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15 Books To Gently Heal A Broken Heart

15 Books To Gently Heal A Broken Heart

Is it easy to recover from a breakup?

It’s a silly question indeed: how can it be easy to forget the one you loved and considered yours yesterday who has suddenly become a complete stranger today? Time heals, they say. And we say that the best books to read after a breakup can help you much more than simply waiting for the moment when the pain finally goes away.

Books have the power to heal. When you choose the best books to read during some difficult moments of your life, you may be surprised how much easier it becomes to overcome these difficulties. Books give you advice; they share knowledge and experience with you. They do not judge, they talk to you, and they help you cope with unrequited love and find inner peace.

It’s you who decides which book will become your friend. When it comes to a breakup, you need someone to support you, to tell you that everything’s going to be okay, to share their personal stories and let you know that you are not alone with your pain. Moreover, you need someone who will shake and inspire you, instill optimism and explain that a breakup is not the end of your life; rather, it is a new beginning.

Books are silent. They help us write, study, and live.They do not interrupt you; they do not impose their views. They just whisper stories, and you become slowly healed and reborn to a new life without noticing it. Here they are: the 15 best books to read when you go through a breakup.

1. Stag’s Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds

stag-leap-poems

    The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (2013), this book of poems will help you let your past go and find courage to move on in your life. Written by a lady whose 26-year-old marriage fell apart, these poems will help you accept your breakup and take on a “I am finally free” perspective without having regrets.

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    2. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

    dolores-claiborne

      This author perfectly knows how to make our hearts freeze with fear, allowing readers to get into characters’ heads and disclose the reasons of their actions. This is the story of an eccentric woman and the ways she chose to deal with her drunk husband; this is a story of how strong and powerful a woman can be when it comes to danger and injustice; this is a story about women’s resilience. After reading this book, you will never consider your breakup a problem anymore.

      3. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

      history-nearly-everything

        After a breakup, you can think about nothing but love and how unfair it is. This book reveals so many interesting facts that can’t even be compared with your so-called drama, that you will forget about all earthly problems at once. As far as we know, everything is relative: who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet. So, check this book to understand how tiny your problem of breaking up is in comparison with some universe disasters.

        4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

        eat-pray-love

          There is no lady who would not like this book and the story it tells about a divorced woman and her soul-searching journey to Italy, India and Indonesia. Yes, her divorce was bitter, and her love affair was disastrous, but she has found ways and strengths to change life for better. This is an inspiring story for us to understand that life does not end after a breakup; moreover, life may start after it.

          5. Under the Wild and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

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          under-wild-sky

            Based on true events, this book will help you understand that your ex was not the last and only love of your life. The story of a woman who escapes from her cheating husband with three children and picks up a new, cool man is a must-read for you to understand that the next love is already waiting, and it can find you at the most unexpected places sometimes.

            6. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

            ethan-frome

              Here is another well-written story to help you understand that your breakup problem is small compared to the problems that other people have. This is a beautiful novella about a man who falls in love with the young caretaker of his sick wife. The story allows us to accept the fact that anything can happen in life; you have lots of chances to write the future screenplay of your life, and there is no need to sit and cry over the past.

              7. You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

              you-should-have-known

                What would an experienced couples therapist do if she found out that she was the last one to discover that husband was planning to leave her? Moreover, he could be (maybe) connected to a murder; so, now it’s high time for her own investigation. This psychological thriller will help you realize that it could have been much worse than a simple breakup with your boyfriend.

                8. How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley

                how-did-you-get-this-number

                  What should you do if an unknown girl calls you one day and says she has found your number in the phone of her boyfriend? The problem is, that this man is—your boyfriend. Sloane Crosley knows the answer to this question, and she decides to write a book in a funny and instructive manner for each of us to understand the ugly truth of life: bad things happen, but you can always find a way out and overcome all relationship problems.

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                  9. Him, Her, Him Again, The End of Him by Patricia Marx

                  him-her-him-again

                    Marx writes for The New Yorker, but she also wrote this book which is a satirical story about a girl who has spent 10 years trying to attract a pretentious PhD student just to understand how wrong she was and how much time she wasted as a result. The story is based on the author’s own experience, and shows that your breakup might be a blessing rather than a curse.

                    10. Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak by Larry Smith

                    six-word-memoirs

                      Can you find six words to describe your breakup? It’s easier to say than to do, but if you have suddenly forgotten all words, this book is here to help you. A wonderful collection of six-word confessions, it is a must-read for everyone whose heart is broken. All these heartbreaking, confusing, and sometimes optimistic memoirs are here to inspire you and help you turn the page of your past relationship.

                      11. What Was I Thinking: 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories by Barbara Davilman

                      what-was-i-thinking

                        This book is a collection of 58 stories on broken relationships told by different women and designed to make you more optimistic about your own breakup. Your love may last for a week, a month, or a year; but somewhere deep inside you, understand that, sooner or later, it will be over. And we have nothing to do with that: just accept that, be thankful for those wonderful moments, and keep going.

                        12. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

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                        bridget-jones-diary

                          Are you a single and lonely lady now? This book should become your desk book then, because it is a real bible of what you must NOT do while not having a life partner. Forget about sitting and staring at the phone with a hope to get a call from him; do not even think about flirting with your boss, and forget about all those stupid things that come to your mind just after a breakup. But what should you do instead? Bridget Jones has an answer to this question, so keep reading to find out.

                          13. Split: A Memoir of Divorce by Suzanne Finnamore

                          a-memoir-of-divorce

                            Such stories happen every day: love appears, boys ask girls to marry them, and after a couple of years, the same boys make another proposition: divorce. The author of this book shares her story with humor and honesty, revealing all the dirty details of her marriage and divorce to make you understand that when something goes wrong, it becomes an experience which lets you do things differently next time.

                            14. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

                            high-fidelity

                              It’s time to suggest a breakup story from the male perspective. Yes, girls are not the only ones who cry. This book by Nick Hornby will tell you the story of a music addict who decides to make a list of his own “top 5” breakups, and it will probably change your mind about your own breakup.

                              15. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

                              this-is-how-you-lose-her

                                Despite his flaws, you can’t help loving the protagonist of this book. Even though he is a man who does not take women seriously, there is something about this guy that makes you sympathize with him. It helps you understand that all men need to realize how bad they are before becoming good. This is a story that will probably help you perceive your ex differently.

                                Remember: a breakup is not the end of your life, even if it is difficult to believe and accept this fact at first. Your new love is waiting for you somewhere already; so, get ready and open up your heart and mind while reading the above-mentioned books that will help you get through your ended relationship.

                                Featured photo credit: I Dont Want A Broken Heart/Nawal Al-Mashouq via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                                What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

                                What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

                                Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

                                You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

                                This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

                                What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

                                According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

                                Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

                                There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

                                How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

                                When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

                                Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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                                1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

                                One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

                                The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

                                Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

                                2. Be Honest

                                A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

                                If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

                                On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

                                Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

                                3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

                                Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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                                If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

                                4. Succeed at Something

                                When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

                                Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

                                5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

                                Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

                                Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

                                If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

                                If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

                                Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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                                6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

                                Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

                                You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

                                On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

                                You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

                                7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

                                Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

                                Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

                                Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

                                When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

                                Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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                                In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

                                Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

                                It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

                                Final Thoughts

                                When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

                                The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

                                Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

                                Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

                                Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

                                More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

                                Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
                                [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
                                [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
                                [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
                                [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
                                [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
                                [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
                                [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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