Illustration: Rita Liu/The Guardian / Tedcore: the self-help books that have changed the way we live, speak and think.
Every new year and every new moon offers a time-honored opportunity for renewal. In our current days of Covid-19 recovery and shifts in the way that we work and relate to one another, there are reasons that we are engaging in more self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-expansion. Forbes, July 3, 2023, posted an article, Prince Harry And Self-Help Books Dominate The 2023 Non-Fiction Bestseller List, which asserts book readers are intentionally building their ability to “work through trauma, break bad habits, and seize control of their everyday lives.” Notably, two of the four non-fiction titles on the Forbes listing are referenced in The Top Shelf Wife!
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by performance coach James Clear (587,718 copies sold in 2023, 2018) is number two.
- Fourth on the list is The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by psychiatrist and researcher Bessel Van Der Kolk (289,701 copies sold by Forbes printing, 2015).
In The Top Shelf Wife, we start early in Chapter 2: I AM Choosing Who I Will Be Right Now, and Chapter 5: Nurture the Family by doing some background research into creating systems to catapult progress as an individual and a family. Much later, in Chapter 8: What Value Do I Bring to the Job, we use charts to assess where we are with the 5 suggested Nurturing and Support experiences. Then in Chapter 11: Start Now… Appreciate the Journey, we build habits into our authentic experiences by using the Chapter 8 assessment and applying James Clear’s four foundational steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. To get up to speed on the premise, check out this Atomic Habits YouTube Video by Escaping Ordinary. Using habit forming and some sort of management system like the simple: plan, do, check, and adjust will have us creating a positive plan to achieve our own personal expansion.
Sandwiched between the Chapter 8 assessment and the Chapter 11 call to action sits a chapter I truly enjoyed writing, Chapter 10: Emotional Checkin – Fortunate or Unfortunate. As a pivotal chapter, all the cards are on the table, and we have the decision to make be: fortunate to engage with the text, or unfortunate to continue ‘business as usual.’ The Body Keep the Score Video is a summary that stresses the importance of responding to trauma in meaningful and effective ways. In the video, author van der Kolk recognizes the automatic links between our fight-flight responses and 1) who is there for us to build efficacy, 2) brain and body messaging, and 3) societal forces. Although Top Shelf Wife makes a quick reference to The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk (289,701 copies sold by Forbes printing, 2015), the need to look through the lens of our traumatic triggers, and understand where we begin gives us a roadmap to experiences that we must let go of.
Letting go of long-standing traumatic triggers and building in replacement actions that bring more love and light into our lives is the healing that Top Shelf Wives do for themselves and those around them. The impact of nurturing and support, when started by self and for self, is far reaching. While reading The Top Shelf Wife self-reflection is encouraged through writing in the first person peripheral point of view. Meaning it text has been written so that the reader is exposed to new ideas and ways
of being, yet is constantly personalizing the thoughts with pronouns I / me / we. Secondly, self-awareness is facilitated through a skills inventory and end of chapter experiences that engage and challenge. The result is self-expansion. The notion that the more we experience with ourselves and others, the more we grow to authentically understand both and we broaden and develop confidence in the areas of nurture and support, or love and light -the self-help books.