My first ever guest post here. Someone I really admire (her contributions to Anxiety United and also her comments on my blog site here).
A few of us are part of a Twitter Book Group and this was our book for January, hence if you follow my blog here you have now had two consecutive books reviews of Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway 🙂
So here we go. Over to you Kay 🙂
On finishing the book, I’m glad I read it because there are many helpful strategies explained well amid some anecdotal stories about other people that I always find a bit of a mental breather. A book like this has got to be a general fit for all and because of this, there are bound to be areas that need better fine-tuning for some, or are just not appropriate for others.
Chapter 1 offered a good first insight about the bottom line of fear being unable to handle what life dishes out. I really like this approach of delving down to expose the fundamental fear, I can remember using the downward arrow method in CBT to discover what was actually at the bottom of my fears.
Chapter 2 mentioned two truisms that are always good to remember – that confidence comes from doing things and adaptation is the key to survival.
Chapter 3 really took off for me with the pain to power concept, dealing informatively with the way we perceive and deal with our world. Having been involved in several power struggles over the years, I particularly loved this: “No one is more unloving than a person who can’t own his or her own power. Such people spend their lives trying to pull it out of everyone else. Their need creates all sorts of manipulative behaviour.”
Chapter 4 continued with what I feel is an incredibly important issue, that of taking responsibility for our own experience of life. This can undoubtedly be hard – for example, eradicating the concept of blame from our mindset. However, I like the somewhat blunt honesty of the statement: “If you can create your own misery, you can create your own joy.” I began to feel slightly uncomfortable at the assertion that at every moment we are choosing the way we feel, though, simply because it’s too black & white for me – too goody-goody! What about hormones, traumas, or overwhelming responsibilities? Hmm.
Chapter 5 was mostly about the power of positive thinking, which I believe in and sometimes fail miserably to achieve. Practice definitely helps and affirmations are great as reminders – except that I am not going to stick positive quotes on pieces of paper all over the place on walls, fridge and mirrors – I’m just not, end of! Joking aside, I’m glad there was reference to not using positive thinking as an excuse for denial, as painful experiences happen in life and nobody is immune to pain.
Chapter 6 was one of my favourites, on how to deal with reactions from friends and family. If we change, our relationship with others inevitably changes and some may not be too happy about this! I appreciated the description of the pendulum syndrome in reactive behaviour (or the passive-to-obnoxious-to-healthy syndrome).
Chapter 7 was quite an in-depth one, basically concerning our tendency to think we should be perfect and forget that we learn through our mistakes – which to me is a very worthwhile way of also learning to be easier and more loving toward ourselves. A great insight in this chapter was how underlying all our fears is a lack of trust in ourselves and how mental pain/anxiety is alerting us to something about our inner self. I must confess this chapter irritated me a little, but probably because the author is clearly far more of an extravert than I am (the word extravert applies to me not at all!)
Chapter 8 had some good points (and some slightly pointless diagrams) looking at elements of our “whole life”. I particularly liked the simple but strangely pleasing idea of a “holi-hour” in the spirit of a holiday, in terms of relaxation and rejuvenating time.
Chapter 9 had more or less a go with the flow feel to it, advocating saying yes to your universe. I’m actually someone who would find it easier to say no and who would try to swim against the current, but I realise I’ve changed. I now totally accept that “Saying yes means getting up and acting on your belief that you can create meaning and purpose in whatever life hands you.”
Chapter 10 was fundamentally about giving freely – thanks, information, praise, time, money and love. The point was that giving with an expectation of receiving something in return results in fearfulness (as giving that might result in no return is perceived as a risk). Giving freely, on the other hand, often has the paradoxical result of more coming back to us than we could ever have imagined. Nice 🙂
Chapter 11 I’d noticed that the previous chapter had sneaked in some spiritual references to “healing white light” but this chapter came clean in its reference to the “Higher Self”, metaphysics and “Universal Energy”. I personally love the spiritual aspect, but I did wonder if this might make some people wary. Regardless, I thought the guided visualisation on ‘The Art of Fearbusting’ was really good, as it’s surprising what the mind can reveal when it’s relaxed and invited to explore like that. I didn’t do it, though, or any of the exercises…
Chapter 12 To be honest, I’m not sure if my notes for this chapter relate to it specifically or for the whole book. I’ve written that it’s unusual with its late onset spirituality and the author ‘went off on one’ a bit. I’ve mentioned that the enthusiasm is real, but there seems to be genre confusion. Or else I was just in a strange mood.
In conclusion, I’m glad I read it for its positive encouragement and the way it’s written with total conviction. It’s a clear reminder that we do have choices and that we can change for the better how we perceive our own self and our life. The exercises are worth doing if you are rather more committed than I am.
I was interested that throughout the book, I recognised shades of other books and philosophies – namely Mindfulness, The Power of Now, F**k It Therapy and the Barefoot Doctor. To my mind, these all offer powerful and relevant insights, so this book is in very good company. Plus, I really like the title!
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