pizza about the usual run of the mill (You know, the ‘where are you from-s?’ and the ‘what do you do-s?’), we exchanged stories about spirituality and our purpose-driven quests. And as we did, we saw ourselves in one another’s story.

What I was most captivated by was this stranger’s level of passion and dedication to their love for writing. Needless to say I was reminded of my own dance with writing. I was reminded that I have unfinished business to tend to; that I have a story that has yet to be told. I was reminded that just like this stranger, I must make time for the things that fuel my spirit, even if it means turning off to the world and giving myself permission to say no to the things that distract me from my calling.

Just hours before my encounter, I had listened to a speech given by motivational speaker Les Brown on living one’s purpose. In his speech, he spoke about investing time and discipline into one’s passion and gifts so that they may be of good use to the world. He mentioned how even when one feels like they are not truly where they want to be, one can always make the most of the experience by cultivating habits of success. This shift in awareness and perception would allow one to be ready for when opportunities arise where one can share those very gifts with others. By the time an opportunity arises, one will have mastered or refined the very thing that he or she aims to become.

This is where I can be found in my journey. And in a space that doesn’t fit the bill, I choose to spend my time cultivating the traits and skills that play into my life’s purpose. As a result, I can feel several opportunities on the horizon. And you better believe that I will indeed be ready for them.

Dear stranger, yet kindred spirit… your passion is infectious!

 

Love,

@BCSTARKS

Grace: Manifesting It Through Gratitude

“Grace is flowing back to me.”

Hey there!

So, I’m participating in this free 21-day meditation challenge presented by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. This time around, the challenge’s focus is “Manifesting Grace through Gratitude.” Previous topics have been how “all good things bring gratitude,” and how to learn to recognize things to be grateful for so that you can open up to receiving more experiences to appreciate. Today is Day 4, and in the journal section where you are invited to share your thoughts, we were asked to reflect on the times (most recently) that we experienced signs of grace. I was able to recall those times most vividly, and decided to share them with my readers. I also want to encourage you, if its your “thing, to join the meditation challenge. Its free and worth all 20 minutes of the 24 hours in your day. Each time that I actually make time to meditate is when I find that I am most at peace and have a more of a clear perspective on my day. I also feel high… Yes, like I just smoked a pound of weed (which I do not smoke at all). Lol Who needs drugs when you can just meditate?! …Don’t knock it until you try it. 😉

Journal: Day 4 – Grace Is Replying

Write down any signs of grace that have come to you recently, such as an unexpected kindness or moment of joy, a sense of perfection, or a feeling of belonging.

I felt grace when I dreamt about my late grandmother the other night. I am currently preparing to move across the country to start a new chapter in my life, and to be honest, I am terrified. In my dream, I was already in my new city, and I was at someone’s wedding. While maneuvering to find a seat, I caught a glance of a woman wearing a red dress and it was my grandmother. I was ecstatic and made a mental note that I would make my way to say hello. Just as I was weaving my way through the crowd of people standing in the isle, I peeped around their bodies to make sure that I was heading towards my grandma. Just as I was getting closer, I woke up. Damnit!  It saddened me that I could not get close enough to her to have a conversation or even say hello.  But I am thankful for grace giving me peace by allowing her to appear in my dream. It gave me comfort to know that even though she’s not physically present, she still supports me at times that I feel I need her most.

Cutting back on duties and demands to spend more time connecting with those you love is a wonderful way to invigorate your energy. Write down three ways you can renew your energy by appreciating what’s around you. For example, you could take a quiet walk amid the trees, view an art exhibit, or catch up with a dear friend.

Yesterday I felt grace when I walked outside to sit among the trees and nature. I found myself wanting to clear my mind, so I decided to meditate outdoors. Its amazing how, in an instant, I felt a sense of oneness with all that the outdoors had to offer. Aside from being distracted by a few pedestrians waling by, I was able to connect my energy with the emanating energies of the trees, and the earth, and the wind… I heard birds chirping, and felt the warmth of the sun kissing my skin. I would do it again, and often even, because it calms my mind and helps me to put things in perspective. I could always pick up the phone to call someone that I haven’t spoken to in a while. Those times always turn into two hour long conversations, and almost always end with “I love you” and “don’t be a stranger.”

Grace is laced throughout my everyday life and always leaves me feeling energetic and ready to handle the next big task of the day.I feel so appreciative that I can recognize these moments as they happen, and be able to say “Thank You” to God and the Universe for allowing me know the joys of life and appreciate them as they come.

Use this space to reflect further on your experience today.

It’s still early in the day for me, but I am open to however grace will present itself. I am open to beauty in all forms, and look forward to continuing to push past fear and allow abundance and love to pour into my life. I’m appreciative for this platform… I look forward to each day that I get to meditate with Deepak and Oprah in my ear.

Namaste…

Love,

@BCSTARKS

Brittnay’s Corner: Oprah’s Life Class Season Premier (Twitter Edition)

PAIN = Pay Attention Inward Now. Don’t look for anything or anyone outside of you to fix it – Iyanla Vanzant

Tonight was the season premier of Oprah’s Life Class on OWN, and it was AMAZING!!!!  In case you missed it, you can visit Oprah.com to watch the live stream (which may not be available until tomorrow, after it has aired worldwide). The subject for tonight’s class was “Are you living in pain?” and let’s just say that it was a life lesson that can help us all heal. Tonight’s teacher was life coach, spiritual teacher, and author Iyanla Vanzant, whom I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

The people and the stories were phenomenal! I was under the impression that one of my favorite bloggers Mastin Kipp, founder of TheDailyLove.com, would be on the show as well… so I tweeted it in excitement.

