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

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Brittnay’s Corner: Sexual Healing: What It Means, Why It Matters

Yes, I’m taking it there! But bear with me because this isn’t your typical religious based  speech on why you should save yourself for marriage, or be guilted  by your past. I’ll leave that part to the folks who handle that best. That’s out of my league. “Nope, not I,”  said the cat.

I do, however,  intend to share with you a lesson that almost knocked my socks off when I read it. And it’s not that I haven’t heard similar teachings, but I’ve never heard it stated in a way that actually sits well with my spirit. A way that doesn’t leave me feeling any awkwardness whatsoever… you know, guilty, anxious or ashamed. Instead, I was filled with feelings of pure love and acceptance, which is what any true word of GOD and the DIVINE should feel  like (Your spirit always KNOWS the source from which it comes…its all in how you feel).

Now to the lesson…

A Course In Miracles (ACIM) teaches us that we are not truly the physical body form that we identify ourselves by. Instead, we should view ourselves as spiritual beings having a physical/ human experience here on Earth. With that said, we must be able to view ourselves beyond our physical bodies and the physical material world that we live in.

That’s all pretty cool… obvious for some. But let’s take it a step further.

ACIM also tells us the following:

“When you equate yourself with a body[or another person in the same way], you will always experience depression [or anxiety].”

This is true when we are critical with ourselves or others about our weight, or physical attractiveness, material wealth/success, etc… It’s never a good feeling when we only fully identify ourselves as our physical bodies or material wealth because these are things that can and will constantly change, just as everything else in the physical realm. And let’s face it, we’re all worth wayyy more than what’s on the surface. In fact, we can all agree the only true constants are Spirit, LOVE and GOD… which are all ONE.

Stay with me here…

According to one of my favorite authors, Marianne Williamson in her bestselling title A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles, “One of the ways the body can be used to manufacture depression is through loveless sex.” This is because we tend to project either love or fear when we partake in sexual activities. Williamson states:

“When sex is of the Holy Spirit, it is a deepening of communication. When it is of the ego, it is  a substitute for communication. The Holy Spirit uses sex to heal us; the ego uses it to wound us. Sometimes we have thought that sex with another person would cement the bond between us, and instead it turned out to manufacture more illusion and anxiety than there was before. It is only when sex is a vehicle of spiritual communion that it is truly loving, that it joins us to another person. Then it is a sacred act.– Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love p. 250

In other words, when we partake in loveless sex, we are merely trying to fill a void for something else that we may feel is missing. In this context, sex is used as a coping mechanism that is no different from drugs, or food, or whatever else we humans have been known to use in order to cover up or communicate the true pain that may have never been healed from our past. For example, when a male/female has sex outside of an a loving relationship that has been established prior to sexual interaction, deep down he/she may subconsciously be attempting to communicate or fill a void of their true desire to be loved, wanted, or accepted as whole by another. Sex would thus be a substitution for true communication between that person, and his/her partner(s). There is always a story behind everything in life, whether deep or shallow. This is why communication on the surface goes a looooong way!

Ohhhh, but it gets better!!

Williamson goes on to share another part of this lesson that ACIM teaches, and that is one of the true definitions of what it means to be Holy as it relates to life, and in this context, sex:

“Holiness means the presence of a loving purpose, and in that sense, the body and its accouterments can be a holy expression. Many spiritual seekers have felt the need to eschew all body related things. But that can be as ego-centered as an overattachment to the physical. Anything used to spread joy and communicate love is a part of GOD’s plan for salvation.” — Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love p. 250

Now tell me that doesn’t give you a whole new perspective on Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing!

No matter how man tries to bog it down with condemnation and ridicule, sex was created by the DIVINE as a form of communication on the deepest level… Yes, for us humans it gets no better than pure physical intimacy. But it’s only when its used for the pure purpose of LOVE, that it feels HEAVENLY through and through; not just for the moment. Hence why most religions point in the direction of marriage before sex, and the whole spiel on how man unites as one during meaningful intercourse. The truth is, all sex is meaningful. We just have to know ourselves well enough to know just what we are truly attempting to communicate to the Universe and our partner(s) in spirit.  For we will only experience the truth of our intentions. Therefore, perhaps we should heavily consider having only loving connections… at least at some point in our lives.

If love is what we truly desire, then love is what we ought to communicate with those we interact with in life in as many ways possible. First, we must love and accept ourselves as whole and complete beings right where we are. For in GOD’s eyes, man was perfectly and masterfully created. Once there, if others can accept the whole of you and love you as you are in return, then perhaps they are worthy of your sexual healing, and vice versa of course. DOPE, right!?!

Don’t ever say that I never tried to enlightened you! lol

Meanwhile, feel free to drop some of your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below.

Love,

@BCSTARKS

Maya Angelou: ‘When you know better, you do better.’

I was blessed to have had one of the most amazing weekends in my entire life. Not because anything spectacular took place. Well, aside from becoming enlightened at least. But what could be better than a dose of enlightenment?Although the enjoyment of things and experiences in the physical realm prove to be quite exhilarating time and time again, that enjoyment experienced is also fleeting. It will only be a matter of time before you no longer experience the same fulfillment from those things as you once had.

That is, unless you can begin to understand what I have come to understand as a result of becoming enlightened. 

I now know for sure that happiness is something that you have to create for your life starting RIGHT NOW! It’s not possible to become happy only once you become successful, or have more money. Why? Well because success is not a destination; it’s a journey! Not to mention that all the money in the World cannot compare to the sweet grace, peace, and love of GOD. Sure, it will help you pay back those student loans so that Sallie Mae can stop blowing you up on the weekends and while you’re at work (so disrespectful! lol). But if you allow  physical things, including people, to decide your happiness, then you will be in for a rude awakening when they all fall short of your expectations, which they ultimately will.

Instead, I have learned that it is only when you declare that you will not allow anything outside of you to change your mood for the worse, that you will have taken a step towards freedom. Often times, this is easier said than done. But when you realize that in all situations, no matter how big or small, the only thing that is in your control is how you respond to life. Everything else is left up to chance and chain reaction.

I applied this very concept this past weekend and the lesson, or the moment of enlightenment, was more blissful than any physical experience could ever be. Mostly because, unlike things and experiences of the physical realm, once you become enlightened you have the power to change your life, and ultimately contribute to the betterment of mankind. But the best part of enlightenment is that it’s never fleeting.