Lessons I’ve Learned from Reading Personal Growth Books

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Several months ago, a friend recommended a book called E-Squared by Pam Grout. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Or even read it?

personal growth books glasses
Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

I was seeking suggestions for reading material as I had been in a reading funk. (And I really wasn’t in the mood for the Harry Potter series…again. I mean, it’s one of my favorites, but you can only read it so many times in a lifetime, right?)

My friend explained E-Squared was basically about manifesting the reality you desire and the Law of Attraction, the theory that our thoughts are made of energy and we attract what we focus on.

I’d heard of the LOA before, but never gave it much thought.

So I checked E-Squared out from the library and read it. I was going through a difficult time and figured it might shine some hope my way.

I admit it, I loved it. So I followed it with E-Cubed (by the same author). And then, I may have become slightly addicted to the “self-improvement” genre.

personal growth books

I devoured several other books after the “E” ones: Thank and Grow Rich(again, by Ms. Grout), You are a BadassThe Game of Life and How to Play It,The Four AgreementsHelp Thanks Wow, and You Can Heal Your Life, among others.

As I read each book, I began noticing something. While from differing perspectives, the message always seemed remarkably similar. This isn’t a criticism. I was intrigued that these authors were able to describe basically the same concepts, but in their own unique — and entertaining — voices.

The following are the main concepts that I extracted from my reading, and my understanding of each one.

Self-love and self-worth are paramount.

They are the foundation on which we build all of our relationships. In general,we don’t allow others to treat us any worse than we treat ourselves. If we have a very low self-worth, that sets the bar low for conduct from others. Loving ourselves creates a high standard of what kind of treatment we will allow from other people.

personal growth woman hands heart
Photo by Wang Xi on Unsplash

This is not the same as conceit or ego or selfishness, which is usually based on fear that others might see us as less than worthy. Developing and maintaining positive self-worth on the other hand is realizing and understanding that we have as much right as anyone else to exist and that we are loved unconditionally by the Universe that created us.

Self-worth can be created and grown. But it takes practice. Most people are so used to diminishing their own worth by telling themselves they’re worthless, not good enough, too fat, to quiet, to this-or that.

A simple — but difficult at first — method to self-love is to tell yourself affirmations every day as often as possible, all the time. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how much you are loved, how beautiful you are. Some of my affirmations are sweet and nice; other times, I give myself the proverbial tough love when I need it. It all works for me.

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. — Brené Brown

It will seem silly at first, but with practice, it will become second nature. Even if you don’t believe the affirmations at first, keep at it, and eventually you will become to know they are true. If you were willing to believe the destructive lies that you told yourself, you can certainly learn to believe the truths that you are in fact priceless and loved beyond measure.

Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

At first, this can be difficult in practice. Society constantly tells us what we need, and we always need more or we can’t be happy. The news and media consistently remind us that we have very little to be grateful for.

personal growth woman sunflower
Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

But when we are thankful for what we already have, we don’t feel like we need more, more, more.

Practicing gratitude provides us with a sense of contentment and peace (and an uncluttered living space as a bonus). But it goes further than that. When we are grateful for what we have, it compels us to want to provide for and be of service to others.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. — Gilbert K. Chesterton

We create our own realities and everyone’s is different.

This concept basically states that we all view things from different perspectives. Folks view situations based on their preconceived ideas and the judgments that have been ingrained in their minds during their lifetimes.

So whose perspective is “right?”

Take the old woman/young woman optical illusion. One person will see the young woman. Someone else will see the old lady. Both folks are looking at the exact same picture, yet both see completely different subjects, and both are correct. This proves we all see things differently and we can all be right.

An extension of this concept is that we can actually control and change our thoughts and preconceived ideas. We control our thoughts, not the other way around.

This too takes practice, but once it’s mastered, it opens doors to the insights of others as well as ourselves. Furthermore, we can create or change our realities simply by changing or controlling our thoughts about our situations.

We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us. — Epictetus

And our thoughts are energy. According to the Law of Attraction, we can attract love, compassion, wealth and a multitude of other positive experiences by expressing these things ourselves.


I’ve implemented these concepts into my life and have experience positive changes. Perhaps they can help you as well. ❤

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