“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”
It is said that consciousness arises in humans during the very first months of our lives.
But there’s a “rebirth” that can happen between the ages of 1 and 99. It usually comes after we’ve spent a good portion of our days (and nights) trying to find ourselves and our purpose in life.
Some people will never experience this though.
Bogged down by the responsibilities of modern life, we don’t spend enough time looking inside for answers.
Fortunately, many great men and women have written books about finding yourself that can aid your journey.
We’re lucky in a way because in 2021 we have all the tools we need to start searching.
9 Must-Read Books About Finding Yourself in 2021
Keep in mind that the human condition remains practically unchanged.
In this list, you’ll see books that were written 2000 years ago, yet they still offer immense value and timeless wisdom.
But it’s also worth noting that the modern age brings on a new set of difficulties. So, we might need to take a more modern approach to some of these problems.
Whatever the case may be, I believe everyone will be able to make a few valuable additions to their TBR list.
#1 “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse
If you’re on a journey of self-discovery, it’s very beneficial to read about the experiences of other seekers.
Even though it is fundamentally a novel, Siddhartha fleshes out the struggle, the hurdles one has to overcome, and the different aspects of consciousness we need to discover.
Siddhartha, the name of the protagonist, means ‘he who has found meaning’.
Through him, the author travels to India, meets with ascetic monks, makes friends, and walks all the vital paths of life.
A quintessential book for finding your purpose.
“Your soul is the whole world”
#2 “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach
The first step towards self-discovery is accepting who we are, right now, right this moment.
Many people will spend their whole lives withdrawn from the world, hiding their personality.
Tara Brach claims that this manifests as perfectionism, loneliness, extreme judgment, shyness, etc.
The solution, of course, is radical acceptance. This includes forgiveness, but also the willingness to accept others for who they are.
An exceptional book that uses teachings from different religions to help you heal fear and create fulfilling relationships with other people — and yourself.
“Imperfection is not our personal problem – it is a natural part of existing.”
#3 “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson
There’s an “epidemic” of forced positivity going around on social media.
Mark Manson believes that instead of trying to be happy all the time — a state you can’t attain — we should strive to accept the suck!
Instead of making lemonade, learn to stomach the lemons.
And the fast lane to do this is to understand the value of your attention.
There are only a limited number of things we can care about. Discerning what matters in life is truly an art.
A practical guide for the modern human that tries to live a life based on their own personal values.
“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for”
#4 “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius
The world was completely different 2000 years ago when this collection of texts was written.
Yet, Marcus Aurelius breaks the barrier of time and delivers profound wisdom that’s more relevant than ever.
Stoicism has undergone its own kind of renaissance, with millions of people looking for answers in this, admittedly, misunderstood philosophy.
“Meditations” is perhaps the best introduction. The lessons in the book are accessible. But applying them in your life, well, that’s another story.
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live”
#5 “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
I read this book when I was young enough so I could understand it.
If I had to read it again for the first time, I’m not sure my adult would have let me extract all the valuable lessons inside.
A dream in written form, “The Alchemist” taps into the hidden aspects of ourselves that wait to be discovered during our journey.
It’s not a step-by-step guide, it’s not a ‘how-to’ manual. It is the story of a human being trying to find his place in this world.
Paulo Coelho is no stranger in the realm of self-discovery. But many consider this short story his most important work.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”
#6 “Modern Man in Search of a Soul” by C.G. Jung
The title of the book encapsulates the purpose of this list.
Jung will be one of the most influential people of the 21st century. His unique and revolutionary ideas are slowly penetrating our collective unconscious.
Many of the problems we face in this day and age were described by the psychoanalyst decades ago.
Keep in mind that this isn’t your typical book, with easy-to-digest ideas. It’s an introduction to his life’s work.
One of the most important concepts in this book I want to highlight is the Shadow and its integration. The first step towards self-actualization.
“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.”
#7 “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson
Wait a minute… This is a fantasy fiction book!
That’s right. It’s also one of the best books about finding yourself.
This book tells the story of 4 different people in a world tormented by high storms, wars, and poverty.
But under the mist, the internal conflict and struggle of the characters reveal the raw willpower required to survive.
More than that, it is a story filled with symbolism that transcends the common and stereotypical fantasy stories.
“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack”
#8 “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
We tend to think of self-discovery in the context of self-improvement.
But that’s not always the case.
Real-life is gritty and complicated. We constantly face moral dilemmas and we make choices that aren’t always right.
Understanding that we’re imperfect human beings is as important as seeing our innate potential to be great.
Dostoevsky takes this a step further and places his protagonist in a situation where the line between good and evil is blurry.
A dense book that requires you to read it multiple times.
“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
#9 “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
For many people, this book might be the one that will bring everything together.=
It’s not uncommon to witness a complete spiritual transformation happening in real-time.
“The Power of Now” is an old idea. But what makes this book so interesting is the fact that the author isn’t a spiritual leader, a guru, or an experienced Yogi.
He’s an everyday man that was able to find purpose in movement. Now.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
It Never Ends…
The journey of finding meaning never ends.
It might begin when you’re 12 or when you’re 70. It doesn’t matter.
In a way, the very act of searching and seeking is the end-goal.
And in every case, this is happening inside us. No matter how many philosophy books we read, how many trips we take, unless we turn our gaze in, we’ll never find what we seek!
I hope this list helps everyone take at least one more step in the right direction. What are some of your favorite books about finding yourself? Share in the comments!