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

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

If you make a “sound” decision, STICK WITH IT!

Based on the many lessons that I have, and continue to encounter, I am mostly learning the importance of sticking with whatever decisions I make; as long as when I come to my conclusion about a subject (whatever it may be) I am operating out of my best emotional state (excitement, happiness, creativity, peace, joy, love).

This is rather important because many times we go into situations feeling positive emotions about something, but eventually we get distracted from the good, and begin to shift our focus to those things and circumstances unwanted… which ultimately leaves us second guessing and regretting our choices (and could possibly cause us to miss out on once in a lifetime opportunities).

But the idea to understand is that there was a reason why you once felt so great about the conclusion that you drew. The reason is that no vision, especially when it is of “light,” (positive feelings and actions) is ever flawed. If the decision is harmless, to yourself and others, and it feels right, then IT IS RIGHT.

However, its only when you start giving your attention to what’s so wrong about it, that your experience with it becomes so wrong. Everything starts to contradict your initial excitement because your focus has gone from why it’s so great, to your being consumed with why it’s so bad.

I am a firm believer in the power of the human mind to be able to create out of a single thought, whatever experiences and things that one chooses to give their attention to. Look around, every physical thing in life is a perfect example of this idea (airplanes, cars, buildings, businesses, technology, music… all are the result of focused attention/thoughts.

The reason I’ve learned to not walk away from decisions that I make from a positive emotional state, is because when I walk through the process of those choices, I find that the greatest lessons lie there; lessons that are meant to shape us into the very people that we intend to be.

A simple shift in one’s awareness from how bad it is (now) to how great it is (when we first imagined it, and even now, as long as we choose to only entertain the good) will reveal that there is no such thing as a mistake or coincidence when you are operating from SOURCE. If you can continue to exercise faith by walking through your process, then perseverance will show you that none of your focused effort will ever be in vain.

So if you made the decision with the good intentions, stick with it, and in doing so continue to be your best self. Watch how your process turns from obstacle to open opportunity to grow abundantly. When you finally “arrive,” you can look back and say, “It was all a part of my process, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

LOVE,

@BCSTARKS

Words of Wisdom

Affirmation:  “I deserve all the good that I desire for my life, and the Universe supports me as I am. I love and approve of myself. I am always safe and secure, and all is well in my world.” 

– Borrowed from Louise Hay

There is power in being kind to yourself

I’m at an interesting point in my life where I’m gaining a better understanding about the power of kindness and compassion for self.  Most of us would like to believe that we are kind and compassionate by nature, and to a certain degree we are. But kindness and compassion for self  is something that most people struggle with on a large-scale, including myself for some time.

It wasn’t until I came to understand the concept that you can only effectively be the “thing” for others, that  you are for yourself, that my eyes began to open. My personal struggle was that I couldn’t be as compassionate and kind towards others as I really wanted to  because I had mental blocks that wouldn’t even allow me to be gentle, or feel compassion for myself. At first this was a hard pill to swallow, that is until I began to dig deeper.

The truth is, I had always been very hard on myself, especially when it came to setting goals, and getting things accomplished. I’m not quite sure where I learned it from, but I recall being extremely critical with myself whenever I felt that I didn’t meet a certain goal, or complete certain tasks.   Guilty as charged.

Luckily for me, I was able to identify this as something that I NEEDED  to change within myself to allow myself room to grow in other areas. If I wanted to have a better relationship with life (which includes relationships with family, friends, partners, as well as better experiences, health, etc.) I needed to get a grip on showing myself some TLC, and a lot more of it.

In order to do this, I began to put an end to criticizing myself, even for the slightest of things. We don’t recognize what powerful messages we are constantly sending the Universe when we criticize ourselves. Every single time you find something to criticize yourself about, you are subconsciously telling the Universe “I’m not good enough.” Therefore, you attract experiences and people into your life that give you more validation of not being good enough. Think about your life long and hard, and try to understand what I’m talking about… This is exactly what I knew I had to put an end to. 

Once you become aware of criticism within yourself, you have to tell yourself the opposite of what you normally would, something nice for a change. Tell yourself you are beautiful/handsome, flaws and all; that you love and approve of yourself no matter where you are in life; that you are never lacking because God always provides for you; that you forgive yourself for anything that you previously disapproved of; that you are where you are, and that is perfectly okay because every situation in life is temporary; that you respect your life process and trust that you always make the right decisions that will add to your growth. All of these thoughts counteract the negative one’s that you’ve probably been telling yourself all your life. Repeating them as often as possible, especially when you feel the need to criticize yourself or others, will begin to set you free.

When you can focus on becoming a better you, there is no room for finding fault in others. Therefore, you can be genuinely kind and compassionate towards others, because you will begin to be it for yourself. More importantly, the Universe will begin to support every positive thought that you bring to it, and life will begin to be much more rewarding.

Remember, thoughts become things. And whatever it is that you choose to believe becomes true for you.

You wish for better, but do you welcome it?

Every now and then we all find ourselves at a particular point in our lives when we wish that things would get just a little bit better.  And boy is it easy to become so consumed with what is going on around you, only to forget about everything that is already “better.” 

During the course of my own life journey I’ve been known to complain here and there about how much I need a break from what life dishes out at me. Yes, guilty as charged. But it’s never really long before I am reminded of the role that I must play, in order for things to lighten up. 

First of all, there’s this little concept called “attitude of gratitude.” The way it works is that when you approach life and situations with the energy and intentions of being grateful, instead of being full of complaints, then Universe will only return to you more things to be grateful for. It really does work this way… TRIED & TRUE!  

But it must be accompanied by an additional action on your behalf. That is, letting go of whatever it is that you have held on to. This can be a number of things such as past relationships, old and new fears, bad habits, criticism of yourself and others, and past hurts and offenses among other things. These are the things that keep you in bondage and can block any and every blessing that the GOD truly intends for you. Without letting go of this excessive baggage, quite frankly you wouldn’t know better if it smacked you in the face.

Think about it, how often is it that you visit places where you know you are not welcomed, especially if  its overcrowded? My guess is that most people naturally avoid such awkward situations. Animals instinctively do this too, and life responds the same exact way. Only the  things that you welcome into your life become a frequent part of your life experience, because it’s what you allow at the time.

Learn to release those things that serve you no good because it’ll only be taking up the space within. If you don’t welcome better with open arms by releasing all things old, then how will the “good” ever come? You must trust that the very things that you are wanting, want you just as bad. But you have to make those things feel welcomed.

@BCSTARKS over and out! 🙂