The Top 5 Ways I've Felt Shitty About Myself in the Past 10 Years

My bookshelves are lined with the self help greats. Pages are underlined and dog-eared. Some have 47 mini fluorescent post-its stuck to the edges. My journals, just a shelf away, are filled with excerpts and quotes and contemplations surrounding what I've read.

But if you're not a junkie like me who relishes in putzing around at night with these books rather than watching Game of Thrones (, then it can be a beast of a genre to navigate. Not to mention, filled with plenty of crap that really isn't worth reading.

When I consider a new book of this kind, I always stop and ask myself first: what do I need to hear right now? Where am I struggling? What’s making me feel particularly shitty? Once I’m clear on that, I start to explore my options.

To make it a little easier on you guys, I’ve identified the top five ways I’ve felt shitty about myself in the past 10 years, below, and the books that helped me through:

If you're feeling ripped in half by a breakup and worried your life is over forever/you'll never meet someone like that again, read Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. This was the first book a read after ending a 7 year relationship in my late 20s and it literally helped me stand again.

If you're feeling like you generally need a swift kick in the ass with some humor and woo woo mixed in, read Jen Sincero's You Are a Badass. This is a book I've taken to illegally photo-copying and snail mail-ing underlined sections to my clients.

If you feel like you're never good enough, smart enough, rich enough, or generally enough, and are terrified to be your true self around others, read Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. This is my favorite book out of all of hers, and I find it to be the thing that allowed me to truly be vulnerable, more so than Daring Greatly.

If you hate your body and feel like you can't stop hating your body (whilst stress eating mini chocolate chips) read Women, Food + Desire by Alexandra Jamieson OR Women, Food + God by Geneen Roth. Or both. Don't be deterred by the God talk in the latter. I don't consider myself religious but this book changed my life.

If you’re ready to go deep, like REAL deep, and transform your relationship with yourself, your world, and your thoughts get yourself a copy of The Untethered Soul. This one is near and dear to my heart. I read it when I was in Bali in 2018 and contemplating completely uprooting my life and it was so.damn.powerful. I credit it with helping me blast through every bit of fear that was coursing through my veins.

For any of these, I implore you, buy the hard copy. Mark it up. Revisit it. Hold it close. Yes, you might get some weird looks on the subway, but this is all part of the journey of giving less and less fucks what other people think.

xx Clara


Clara Artschwager