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10 books about self-love you need right now

As we approach Valentine’s Day, there’s no better time to strengthen your relationship with yourself.

Almost everywhere we turn, someone is preaching the gospel of self-love—but what does that look like in practice, and how do we achieve it for ourselves?

I’ve been writing and thinking publicly about loving ourselves better for a long time. I even wrote a book about what self-love looks like when aligned with our faith. The truth is, the most important relationship we’ll ever have is the one we have with ourselves, so in the midst of Black History Month and as we approach Valentine’s Day, let these books create a moment to reflect on how we can better amplify the world’s superpower in our own lives.

Credit: Penguin Random House; Gallery Books; Zondervan

Black Girl In Love (with Herself): A Guide to Self-Love, Healing, and Creating the Life You Truly Deserve by Trey Anthony (Hay House, 2021)

Credit: Hay House

In this book that is one part self-help, one part manifesto and equal parts all the things, Anthony offers wisdom every Black woman struggling to prioritize herself needs to hear.

Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love, and Freedom by Tabitha Brown (William Morrow, 2021)

Credit: William Morrow

Before she became “America’s Mom,” she was the spirit of our social media timelines. In her first book, Brown calls us to honor the spirit within ourselves and soar.

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown (Penguin Random House, 2021)

Credit: Penguin Random House

This deeply vulnerable anthology brings together some of this era’s greatest writers and thinkers to honor the nuances of the Black experience and celebrate all the ways we thrive and maintain hope.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Gallery/Scout Press, 2019)

Credit: Gallery/Scout Press

Who doesn’t love a good novel? In her debut offering, Carty-Williams allows all of us to see ourselves in Queenie—and invites us to discover what we gain when we let go of what we thought we wanted to embrace.

Dare to Bloom: Trusting God through Painful Endings and New Beginnings by Zim Flores (Thomas Nelson, 2020)

Credit: Thomas Nelson

In this visually stunning work, Flores invites us along on her travels and encourages faith-filled sojourners to shift their perspective on what it means to close a door and open a new one with hope and possibility.

How Far You Have Come: Musings on Beauty and Courage by Morgan Harper Nichols (Zondervan, 2021)

Credit: Zondervan

In a moment where all of us have changed in ways we couldn’t have anticipated, we sometimes focus too much on what we have still yet to achieve and obtain. Harper uses her poetry and personal reflections to remind us to rest in the glory that we are not who we used to be.

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks (Harper Collins, 2001)

Credit: HarperCollins

It is impossible to discuss Black love without a nod to hooks’ iconic text. A part of her “Love Song to the Nation” trilogy, this seminal text pushes us to ponder the question: “what is love?” and examine how we operate within it.

Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts (Gallery Books, 2022)

Credit: Gallery Books

In an era that feels less than loving, Lewis-Giggetts reminds us that we have always been more than fighting against the forces that seek to undermine us. We have always possessed the paths to our own healing and light.

In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want by Iyanla Vanzant (Atria Books, 1999)

Credit: Simon & Schuster

Too often we find ourselves “stuck” between where we were and where we’re headed. In her bestseller, Vanzant shows us how that liminal space is likely exactly where we need to be.

I Asked for Intimacy: Stories of Blessings, Betrayals, and Birthings by Renita Weems (Publishing/Editing Network, 1993)

Credit: Publishing/Editing Network

Drawing from her own experiences and the women of scripture, Weems explores the significant relationships of our lives and how they frame who we are and who we can become.

Candice Marie Benbow is theGrio’s daily lifestyle, education and health writer. She’s also the author of Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @candicebenbow.

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