Self-awareness is a necessity but it comes at a cost. The human mind is a complex place to navigate but fear not, as books are out there looking out for you. So, here is a list that will make your quest for the ultimate self-discovery a little less hard.
Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller
Ever wondered why you get overly anxious about your relationship when your partner isn’t responding to your calls/texts? Or maybe you’re someone who runs away from commitment despite craving intimacy? It’s all about your attachment style, and contrary to popular opinion anxious and avoidant attachment styles are not pathological. It’s all about finding a person whose attachment style is compatible with yours. Dating is more science than a trial and error method based on emotions. This book brings a lot of clarity when adult dating is concerned, thus helping you make more conscious choices in the future.
Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto
This is a novel about mental illness and how it impacts the lives of the children of the victim. The mother of the protagonist is suicidal, driving the whole family towards an unstable future. The father tries his best to hold the family together, but there is only so much he can do. People with family members who are mentally ill will be able to relate to this book. In many parts of India the concept of mental health is not really acknowledged. Taking care of your mind often comes off as a luxury. Considering that, this book is very progressive as it takes a step towards making its readers more self-aware by unraveling the intricacies of the human mind.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
This work of fiction talks about the immigrant experience in a way that is relevant for everyone. Gogol didn’t like his name, so he changed it. But that didn’t help him find the sense of belonging he was looking for. All of us feel lost at times and blame it on our circumstances, the place we are living in, etc. But deep down, maybe this feeling is nothing but a detachment from one’s true self. The search is on and maybe it takes more than a lifetime. However, each new day comes with a new revelation making the journey worth it.
Scary Close by Donald Miller
Scary Close is a massive reality check as it talks about finally dropping the act and showing your true self to your partner. Vulnerability is not an easy task and a lot of us, being the perpetrators of capitalism that we are, believe that our worth is dependent on our productivity. This is what Donald Miller talks about in detail. He explains how we have a misconception about love and how we have come to believe that we have to be funny/witty/somewhat special for our partners to love us. For anyone to love us, we don’t have to create a false persona of mystery or intrigue. He has talked about his own life to break it down in layman terms how the secret to finding true love is being our flawed self.
Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai
This is a story about a family that isn’t dysfunctional per se, but is toxic in its own way. The girls are inhibited from living a life on their own terms. Their brother feels out of place at a distant land. A show is put up for other people of a happy family, while in reality the foundation is falling apart. A haunting sadness rules the entirety of this book, making the readers dig deeper into their core selves. A tale about a middle class Indian family somehow becomes universal in this book.
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
This book is heartbreak packed into beautiful poetry. Heartbreaks come in layers and phases. Maggie Nelson busts genres like always to divulge each of those nuances in association with the color blue. Her grief leaves her with invaluable wisdom that she further imparts on her readers. This book is a detailed exploration of loss, thus of a self that has lost but is yet hopeful to uncover more about itself. It’s commendable because individuals often lose interest in themselves after going through a major loss. Despite Nelson’s self-deprecating humor about this book being just an attempt at giving herself an illusion of progress, it makes its readers feel like tomorrow is more of a promise and less of a threat.