• Pin

Reading can change your life!

Maintaining healthy self-esteem leads to a more fulfilling life. When you’re down on yourself and feeling an overall lack of confidence, you might perform poorly at work, start turning down invites from friends, withdraw from your partner, or adopt a more negative attitude in general. Being a part of the self esteem movement can help you avoid that.

Self acceptance isn’t a lofty goal that some people are just born with, it’s a skill that you can work on in those seasons when those low self esteem feelings creep in. One of the best ways to practice healthy self esteem—or help yourself in overcoming the confidence gap so often associated with low self esteem—is to read books that can inspire you toward improving your self image and your overall confidence.

Besides this list of the best self help books, we recommend you explore that comprehensive guide to self esteem. Whether you need assistance with practicing self understanding, regaining positive thinking, finding opportunities for self care or overcoming self doubt, there’s a self esteem-boosting book on this list that will help you get to where you want to be. 

Why is self-esteem so important?

Self esteem is the foundation for your emotional self. 

When you feel confident, your positive attitude radiates and influences those around you, making your relationships stronger and healthier. On the flip side, self esteem issues can cause you to lack confidence in yourself. You might doubt your ability to make solid decisions. You might act out toward others. You might even slip into depression or get tangled up in anxiety.

A healthy self esteem is the basis for valuing yourself and knowing your worth in romantic relationships, in the workplace and within your family unit. Without this confidence, you might feel lost and unfilled. 

When you believe in yourself, you not only feel proud of who you are but you continually strive for getting the most out of life. That’s why maintaining self confidence and working to overcome low self esteem is critical for a happier, healthier existence overall. 

Best self esteem books for adults

The following self esteem books are geared toward adults who need help in overcoming low self esteem and other self esteem issues. Some are straight psychology self-help books that are more traditional in their approach. 

best self esteem books
(Westend61 / Getty)

Others are narratives that will inspire you to build self esteem by hearing someone else’s story. The descriptions of each book will help you further understand which of these self esteem books would be the right choice for you. 

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

Written by esteemed shame research professor Brené Brown’s, this New York Times bestseller was named one of the “Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life” by Forbes magazine. 

In this self esteem book, Brown outlines  “ten guideposts” that can help you establish a life that’s imperfectly yours by overcoming low self esteem, finding ways to embrace change and creating self compassion. As you work through each chapter, you’ll be presented with interactive prompts to help you grow and shift your perspective on yourself. 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

This memoir might not be a traditional self esteem book but the story that author Glennon Doyle tells within its pages can inspire readers to “untame themselves” from what’s holding them back in life, from low self image to other people’s expectations. 

By inspiring women in particular to bring their whole selves to the table of life—with honesty, not apology—this self love manifesto is a must-read for anyone who’s feeling stuck within their own lives. Speaking of self love, take a look at our self love quotes to help you stay empowered.

Welcome Home: A Guide to Building a Home for Your Soul by Najwa Zebian

If you prefer metaphorical self help books, this guide by Najwa Zebian will be an excellent choice for finding self love and fulfillment. In this book, Zebian guides readers on how to build various “rooms” within the house that is you: self-love, forgiveness, compassion, clarity, surrender and the dream garden, which is where you nurture your goals. 

With meditation and journaling prompts, this book provides a more spiritual path for finding self acceptance and overcoming low self esteem. 

What’s Right With Me: Positive Ways to Celebrate Your Strengths, Build Self-Esteem, and Reach Your Potential by Carlene DeRoo and Carolyn DeRoo

Written by Carlene DeRoo, PhD, a psychologist specializing in pain management and mind-body connections, and her daughter, Carolyn, this book focuses on bolstering self confidence by narrowing in on your strengths and successes. 

Part self esteem self help book, part self esteem workbook, this book option gives you practical exercises and prompts to follow, if you so choose, in an effort to assist you in reframing and overcoming negative self talk. 

