Being in your 20’s is like being in several trial runs. You’re constantly trying to figure it out and see what sticks. Constant thoughts run through your mind like:
Maybe I’ll like this hair cut. This style feels like me…this one definitely doesn’t. I think my boundaries are here. Maybe I can be more carefree with dating. I don’t think that’s where I’m at. Do I want to go to this church? Or church at all? Do I like my job? Should I change focus? Maybe this guy. Definitely not this guy. I’ll buy the plane ticket. Man, I stayed out too late. Can I still be the party girl? Or should I get my life together? Can I have both? What does it look like to actually have your life together? What does it mean to me?
Questions followed by self-discovery is a regular occurrence around here. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I had no clue. No. clue. I was coming with a U-Haul of accumulated things from college, Scout and a job which is pretty lucky for people moving here. I had never lived outside of Colorado or without a roommate. Moving to LA, I had never even been here and didn’t know one person. It was insane. And hard and painful and joyful and downright courageous. Now that I’m nearing the end of my 20’s (I turn 29 this year), I look back and realize how clueless I really was. I didn’t feel naive or young coming out here but now I realize what a baby I really was.
I’m a Cancer (heyo, water signs!) and that means I’m all up in the feels. Ruled by the moon and my emotions. I wouldn’t buy into this stuff so much if I wasn’t a Cancer to a T. An aspect that is a piece of my foundation is needing to make sense of my emotions, the world around me, and how I affect it and how it affects me in return. Enter self-help books.
Are you rolling your eyes yet?
I know self-help books used to get a bad rap. Luckily, our generation is into self-actualization. So let’s cast that worry aside that’s wrapped up in judgment. If someone judges for reading a self-help book, i.e learning about yourself to be better for the world then I probably have a self-help book in mind that they could maybe dive into. No thank you, NEXT!
Let’s get to the good stuff.
Brene Brown. The queen of self-actualization. I owe so much of my emotional intelligence to this woman. Before her, I was a crying mess and at least now, I know why! But seriously, Daring Greatly is a book I’ve read repeatedly, trying to soak up different aspects, needing different parts of it each time. If you haven’t listened to her Ted Talk, do that first. I can not put enough weight on how much this book transformed the way I think about my vulnerability and how it goes hand in hand with my courage.
Queen. I’m telling you. I own all her books and am slowly making my way through them as I can emotionally handle them. They rock my world that much. Rising Strong dives deep into what it looks like to rise strong after you’ve fallen down. Your character is in how you rise up in the face of adversity. I read this book after losing two of the most important people in my life in just a little over a year span and with a year of unemployment under my belt. It brought me to my knees and helped me give me the courage to stand back up. Then her Netflix special came out and I bawled like a baby. I’m all up in my feels, what can I say?!
This one is a bible study that I did with my women’s group. It was so good that I bought a copy for my mom to do too. I have been a Christian my whole life, was dedicated to the church as a baby and baptized at 9. I was in Sunday School, VBS, and Awanas. Shout out if you know what those last two are. What I’m trying to say here is I’ve always been a Christian and come from a long line of them. And still, there are numerous times where I have felt like I don’t know how to hear God. Is He talking to me? What can I do to hear from Him better? Am I a bad Christian because I feel like I don’t hear God? This study answers all of that and more.
After participating in this story, I hear and feel God clearly. And when I don’t, I have practices and scriptures and promises to fall back on to gain clarity again. Whether you’re in your 20’s or not, this study could transform your spiritual life.
Red Sea Rules is only 128 pages so I have read it quite a few times and gifted it to more than a couple friends. Right on the cover, it says it gives 10 God-given strategies for difficult times. There are 10 Red Sea Rules each with its own real-life application and biblical support. The very first rule is “realize that God means for you to be where you are.” So often it feels like we’re not where we’re meant to be or behind. From the very first chapter, it gives biblical proof that you are right where God intends for you to be. This is definitely a book I refer back to easily when I’m having a harder time. I first read this when I moved to LA and felt completely alone. This book reminded me that I’m never alone when I have God. Heavy, I know but effective.
The world fell in love with Elizabeth Gilbert with Eat, Pray, Love. Honestly, that’s another book that made a big impact. Not necessarily the book itself, although wonderful, but just the idea that I didn’t have to live in a box. That idea continued on in Big Magic. This book is…well…magical. I was on fire after I read this. I want a creative, big, magical, beautiful life. This book put into words what my heart was feeling. I knew I wanted to be creative in some capacity but doubt also followed that dream. Elizabeth Gilbert writes, “..feel free to start sharing your perspective through creativity, even if you’re just a kid. If you are young, you see things differently than I do and I want to know how you see things.” To be bold and honest, this book is why I have this blog.
When I first started my career in the film industry, I realized the position I was going to be in with production management wasn’t as creative as I wanted to be. I needed an outlet. So I started this blog while working on my second film. It was after reading this book that my doubts of “maybe I’m too young to know anything” or “maybe my perspective doesn’t matter” were banished and labeled as lies.
If you are a creative person or want to let that part of you forward, read this book. Seriously.
Another author I’ll read anything from and another book we did in bible study. I have never been good at having boundaries, I’ll be the first to admit. There are a lot of reasons wrapped up into why but I will tell you that this book set me free in regards to doing what is best for me and others. Spoiler: sometimes the best yes is a no. Giving yourself that freedom and space will level up your life. It’s as simple as that.
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
A sensation, I know. This book, again? I know, I KNOW. But have you read it yet? It’s so good. In a tough love kind of way, Jen breaks it down why an awesome life is out there waiting for you, you just have to take it. This book is popular for a reason besides the fact that it says “badass” on the cover. Which you are, btw.
Surprise! I’ve thrown in a couple of fiction series! Okay, let me tell you how these. have helped me in my 20’s. These two series by the same author are two of my all-time favorite series, next to Harry Potter. Big statements here! These series are so empowering. Both of them have a female lead characters who are brave and strong. They have been through it and are rising strong. See what I did there? Role models, even fictional, are important. When we read stories like these, we imagine ourselves in them and take a piece of their courage with us. Unforgettable series. I have the whole set of both series and never have the full set of either on my shelves because my friends are always borrowing them. Just trust me on this one.
I’m realizing as I write this list of self-help books just how many of these I’ve gifted. I think what a lot of these books have in common is they gave me permission and tools. When you’re in your 20’s, there are so many variables and life is so wide open. I’m a millennial and I think something our generation is both blessed and cursed to have is the gift of choice. There are so many options and we’ve been told our whole lives to follow our dreams. That’s great but what does that mean? What does that look like? I also think that’s what plagues the dating scene but I digress 😛
I hope you’ve found your next read here. If you need any other suggestions, I have only a hundred more. I just want to encourage you to be patient with yourself. We don’t know what we don’t know and then when we do, we just take steps to learn. That’s what self-help books are for. To help. We can’t know it all and why not learn from those who have come before us?
happy reading and learning,
Let’s be friends on Goodreads!
Want to catch up on some reading? Here’s last week’s post: