From a pretty young age, I’ve believed knowledge is power. A big part of how this belief formed for me was through lived experiences that showed me how education can be my ticket out from the circumstances I was born into. It’s simple: what you know can drive your life decisions - from the smallest of moments to the biggest ones.
If you’re anything like me, you may be craving to curl up with a good book this holiday season. Good reads can be inspiring and life changing. They help you gain perspective, renew your hope, and motivate you to take steps to improve your life, your health, and your relationships.
Here are my favorite books and authors from 2022 that have both lit me up and challenged me.
Inspired by Maya Angelou’s life, work, and words “You are only free when you realize you belong no place - you belong every place - no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” Brené speaks honestly to this journey of belonging to yourself and how she personally understood its true meaning. She’s an amazing storyteller who backs her work with data. She beautifully blends these in talking about the spiritual crisis of disconnection and the quest for belonging. This book, like many of her works, is a conversation changer. She urges you to be who you are, and maps a way for you to do this, while not denying how difficult the road this.
Moroccan American Enterpreneur Iman helps you rewrite your story of self-sabotaging beliefs especially when it comes to the things blocking you from thriving in your career, work, and dreams. She talks about power, likeability, authenticity, and more. If you want to rewrite the narrative of your success, this book is for you!
Gabor Maté has continued to revitalize the conversation about addiction, trauma, culture, and healing through various publications and works. In this book, he provides common sense insights backed by science about illness and healing. He emphasizes the role of the environment in this. His main point? Your body can heal when it’s supported by the right conditions for it to heal.
In this book, which was published seven years after her first, Pema highlights the power of connecting through kindness, including kindness to yourself. The main focus of this book is acceptance: She talks about how it is the hardest thing you would do in your life. AND, why that’s so crucial.
In this book, Egyptian American author and journalist, Mona Eltahawy, speaks fiercely to women and girls about harnessing their power unapologitcally outside of the confines of patriarchy. She teaches you how to tap into your fury to dismantle a system of oppression that crosses the lines of class, race, faith, and gender. She knows this too well, like many women with this shared lived experience, and this book is her call to action.
Author, activist, and change-maker, Glennon Doyle speaks her truth in this memoir and how she found her voice by listening inward. Soulful, tender, and unapologetic, she speaks with empathy and honesty about moving through life disconnected and discontent. Then, navigating to a more authentic life. She doesn’t pretend that this authenticity is all rosey. Authenticity comes with its own challenges. But she reminds us that it’s worth it!
This one is an oldie but a goodie! In my early days becoming a trauma therapist, I was introduced to Peter Levine’s work - a pioneer in understanding the impact of trauma on the body (i.e. somatic experiencing). He draws examples from nature to help you understand why you might react the way you do to overwhelming painful experiences. He normalizes the symptoms of trauma, helps you understand why they happen, and offers a hopeful vision for your healing.
Pema is an author and a Tibetan Buddhist master. She blends impeccable advice on how to deal with difficult situations that seem to not have a resolution, with inspiring spirituality, and practical ways to use communication as a tool for healing yourself and others. If you’re not familiar with her work, this is a good start.
Books have a way of taking us to unfamiliar places or bringing the spotlight to blind spots we might have in already familiar places. As you move through the holiday season, and cozy up with the book of your choice, share with me, if you feel called to do so. What resonated with you? Is there a favorite quote that really stuck out for you that you’ve now embraced? How might you take the lessons with you into the new year and the new season?
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Hiba is a holistic psychotherapist specializing in trauma, couples treatment, and culture. She's passionate about solving mental health crises by practicing prevention. She brings over 18 years of experience working with individuals, couples, & families in her private practice. She is known for her work on the transmission of trauma and its impact on relationships.