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: by Nathaniel Branden

Self esteem author Nathaniel Branden is a leader in the self help category for his many books on how to improve self worth. Braden’s book explains that high self esteem can lead to personal happiness and achievement in life in general. 

His pillars of self esteem are action-based practices that readers can incorporate into their daily lives within the culture at large, their relationships, their workplace and in their parenting. 

Healing Your Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem, Quiet Your Inner Critic, and Overcome Your Shame by Beverly Engel

For those who are plagued with low self esteem and self doubt as a result of abusive parents or traumatic childhood circumstances, this book outlines a powerful therapeutic program for overcoming self criticism. 

In this comprehensive guide for healing, author Beverly Engle explains how to build self esteem and become more self compassionate, working to undo the damage from the wounds of your past. 

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Written by a success coach, this self esteem book helps readers identify the ways they self sabotage with 27 short chapters of inspiring stories, practical exercises and witty, yet smart, life advice. Author Jen Sincero helps readers find self acceptance and work toward harnessing high self esteem in a fun, motivating voice that’s edgier than most self esteem books. 

The Self Confidence Workbook: A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem by Barbara Markway PhD, Celia Ampel  and Teresa Flynn PhD 

If you’re looking for a self esteem book that’s more interactive, this self esteem workbook is filled with practical exercises for building self esteem. It’s a great choice for anyone who has already read a book or two on self confidence and is looking to go deeper with their self discovery. 

Best self esteem books for kids

It’s never too early in life to start building confidence. These books, geared toward kids as young as toddlers all the way up to the teenage years, can help young people of all ages establish and grow their self love. 

It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr

Written for preschool-age kids, this self esteem book for children has simple, colorful drawings and a strong message: no matter who you are, where you come from or how you look, it’s okay to be different. Parr promotes his positive message with fun and irreverent illustrations, making this one of the most beloved self confidence books for kids. 

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

This New York Times bestseller encourages confidence, being kind to others and loving who you are. Written for kids from preschool to grade school age, this book is a must for kids as they start school so they can develop a strong sense of self. 

Remarkably You by Pat Zietlow Miller

Another option for younger kids, this rhyming self esteem book for kids encourages confidence, self love and high self esteem. The book’s message encourages individuality and discovering one’s own special skills and talents that make them unique. 

Just As You Are: A Teen’s Guide to Self-Acceptance and Lasting Self-Esteem by Michelle Skeen and Kelly Skeen

This book encourages self confidence by asking teens to stop comparing themselves to other people and to cultivate a positive inner voice. An important message as teens navigate the high school years, this book discusses handling peer pressure and finding the self love you need to do what’s right, or what’s best for yourself, no matter the situation. 

Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon

Written by trangender activist Alok Vaid-Menon, this book gives teens permission (and resources) to see their gender as a full color spectrum, not as a black and white binary. There are not many self esteem books for teens (and adults alike) who are gender-nonconforming and need guidance for finding confidence and self love. This one truly is a gem. 

Best self esteem books for healthy relationships

The following books are geared toward creating fulfilling relationships by working on your own self confidence. When you improve your self esteem, you can be more present in your relationship, or happier without a relationship.

The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate by Harriet Lerner

This self esteem book is all about helping you build self confidence in the moments where you are most vulnerable. Oftentimes, people have a hard time expressing themselves when they’re in conflict with loved ones, from romantic partners to siblings and parents. 

This book helps you build confidence in your approach to tough conversations and helps you understand your loved ones so you can both emerge from interactions feeling valued. 

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

While this bestselling book isn’t necessarily geared toward boosting self esteem, it does create relationship confidence by better understanding your and your partner’s needs. In this book, Gary Chapman outlines five different love languages people “speak” when giving and receiving love. 

If you’re feeling misunderstood by your partner or are having a hard time communicating, this book can help restore your self esteem and start the process of repairing your relationship. 

What a Time to be Alone: The Slumflower’s Guide to Why You Are Already Enough by Chidera Eggerue

In this witty, sharp guide to loving being alone, Chidera Eggerue highlights that single people aren’t exempt from having high self esteem, as society might have you believe, and that nurturing your relationship with yourself is the most important thing you can do to feel satisfied in life. 

