Living Out Loud has been one of my mantras for several years. I believe that every human being deserves to live life the way they see fit and to do so unapologetically. Of course, that presupposes they’re not a predator of some time. I kid! Honestly, though, I believe that most people are good and that most people only seek to add value to the world by being the best versions of themselves. However, we live in a world where for many of us the game is rigged and the obstacles that are put in front of us are often piled so high that they make us shrink. We shrink into respectability, we let others define our place, and worse yet we lose our voice and with it our agency.
For women, especially Black women, our place is often that of nurturers. We are to define ourselves in relation to our ability to take care of others. We are to see ourselves based on how others see us, how pretty we are, how likable we are, and how well-behaved we are. For far too many of us, we find that we spend much of our lives with no one truly asking us (and wanting to hear the honest answer) what is it that we want. What will make us happy? How do we choose to define ourselves? What path do we want to take?
I’m a big believer in reading for growth. Mindset is everything when it comes to crafting your life and undoing the suffocating lessons learned from our society, our family, our culture, and other influences that require repetitive reinforcement of counter-messaging. However, it’s much easier to absorb a message when the speaker is one who knows your struggle, one who has walked a similar path to your own, and one who can easily identify with your journey.
For that reason, I present to you, five great self-help books written by Black women. These books are all powerful testimonies embedded with invaluable insights and lessons to help you live the life you want, and live it out loud!
Get Over ‘I Got It’: How to Stop Playing Superwoman, Get Support, and Remember That Having It All Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Alone by Elayne Fluker
This book addresses the dangerous levels of stress and anxiety that many ambitious women face due to striving to accomplish their goals alone. Fluker provides proven, real-world ways for women to embrace the benefits of a stronger-together approach, overcome psychological hurdles, and seek support to transform individual lives and communities.
This book is a powerful and inspirational memoir that offers insight into the unique challenges and vulnerabilities faced by the transgender community. Mock’s unflinching honesty and moving prose provide accessible language while also pushing readers towards greater acceptance and self-realization. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to understand and support marginalized communities.
This book is a guide for how to live timelessly by choosing the meaningful over the urgent, and gives practical steps to achieve a purposeful life that reflects your unique values and impact. It helps you understand the gradual changes that have led to our current culture of stress and overload, and provides a vision and tools to blast through those obstacles.
This memoir explores race, identity, and success through Welteroth’s journey as a groundbreaking journalist and her experiences as a young boss and often the only Black woman in the room. It’s an inspiring and empowering read, and an essential for women in the workplace today.
It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage by Arlan Hamilton
This book is an empowering guide to finding your voice, working your way into any room you want to be in, and achieving your own dreams. Hamilton shares the hard-won wisdom she’s picked up on her remarkable journey from food-stamp recipient to venture capitalist, with lessons like“The Best Music Comes from the Worst Breakups,” “Let Someone Shorter Stand in Front of You,” “The Dangers of Hustle Porn,”and“Don’t Let Anyone Drink Your Diet Coke.” This book is a hero’s tale of what’s possible when we unlock our potential, continue the search for knowledge, and draw on our lived experiences to guide us through the darkest moments.