Loving Yourself (The PG Way)
"Radical Acceptance" Self Help Book
The Issue: Thinking "I'll be happy when I (lose 10 pounds, get a boyfriend, get a promotion, etc.)" is holding you back from loving who you are and appreciating the present.
The Fix: Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, by Tara Brach. San Francisco based psychotherapist Daniela Tempesta, LCSW highly recommends this book, which she reviews below:
Carl Rogers, a pioneer of modern psychology, once said, "The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." However, most of us tend to see change as the catalyst for self-acceptance, and not the other way around. We may set up faulty expectations for ourselves and convince ourselves that "if only I could accomplish this, or be more like that, or look this way--then I could be happy."
The reality is that this is often a never-ending battle that feels much more like running in a hamster wheel than living a life that truly fulfills us. In Radical Acceptance, Brach invites the reader to give up this losing battle and to learn to accept who we already are. By embracing the idea of bringing radical acceptance into our lives, we are empowered to overcome our struggles with anxiety, depression, addictions, fear and feelings of inadequacy.
Brach, a licensed psychologist and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhist meditation, uses both her personal experiences and those of her clients to illustrate how the "trance of unworthiness" is alive in most people and underlies much of human suffering. Brach explains that in an attempt to avoid the pain of inadequacy, individuals design distraction strategies. These strategies can include becoming a work-a-holic, playing it safe instead of risking failure, keeping a full schedule at all times, focusing on other people's deficiencies, and developing addictions to substances, people, food or exercise. Brach argues that "until we stop our mental busyness, stop our endless activities, we have no way of knowing our actual experience."
For many, the idea of being confronted with the true nature of their own experience may sound more terrifying than healing. Brach's personal and gentle approach helps the reader realize that this process is not only possible, but essential--that only when we invite our demons to sit face to face with us, can we actually dismantle the binding structures they impose on us and move forward. In chapters such as "The Sacred Pause," "Opening Our Heart in the Face of Fear," "Awakening Compassion for Ourselves," and "Recognizing Our Basic Goodness," Brach demonstrates the value of being present in the moment and being more compassionate toward ourselves.
Radical Acceptance beautifully weaves together advice, poetry, Buddhist stories, exercises, and guided meditation that inspire the reader to embrace the notion that our wellbeing and happiness lie within our control.
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