Whether you’re unattached romantically, feel like your friends aren’t showing up for you or don’t mesh with your family, this book helps you learn how to avoid toxicity from other people and feel secure in your solitude, helping you harness powerful self love in the process.

Love & Self-Esteem: How to Help And Support A Partner Struggling With Low Self-Esteem. Learn How To Deal And Overcome Low Self Esteem And Negativity in Your Relationship by Birgit Roswell  

This self esteem book is a good choice when your partner is lacking confidence and you want to best support them in finding their way back to self love. Trying to show love to a partner who doesn’t love themselves can be painful, frustrating and difficult overall. This book can guide you toward helping your partner without sacrificing your own needs. 

Best self esteem books for your career

These self esteem books focus on how you can develop confidence and inner knowing to do your absolute best in the workplace without caving to self doubt. Having one of these books guide you in your self love journey will equip you with the emotional tools you need to succeed. 

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Dynamic techniques for turning Fear, Indecision and Anger into Power, Action and Love by Susan Jeffers

When you lack self confidence at work, you can be more susceptible to fear when it comes to managing a team, public speaking or making key decisions. Without a strong sense of self, you might find that you second-guess yourself or succumb to periods of anxiety when deadlines are looming. 

This self esteem book outlines how you can improve your ability to handle any situation, even stressful ones, so that you can be more decisive and less unsure of yourself. 

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown 

The second self-help book from Brené Brown on this list, Dare to Lead focuses on the workplace and how to be a confident leader who is also willing to be vulnerable. 

Geared toward leaders and decision-makers, this book helps you cultivate the confidence needed to lead not from a place of power but a place of curiosity and compassion for those you manage. When you truly love yourself, you don’t need your title or your position to give you confidence, which then makes you a leader that your employees truly want to work for. 

The Imposter Cure: Escape the mind-trap of imposter syndrome by Dr. Jessamy Hibberd 

You’ve likely heard of imposter syndrome before: it’s where you don’t believe you are deserving of your own success and that, at any minute, someone is going to figure out that you’re not good enough for your job, the promotion you just got, the award you recently won, and so on and so forth. 

Imposter syndrome is of course rooted in a lack of self esteem and not truly knowing that you are indeed enough. While everyone has these fleeting thoughts of not being up for the challenge, chronic imposter syndrome can be crippling and even prevent you from taking the next steps in your career. 

Like other self esteem books, it gives practical tips, but it also walks you through exactly how to get that negative self talk soundtrack out of your head for good, which is what sets it apart. 

Step Up: Confidence, Success and Your Stellar Career in 10 Minutes a Day by Phanella Mayall Fine and Alice Olins 

Being able to find your self worth in just 10 minutes a day sounds like an easy way to cultivate confidence. This self esteem book helps you do just that: Filled with practical tips that are born from well-researched theory and first-hand experience from the authors, Step Up is a go-to self confidence manual for women wanting to learn how to shatter glass ceilings. 

By addressing many of the challenges women still face in the workplace with candor, this book can help you harness your self worth and get you commanding a boardroom in no time. 

Build self-esteem, build a better life

There are a number of self esteem books to choose from, whether you’re looking to nurture your overall confidence in general or needing assistance in the context of your relationships or work aspirations.

Working on your self esteem is a worthy endeavor, no matter how you do it. Self-love is the foundation for how you live your life.

self help books for self esteem
(d3sign / Getty)

Your thoughts and feelings, especially about yourself, often translate into action. When you lack confidence, every area of your life suffers. And you, too, suffer greatly from the negative self talk that just won’t relent.

With the push of some trusted self esteem books, you can go inward and discover how to cultivate self love and embrace who you truly are. While the journey may not always be easy, you’re worth the time and effort it takes to regain your self worth.

MINDSET IS EVERYTHING
Are you ready to keep growing?