Our Top Books by kick-ass women to help you reconnect with yourself
Finding a sustainable, compassionate connection with yourself is hard. Let’s be honest, we are all our own worst enemies. Well, all except maybe Donald Trump…But it’s true that the way in which we speak to ourselves can be appallingly hostile and aggressive. If we could hear the abuse everyone’s inner voice hurls at us out loud, we’d probably all be locked up in a mental institute.
Part of the reason we get so frustrated with ourselves is because we feel a certain disconnect with the way our bodies and our minds work, meaning rather than being understanding about why on some days we may be a little impulsive, on edge or under the weather, we attack ourselves, often perpetuating feelings of angst and depression. It becomes a vicious cycle, playing out over and over again.
Figuring out that there is a disconnection between your mind and body, and also a disjunction between how you see yourself and what is actually going on, can really help you to be more compassionate towards yourself.
The question is, how do you reconnect these disconnected parts? How do you put the pieces back together again to feel whole, loved and centred?
Luckily for you, there are some life-affirming female writers out there who can help you to transform your self-relationship. Not sure where to begin? In no particular order, here are some incredible books which will help you to reconnect with yourself.
‘Period Power’ by Maisie Hill (2019)
As much loved goddess Kristen Scott Thomas quotes in our favourite fleabag episode: “Women are born with pain built-in. It’s our physical destiny. Period pains, sore boobs, childbirth, you know. We carry it within ourselves throughout our lives.”
Period pains can be ghastly, and then there’s the spots, the insatiable appetite, mood swings, migraines, anaemia, PCOS or endometriosis, ruined white trousers, endless pant disasters and not to mention running out of tampons last minute or there being NO. BIN. in public toilets. The list goes on, and on, and on…
And yet! Could having a period actually be a more… pleasant occurrence? Yes! Well, kind of. Maisie Hill has written an incredible work of art on how to change how you see your periods.
Maisie essentially breaks down exactly what goes on in our bodies during our monthly cycles and why it affects so many different aspects of our organism in the process. For example, did you know it’s a good thing (in most cases) if your skin maybe gets a little spotty or oily in the build-up to your period? It means your hormones are changing and working to help you menstruate. Knowing that spots are a sign that my body is working properly and doing its job before would have saved me years of zooming in on my face and hating on my skin because of one measly spot. Better late than never though!
Understanding why and how our bodies and minds respond to certain nervous activity, brain signals and hormones during our cycle can help us to become so much more connected with ourselves and how we work, making for a more loving, understanding and compassionate self-relationship.
‘Women who run with the wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estés (1992)
I think one of the most beautiful things about women is that we come together. Throughout history, women across the globe have grouped together to protect, to support and to prove there is strength in numbers.
Ever wondered why, sometimes, when you’re really close to a female friend your periods end up syncing? There are some interesting, evolutionary (and, quite frankly, bloody beautiful) theories behind that which I think totally demonstrates how and why women come together. It is thought that women evolved to synchronise periods to make sure that in tribal packs there wasn’t a single fertile woman at any on time at risk of being raped or attacked by the male members of the pack. This special little gene has been passed down for thousands of years, and still shines through – even when we’re not any real danger – to show the true bond between women. By nature, we really are protective, giving and selfless. We want to support, to love and to share.
Clarissa digs deep to way back when to help us to understand why our intuition isn’t just a fairy-like inkling but part of our corporeal, genetic heritage.
‘Eat Yourself Happy’ by Dr Megan Rossi (2019)
We know. Some foods just make you want to cry with happiness because they’re so damn tasty. But, sadly, no matter how tasty some meals are, they don’t always make our guts that happy. And, with the gut playing the part of our second brain (with over 90% of our positive endorphins being produced down there), having an unhappy gut means having an unhappy mind.
Dr Megan Rossi has done us all a major favour and written a book about how we can please our guts in order to please ourselves. And, no, it’s not about going on some horrendous, restrictive diet! Yay! It’s about making yourself feel good through what you put into your body. Many diet books can be super triggering. They can cause us to have a really negative relationship with food. However, Dr Megan Rossi writes in a way that rebuilds that burnt bridge between food and happiness. Double yay!
Figuring out what kinds of foods don’t contribute to sound gut health and, concomitantly, improved mental health, Dr Megan Rossie helps us to understand how our diet is majorly connected to our sense of wellbeing, allowing us to be more in tune with how our bodies affect our minds, one small mouthful at a time.
‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ by Elizabeth Gilbert (2015)
Sometimes, we just get those eureka moments. Out of the blue, when we’re minding our own business, then BAM! We’re hit with the idea we’ve been searching for all along. It’s as if the universe is speaking to us, guiding us forward. That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert believes anyway. Elizabeth believes in the power of magic and, more importantly, allowing your creativity to roam free.
In ‘Big Magic’, Elizabeth Gilbert explores the ways we can become more connected with our creative souls, starting by locating any restrictions in our lives that hinder or block our creative juices. This magical, insightful read will honestly make you believe in magic again. Not believing in voodoo or witchcraft but in something bigger, greater, grander and beyond our imagination guiding us forth – think a mini creative-guardian angel watching over you.
Elizabeth exquisitely discusses how to live a more ‘free-life’, becoming more connected to what actually matters to YOU. This is the ultimate self-help book for letting your soul wander, your creativity flourish and reconnecting with the wonder and magic which within each and every one of us.
‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain (2012)
This one is for all the ‘quiet’ ones out there. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve been ridiculed, demoralised or humiliated for being the ‘quiet one’, this book will forever change how you feel about that label.
I’d definitely class myself as an introvert and it’s something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. Until I read ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain. Susan expertly lays out all the positives of being a little quieter and shows that in actual fact, the quieter we allow ourselves to be, the more peace and clarity we can often find within.
As Baba Ram Dass once said, “the quieter you are, the more answers will come”. That isn’t to say that extroverts will never find peace or clarity! Don’t misunderstand. But it is to say that there is a beauty and a blessing in being able to be quiet, vulnerable and inward-looking that should be praised rather than seen as a limitation. Rather than trying to change the more quiet, insular parts of ourselves, Susan talks about how we can truly connect with these elements to reach our full potential.
Do you ave any favourite book that belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments!