The beginning of the year can be *a lot* when it comes to romance. Maybe you made a New Year's Resolution to give those dating apps just one more shot. Or perhaps the constant talk of dating and relationships throughout the "love month" of February had you indulging in a rom-com marathon that kept you glued to your couch. Despite my love of all things romance, I really feel you on this one. Dating, or even just thinking about dating, is draining. And if you're still single after one date or one year of dates, you might begin to feel a little down on yourself.
Basically, you're probably in need of a little "me time" right about now, and as always, books are here to help. The 11 picks below are all self-love books — both fiction and nonfiction — and they offer advice and inspiration about connecting with your own mind, body, and spirit and basking in the glory of your completely amazing self. Whether you're looking to feel more confident in your own skin, foster more positive thought patterns, or need to start from scratch with building up your own self-esteem, there is a book below that will remind you just how incredible you are, whether someone swipes right on you or not.
'The Self-Love Experiment' by Shannon Kaiser
If you're starting at the beginning with self-love, Kaiser's book promises principles that will help readers overcome fears and self-sabotage to become kinder, more compassionate, and more accepting of themselves.
'Heart Talk' by Cleo Wade
Wade's collection of poetry, mantras, affirmations offers relatable and easily digestible pieces of advice and wisdom. A daily pep talk of empowerment and motivation, this one is great to read first thing in the morning.
'The Poet X' by Elizabeth Acevedo
Acevedo's National Book Award-winning YA novel follows Xiomara Bautista as she grapples with her own body image, struggles against her mother's strict rules, and chafes against the anti-women teachings of her church. It's a harrowing yet hopeful journey toward self-love through creativity.
'Brave, Not Perfect' by Reshma Saujani
Saujani focuses in on the idea of perfection verses bravery: she argues that women have often been taught to reach for perfection, and in turn have not taken risks that would lead to a bolder life. Giving ourselves permission to fail can be a pretty radical form of self-love.
'This Body Is Not An Apology: The Power Of Radical Self-Love' by Sonya Renee Taylor
Taylor's book focuses in on body positivity, which is one of the ultimate forms of self-love. Not only does this book hope to foster a healthy relationship between the reader and their physical body, its an empowering journey to self-acceptance in all its forms.
'Ten Girls To Watch' by Charity Shumway
Shumway's novel follows Dawn West as she enters life post-college without her long-time boyfriend and worried about her career prospects. Not only does Dawn figure out how to love herself without a romantic partner, she also learns to trust and believe in herself, creatively and otherwise.
'Juliet Takes A Breath' by Gabby Rivera
Rivera's YA novel follows Juliet Palante on a summer filled with self-discovery: she has just come out to her parents and she is spending the next couple of months interning for the author of her favorite feminist book. A luminous journey of self-acceptance, self-confidence, and self-power that is sure to inspire.
'Tiny Beautiful Things' by Cheryl Strayed
This collection of Strayed's Dear Sugar advice columns is the definition of self-love. Mother's dealing with grief, students worried about their futures, a daughter reconnecting with her estranged father, a middle-aged man re-entering the dating game: Strayed offers a balm of hope, forgiveness, kindness and self-acceptance for them all.
'Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Murphy's YA novel about Willowdean Dickson, a self-professed fat girl who enters her town's beauty pageant, is a beautiful exploration of radical self-love, learning self-confidence and embracing the power of female friendship.
'This Is Me: Loving The Person You Are Today' by Chrissy Metz
Metz's relatable journey to self-love and acceptance is a long one, and she takes readers through it all: overcoming body shaming and verbal abuse, believing in her own creative pursuits, and even getting to the point where she could hold her own at lunch with Oprah. It's an inspiring read full of heartwarming and hilarious advice.
'The Dirty Book Club' by Lisi Harrison
Harrison's book follows a group of four women — including M.J. who is in the middle of a career and romantic downturn — in a "dirty" book club. As they bond over these books, they learn that friendship and independence are the key to writing their own stories with fierce self-love.