After a few hard-hitting romantic relationships, we tend to carry scars around like reminders of what to expect the next time around. We hope for true love but wait secretly (or maybe subconsciously) for the reoccurring weed to spout in our fairy tale gardens.
Of course, Sex and the City explains it best, when Carrie Bradshaw writes:
“We’re aware, as smart, single women, that we can’t expect perfection, but life still manages to throw us curve balls. Maybe, once you’re into your mid-30s, it shouldn’t be called dating. It should be called waiting for the other shoe to drop… Why is it always something?” – (Season 6, Episode 2; “Great Sexpectations”)
During this episode, Carrie realizes the perfect guy she’s falling for is bad in bed, and Charlotte changes her religion for a man who will only marry a Jewish woman.
All good, clean, fun examples written to resolve in a single television show, but real-life examples tend to be messier. Once a little deeper into dating, or even marriage, the shoes dropping increase in size — like cheating, abuse and addiction. These experiences shift a loving relationship into the dark, or maybe bring those shadows to the surface.
The best way to deal with shoes that tumble down giant cliffs is to seek truth from great teachers of self-love and empowerment. They show us how to metaphysically shine more light on a situation and crawl out from the cave of self-pity. At the very least, they offer a kind of mystical distraction from an event causing restlessness in the body and mind.
Here are the top five books that have helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. Collectively, they’re like a self-help starter kit.
All are available digitally and the authors have helpful websites to check out. But personally, I prefer a good-old, beat-up book on love. Aaaand if you happen to find yourself (teary-eyed) in a library or bookstore looking for these instead of online, remember, there ain’t no shame in the self-help section.
1. The Path To Love, Deepak Chopra
On the top for a reason, I strongly believe in the power of this book to teach one of life’s most important, worth-learning lessons — how to TRULY love. I thought I knew until I read this book.
Surprisingly, I have probably suggested this book on intimate relationships to others mostly at times of break-ups, when it might feel too late to rekindle love. But, even if the relationship is over, Chopra still teaches some important lessons on why everything went wrong. It beautifully explains how always coming from a place of love (versus fear) changes perceptions of ourselves and others. This then, makes it easier to live in a lighter space, which improves our general state of well-being.
The thread throughout the chapters — love is always guiding us in the direction that’s best for our souls.
2. The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz
Short, sweet and simple — that’s what makes this teaching so effective. Spirituality can get complex and difficult to digest in our hard-working minds. The agreements proposed in this book drop an ancient Toltec perspective on the self-defeating reality of gossip and judgment. Ruiz offers techniques to shift our focus and help us out of those harmful habits.
The book starts by breaking down our overactive minds into a visual metaphor. Then, he shows how to make room for empowering thoughts to take over instead.
3. You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay
Okay, this is like step one to understanding more about that magical land beyond the ego. At its core, Hay unwraps deep beliefs of shame we didn’t even know we all carry, then offers simple steps for transformation.
I remember reading it for the first time. I was a 19-year-old “Zony” who just moved to the beautiful San Diego. A few times a week, I parked my car over Sunset Cliffs to cry and read and cry. That book got me through some of my first heartbreaks.
4. You’ll See It When You Believe It, Wayne Dyer
All about manifesting your dreams, this book expands on a similar concept to The Secret by Rhonda Byrne — a book hitting the mainstream in a big way and even has its own documentary. But Dyer has a charm about his writing that takes the idea to a place that resonates, connecting a thread of understanding and explaining why the You’ll See It When You Believe It outlook makes sense. Sometimes it’s hard to implement the abstract lessons of self-help books into real life.
This book may be the most straight forward of the pack on how to manifest your most sincere dreams into reality, no limits necessary.
5. A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
In nearly every spiritual book, authors describe a collective consciousness — the web of connectivity between all living things (and maybe non-living too). Tolle made this his whole foundation.
The writing describes an attainable world where egos no longer rule, and we have pulled our own dark places into the light. This personal shift of renouncing our own control- and fear-based habits, even through the hurdles of pain, reverberates a source of enlightenment for the whole world. Now, isn’t that special 🙂
Oprah dedicated a dozen of her podcast episodes to A New Earth, diving into one chapter at a time. Listening to a couple of those can give you a taste for the premise of the book.