Confidence is something we’re talking a lot about in IMAGE HQ. What gives us confidence, what can take it away, how to get more of it and how to manage a crisis when we find ourselves having none. It is the theme of our July issue. We spoke to many inspiring, hard-working Irish women about their thoughts on the topic and what makes their own confidence meter ebb and flow. The answers were all different; each one pinpointed a different moment in time when something clicked. Something that made them snap and realise, you know what? I couldn’t give a sh*** what you/society thinks, this makes me feel good.
Yet, to acknowledge that what makes you feel like the best version of yourself could mean little to another is important too. Some scorn inspirational quotes, for example, while others need them to snap out of the Monday Morning rut. There is no formula for confidence; it comes as it will; determined by age and wisdom and what we take in from the world around us. Reading success stories about the lives of others has always given me confidence. I stumbled on to what I loosely deemed a self-help book by accident two years ago, and these are what brings me to my happy place. Books that don’t preach, but encourage you to look at your life and see how you might implement a change that will make you more confident within yourself.
Below are my four self-help book recommendations that do the trick and boosted my own self-esteem tenfold:
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – and it’s all Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
I picked this one up only recently when my worrying over every little thing reached tipping point; it’s exhausting worrying about things that don’t really matter in the long run. And that is the premise of this read. It’s a book that will show you how you can stop obsessing over things – every tiny thing, in fact. It offers practical, simple observations about how we unnecessarily blow things out of proportion and overreact to things around us. It also gives advice on how we can give ourselves peace of mind over the things we cannot change. If you’re a worrier, you need to read this.
WE by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel
Part self-help book, part feminist manifesto, WE is intended as a guide for women through tasks and positive affirmations that mean we can be happier as individuals and work with our fellow women to improve the world around us. So, instead of the “me” culture that currently exists now, it develops into a “we” culture where we’re we support one another. Overall, the book intends to teach you nine life principals — honesty, acceptance, courage, trust, humility, peace, love, joy and kindness. As you move through each exercise, you should begin to feel more in tune with the best version of yourself and what makes you feel better as a person. And you can pick it up and leave it as the mood takes you; the idea is that it’s there as a guide when you need it.
How To Be A Person In The World by Heather Havrilesky
Havrilesky is the writer behind the brilliant Dear Polly columns from New York Magazine, and one takes the whole idea of a mere advice column to a new level, by turning what could be no-nonsense quippy responses into emotionally nuanced, essays on what it means to be a person in the world today. These essays are deeply self-aware and reflective with the right combination of sass and snark – particularly when she knows the one seeking advice knows they are in the wrong. She isn’t judgmental, and never pretends to know it all. She’ll tell you what the right thing is, even if it’s not what you want to hear and above all, reminds you that nothing in life is black and white; problems aren’t solved in question and answer formats – there is always a grey area. Wise and funny, it will make you stop and think – and feel better for it.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who’s Been There is a collection of advice columns that were published from 2010 to 2012 on the literary website Rumpus. Dear Sugar was the pseudonym for Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild in case you didn’t know). To this day, it remains in my top 10 favourite books of all time, because the advice is so real, so non-judgemental and so full of empathy. Strayed’s words aren’t sugar-coated, but they are kind, and full of compassion. They will make you think, make you laugh and cry and make you want to get out and live your life.
Do you have a favourite self-help read? Tell us in the comments!
Read more about confidence and owning it in the July issue of IMAGE Magazine, on shelves now
Main image by @theslowtraveler