Better Not Bitter: 5 Books for Bossing Your Life Up
I've been quite a few things lately. I'll cop to sassy, flippant, boisterous, even feisty. But an adjective was thrown at me recently that I nearly hit a Matrix pose to dodge - "bitter."
Cut it DJ. Turn on the lights.
"You can't let this all make you bitter," someone close to me said.
I put a lot of thought into that. Am I in fact bitter? I'd say no. Louder than a Super Bowl tailgate party because I've escaped a controlling sociopath? Definitely. But bitter, no ma'am. But it did get me to thinking.
There have been a number of my readers who have contacted me with similar or worse experiences than mine. Some in the past, some currently trying to find their way out, and many looking for a light to give them hope that they could in fact be better... not bitter, in and after their current situations. So this week I'm putting together a list of 5 of my favorite 'Boss Babe' books. Literature that makes you feel empowered, gives you a little kick in the pants, and all the while reminds you to love yourself beyond your current circumstances. I've broken them into five categories, because let's be real, this is about so much more than divorce. Better is something to be applied to your WHOLE life.
Read on for the rundown:
1. CAREER: "Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media." - Aliza Licht
If you need a career jolt, here it is in a shiny hardback. Aliza is witty, knowledgeable, successful enough to be dishing the advice, but most of all, she gives the blunt advice we all need. I think the best asset you can have in business is the ability to take a hit and keep on trucking, because failure in any endeavor that matters is inevitable. Aliza gets this, and she serves it up, straight, no chaser, but with enough redeeming push to make you actually want to implement her tidbits into your daily work routine. Her advice ranges from the practical to the abstract, attacking everything from when you should check your email to why you need a mentor. My favorite gem from this book: “If change doesn't hurt a little, it's not change. You have to go beyond where you're comfortable, or you're not progressing.”
2. DATING: "The Gray: A Relationship Etiquette Study" - Enitan O. Bereola II
One of the first books I blogged on here at ABD was Bereola's "Gentlewoman," a modern day etiquette guide for women - no tea time rules involved. His raw and unabashed rhetoric on what it means to be a modern day woman, while still maintaining a respect for the same that radiated off the pages was a feat I can't imagine many men completing with nearly as much grace. After that, picking this book up was a no brainer. If you want an honest take on how to stay out of the gray in the perpetual hook-up and situationship culture that is 2017, this is for you, honey. There is a little of all of us, and that certain someone, hidden in the prose and imagery of the relationship Bereola paints a picture of. This book will have you questioning your own deep rooted issues, and identifying the blatantly obvious ones in others, and situations, we all slowly but surely find ourselves drowning in. If you're ready to level up your thinking and question your own dating perceptions, here is what you need.
3. CONFIDENCE: "You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life" - Jen Sincero
This is the kind of book that reminds you of your self worth, independent of the noise and perceptions of people, positive, negative or indifferent. Jen Sincero, a life coach, dishes out anecdotes, inspirational advice and self-help exercises to help you to break down your self-conscious walls. This book helped me to define the 'why's in the how and who I am, while being hilarious, touching and inspiring all at once. Jen spoke my language, sage, balanced, loving, but still cathartic and healing for the psyche. She helps you see not only your strengths, but love your flaws, and that, little disasters, is a huge part of genuine confidence in my book. This book helps you to see that truly loving your life and feeling awesome in your existence is more contingent on your perception and attitude than having it all together at once. My favorite gem from this book: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
4. STRESS: "The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do" - Sara Knight
This book covers everything that we allow to stress us out for no damn reason. The opinions of friends, coworker, FOMO, and all the money we spend on FOMO *facepalm.* Sarah cracked me up with her wit, and her liberal use of the F-bomb. More than that, she takes the obligations and silly social ties we use to tie ourselves up in stress knots and makes it very simple for you to do you. I used to be the obligation queen. Hell, I stayed married out of "right," and obligation. She tackles those tenuous friendships, social outings, family drama, coworkers, and more with flippant abandon that made me both giddy and eager to rid myself of all of it. Well, all of it that I could get away with. If you're tied up in the proverbial stress knot over opinions of others and all of the things you 'need' to do, here's looking at you doll. My favorite gem from this book: "You may not realize it, but the number of fucks you personally have to give is a finite and precious commodity." Right on, sister.
5. FINANCE: "Broke Millenial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together" - Erin Lowry
If there's anywhere that I've been a hot mess at the dysfunction junction, it was in the cash department. First I didn't understand credit, then I did because I'd screwed it all up; then I started making that 'treat yoself' money and fooled myself into thinking another check would always come to cover my calamity. No way to live, little disasters. I'm far from where I want to be, but a world away from where I was thanks to the school of hard knocks and sage advice such as that of Lowry in "Broke Millenial." This is the kind of book you read even if you don't have the money yet, so that when you do get it, you understand what to do with it. The language is less dow jones and more Bridgette Jones' Diary, so I wasn't lost in numbers and figures - I hate numbers, I really do. This book helped me get real and stop checking my bank account like a roulette table, "no whammies, no whammies..." Oh, don't pretend you've never done it. All jokes aside, this is solid financial advice for a generation that is drowning in debt while the social security pool dries up. We have more student loans than we can mentally tally or comprehend, and less financial savvy than we do on which IG filter will make our highlight pop best. She equates our relationships with money in terms we understand, do you treat it like a "Tinder Date" or "Marriage Material?" She also takes on splitting the bill, considering your retirement options early, savings and more. If you're a financial ditz, like myself, here's a life raft. My favorite gem from this book was simply put in the very first few pages: "It's understanding money - not just having it - that equals empowerment."
Drop of a few of your favorite self help books in the comments section. Let's all work together to keep each other a little better, and never bitter.