Well, Mastin replied by tweeting me that he would only be blogging live from the show, and I was just beyond thrilled that he saw my tweet.

I tweeted so much out of my excitement for the world to embrace the change that is needed in humanity, that I caught the attention of @OWNtv, and they replied to me as well.

I must have been in tune with my spirit, and their intentions as well, for two of my inspirations for inspiring others to see my tweets amongst hundreds of thousands of others, and reply to me tonight. It was UBER COOL!

I also felt the outpour of others who were living a life of pain, and so I tweeted my little heart out tonight… My prayer is that I helped those who don’t know their own strength, through sharing what I now know for sure… The Kingdom of heaven is WITHIN! (Check ya Bible for that one!) 🙂

#AMEN

Love,

@BCSTARKS

What inspired you today?

I haven’t blogged in 10 days… Ouch! lol (my bad)

At this very moment it is 4:45 am and my mother is still  up and at her craft, hair (btw, she hasn’t slept since yesterday night). Its pretty late, but when you’re working on making a vision reality, time doesn’t exist and creativity has no curfew.

My mother keeps me inspired because of her willingness to fight for her goals no matter what distractions she encounters.

A while back, she set the goal of revolutionizing the industry that she loves so dearly and has been a part of for more years than I’ve been alive. And she wanted to do it with me by her side. As her one and only baby girl who grew up in the hair industry, it has always been a dream of mine to be a part of something special alongside my mother as well. So for the past three years, we have worked towards our initial goal, and let me just say that it has been quite the journey.

I’ve learned so much along the way, and have overcome many obstacles … or distractions if you will. In fact, these past few days have been minutely challenging for me in many ways. From car problems, to my own uncertainty about which direction to take in certain areas of life (which for many like myself, can be quite overwhelming at times). I’ve even found myself in a bit of a funk as a result of me giving so much attention to the things that were making me unhappy.

But through it all, it has been my mother’s determination and desire to make our vision a reality that keeps pulling me back into the “focus” lane. Distractions seem to come so easy, while focus is what we must battle our minds for. Thanks to my mother and wonderful business partner, I’ve been inspired to remember the power of believing in even the things I have yet to see. Because of her exemplary guidance, I know that the only thing that separates someone who achieves a goal from someone who doesn’t, is whether or not they give up when things get tough.  Some of the things that I have already accomplished in my premature life has been the result of perseverance, dedication, and a burning desire to achieve, therefore I know that all hard work eventually pays off.

I know that this is so because of my momma… who has no intentions of going to bed any time soon. Don’t worry, I’m taking notes and following her lead. We look forward to sharing the next chapter of our journey with the world in the very near future. 🙂

@BCSTARKS + her mother + no rest because we’re crafting and creating = #winning!!!

What inspired you today?

The thing you’re looking for is always within YOU!

This lesson is one that I am constantly reminded of.

Everyone is looking for something to get out of this life… something to complete them, or make them happy, or make their lives better. For many its material things, or financial “success.” For others its fame, recognition, or the love and affection of a parent or significant other. Whatever the void may be, at some point most people find themselves searching for something that will make this very moment or life better than what it is.

As a liver of life, I can attest that I once found myself looking for something outside of me to make me feel complete, only to find myself chasing something that could never be caught… at least not the way that I was going about it. This same scenario becomes the tale of everyone who finds themselves in this place. Because the truth is, nothing or no one outside of you can fill the void that you believe is there but YOU.

I place heavy emphasis on the “YOU” part because regardless of what your religious faith or spiritual status may be, you should never dismiss the fact that you have some control over your own life. Even if you pray to Jesus,  Buddha,  Allah, or no one at all, there is always the “YOU” in the equation that makes it complete. Whether its love and affection, money, “success’, fame or recognition, the more you chase what is outside of you, the longer it will take for you to realize that what you really want is what you could have had all along if you had just taken the time recognize your own power.

I’m not sure what it’s referred to in other religions, but in the Christian faith the Bible teaches that the peace and happiness that we as humans seek to experience cannot be found anywhere outside of every living creature on Earth… because it lies within:

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17: 20-21 (KJV)

I’m no religious person, but even life will eventually teach you that if you really want to be happy, you need to tend to your own inner guidance because nothing outside of that will give you the peace of mind that you seek. Some call it “getting right with GOD,” others call it “becoming more spiritual,” or “developing a higher sense of awareness,” but it’s all the same. I don’t claim to have a roadmap to understanding this concept and practicing it, but I will share what helped me get there:

I learned to start telling a different story about my life. I learned that instead of focusing on all the bad, I became more appreciative of the good. That’s when life began to give me more experiences, people, and things to appreciate. When I stopped criticizing myself and appreciating all of who I am, I felt more loved than ever before because I began to love me more. When I realized that even when it seems like I don’t have a solution, or enough money, I am always provided for… and so I worry no more. When I realized that certain things will always be out of my control, and that the only control I truly have is over my own thoughts and actions, I began to take responsibility for my own life. I learned never to place blame, no matter what, because doing so only gives the other person power and control over my own happiness. Most importantly, I learned to look within for the answers to questions that only I and GOD can answer. After all, his KINGDOM (peace, joy, happiness, prosperity, love… our slice of heaven on Earth) is within. 

Love always,

@BCSTARKS