About Erica

Living Your Why

Top 16 Resources

featured wholehearted living

Books to Inspire a Kinder Inner Voice

"Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It"—And 7 other books to inspire a kinder inner voice! A Self-Love Reading List

I don’t know whether it was a dad or an uncle or a family friend who started it, but the exchange I heard while standing next to my son in a rock-climbing line has rung through my head ever since.

“Why didn’t you make it to the top?” the mid-thirties man asked, looking down at the boy.

“My hands got sweaty,” the boy answered.

“Well, you can’t let Milo show you up,” the man said, gesturing to the boy scaling the rock wall at the moment. “He’s four years younger than you. This time you NEED to get to the top.”

The boy looked at the towering rock wall and rubbed his hands together, nodding in nervous agreement.

Unfortunately, exchanges like this one find us all. The messages we internalize chip away at our self-worth, and over time they erode what could have become one of the most powerful forces any of us can have: a reservoir of self-love.

"Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It"—And 7 other books to inspire a kinder inner voice! I’m passionate about learning to treat myself with kindness and compassion, first because I feel so much better when I do, and second, because I want my children to do the same.

I want my children to stand in front of a rock wall knowing that a high five is waiting, whether they conquer the wall or step away before even reaching for that first handhold. {42 Ways to Make Your Kids Feel Absolutely Loved}

But more importantly, I want them to be sure enough in themselves that they don’t hang their worth on anything, especially not something as inconsequential as an artificial rock wall on wheels. ;)

So it’s for both myself and for my kids that I’m forever trying to reinforce my kinder inner voice and shore up my reservoir of self-love. 

If you’re right there with me, then I hope you enjoy this self-love reading list—a collection of books that dip into authenticity, vulnerability, courage, and of course, self-love. Happy reading!

"Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It"—And 7 other books to inspire a kinder inner voice!Books to Inspire a Kinder Inner Voice: A Self-Love Reading List

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It – by Kamal Ravikant

When Kamal Ravikant found himself at rock bottom, he decided to start practicing some life-changing self-love and to never look back.

I especially love the audio version, because at only 56 minutes long and with the personal touch of his voice as the narrator, it feels like a friend laying himself open, sharing what he did to turn his life upside down.

“Love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging from a cliff with your fingers. As if your life depended on it. Once you get going, it’s not hard to do. It just takes commitment.”

The Power of Vulnerability – by Brené Brown

No one I know of writes better about loving yourself than Brené Brown. She writes about wholehearted people—people who never put their worth on the table, no matter how many times they fall. She writes about living inside our own stories instead of hustling for our worthiness. She writes about vulnerability and courage—and how much those two concepts interplay.

My absolute favorite work of Brené’s is The Power of Vulnerability, which is a recording of her speaking. You get a sense for who she really is by listening to her voice and her jokes and by hearing her interact with her audience. (FYI, there is a lot of overlap between The Power of Vulnerability and The Gifts of Imperfection, so if you’d rather read than listen, go for that one.)

Love Does – by Bob Goff

I swear someday the stars are going to align and Bob Goff and I are going to become the best of friends. He sees the world and faith and love just the way I want to see the world and faith and love.

The book is a collection of engaging stories (like the time he got rejected by his first love or the time he accidentally became an ambassador) that perfectly illustrate each lesson he took away.

I think everyone takes something different away from a book, but more than a year later, what *I* remember taking away is that living with your eyes open to wonder is the happiest way to live.

Carry On, Warrior – by Glennon Doyle Melton

I enjoyed this book so much that I immediately gave a copy to my sister. It’s essential reading for any of us who are tangled up in the roles of mother, wife, sister, friend but still want to remember that under it all, we are just ourselves.

I couldn’t have said it better than the Amazon intro: “Glennon’s writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard.”

Scary Close – by Donald Miller

Although to my memory Donald doesn’t talk directly about self-love in this book, it is filled with stories about knowing yourself, living authentically, and the risk of being known. (So basically, all of my favorite subjects.)

One story in particular has stuck with me from this book: Donald tells of his friend who had a traumatic brain injury and forever afterward said whatever he thought, without any filters. (Oh and he also started dressing like an artist.) What would it be like to have no inhibitions?

The Highly Sensitive Person – by Elaine N. Aron
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking  – by Susan Cain

I’m including the two titles above because… it is so much easier to love yourself when you know yourself. Simple as that. If you’re easily overwhelmed by noise, smells, busyness, and your own thoughts, The Highly Sensitive Person may be for you. And if you find yourself retreating when you need to recharge, Quiet might be for you.

“When we try to suppress what makes us who we are, we risk losing the gifts that come with our temperaments.” Daisy Gumin

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration – by Meera Lee Patel

This is the only book on the list that I haven’t held in my hands (or, er, held in my Audible app), but I definitely want to! Known for her stationary and textiles, Meera Lee Patel applied her vibrant style to this journal, designed to help readers find more clarity in the chaos of life. (This would also make a beautiful gift!)

"Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It"—And 7 other books to inspire a kinder inner voice! I purposefully didn’t number this list, so I can come back and add to it whenever I read something that supports a kind inner voice. Follow along on Facebook or sign up for my monthly newsletter, and I’ll let you know next time I update it! Thanks as always for being here! 

Now, what books would you add to this list? 

photo credit: Tevi Hardy Photography

6 pieces that worked hard for me this summer! -Erica at letwhylead.com
featured this and that

My Summer Wardrobe Staples

Time to shake up the pace around here with the perfect Friday post: summer wardrobe staples! I love getting dressed during the fall and winter. Sweaters, leggings, and layers; sneakers and booties; cute coats and cozy sweatshirts. But summer……

5 Ways to Your Authentic Self
wholehearted living

5 Ways to Discover Your Authentic Self

When I was a teenager, the 30-somethings I knew understood life. They were comfortable in their own skin, had successful careers in fields they loved, and knew exactly what their purpose was. Right??? If that’s true, then I want to…