I love to read! My mother told me I learned to read when I was three years old. However, I am sure I only memorized the two books she repeatedly read to me.
Throughout my life, reading has not only offered a source of enjoyment, but it was a vehicle to escape childhood drama. Reading also provides an unlimited storehouse of information. The written words of others have always informed, encouraged and inspired me.
When I finally accepted that I was in an abusive marriage that showed no signs of improvement, I knew I had to make a complete change in my life and the life of my children. However, I needed a plan and the courage to move forward.
I was always fascinated by the story of Moses in The Bible. God gave him the courage, wisdom, and power to lead the Israelites out of bondage. He also gave Moses a plan of action. Moses believed he was not capable of this new leadership position, but God said he would be with him. Moses also said he did not speak well, but God said He would tell him what to say. This Old Testament story has been a great source of inspiration for me.
I have also been profoundly influenced by the life and teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Contrary to the traditions of the culture and time, Jesus honored women in his ministry. Even his own disciples were shocked by the dignity, respect, and compassion Jesus extended to women.
In addition to my faith, I am also a firm believer in seeking help if you need it. We are here to help each other. People such as psychologists, life coaches, social workers, pastors, and caring friends can be invaluable. Keep searching until you find a person who is able to truly hear you and support you.
After working with my life coach for a few sessions, she said I needed to practice self-care. I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought my job was to take care of others. She referred me to The Art of Extreme Self Care by Cheryl Richardson. This book gives you twelve self-care strategies to practice. There is one strategy for each month. The book is very reader-friendly and offers excellent advice to get you on your way to learning how to take care of yourself and how to show others how you want to be treated.
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. is a classic. This book helps us to understand and come to grips with the difficulties of life. Even though life can be hard and painful, the lessons you learn from the journey lead to greater self-awareness and life appreciation.
Similarly, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron offers wise advice and encouragement for moving on when we are overwhelmed by the pain and difficulties of life. This book helped me to see myself right in the middle of one of life’s lessons. We can all use our difficulties as a path for personal growth, compassion, and change.
I always thought I never got angry. Then I learned that I had buried it all inside of me. The Dance of Anger: A Women’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner helped me to appreciate the reality of anger in all of us. We can identify the source of our anger and use it as a constructive tool for positive change.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is the first of seven autobiographical books she wrote. Through all of her work, we learn that all of our stories matter. We can use our own stories and the lessons learned to reach out to the world.
A few years ago, I thought I was having a heart attack. After medical intervention, I learned that I had experienced a panic attack. The problem was anxiety. There is a very strong connection between the health of the mind and that of the body. Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M.D. provides a wealth of information regarding the full range of women’s health. She demonstrates through professional knowledge, case studies, and wisdom that we can listen to our bodies for guidance in our lives. I highly recommend all of Dr. Northrup’s work. Check out her website. (www.drnorthrup.com)
Most women wind up being abused because of unhealthy choices while dating. Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend provides critical information to enable the reader to make wise choices in friendships and dating relationships. Chapters such as “Why Boundaries in Dating” and “Say No to Disrespect” along with many, many more will give you the insight and awareness needed to avoid being abused.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is another classic. This book offers a time-proven approach to embracing change by living according to your values. This approach gives you the knowledge, wisdom, and confidence to move forward in your life.
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. has offered life-changing tools to improve my relationships and contribute to my personal growth. I grew up in an angry household where effective communication barely existed. This book has helped me to better understand the past, and it has provided me with much-needed tools for self-expression.
In many ways, your early childhood experiences contributed to how you view yourself today. The abuse you have experienced in your adult relationship is most likely the product of situations in your childhood home. These experiences from the past were totally out of your control. Kids Who Carry Our Pain by Robert Hemfelt and Dr. Paul Warren offers time-proven advice to help you break the cycle of negative influences in the home. As a result of being mindful of your home environment, your children are provided the opportunity to live their own lives.