Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Resilient Woman

by Patricia O'Gorman, PHD

I read a lot of self-help books in my 20s & 30s but when all the messages were just different wording of the same themes, I weened myself.  Some of those books helped me create some positive changes in my life.

The Resilient Woman is among the best of the best that I've read.  I don't even know where to begin telling you how worthwhile this book is.  In preparing for this review, I went back and looked at my highlights - there are many highlights.  I can see that I need to reread the whole book a couple more times.  Plus, I'm going to buy a copy for each of my 4 daughters.

As I read The Resilient Woman the Lord's admonishment to us in the scriptures to "endure to the end" and "endure all things" kept coming to mind.  I realized that by becoming a resilient person, I could endure all things with grace and learn lessons from my life experiences.

Throughout the book Dr. O'Gorman provides thoughtful journal exercises.  Let me just share one with you.  This is about half way into the book and so there has been quite a bit leading up to this one but it hit home with me.
You are puzzle worth working on.  Get curious.  Begin by looking your patterns.  Describe a pattern that you keep repeating.  What are you protecting yourself from by following this pattern?  What would happen if you did something else?
Then she talks about curiosity vs shame.
   With shame we see ourselves as the problem.  Shame doesn't feel good no matter how we package it.  It traps us, sucks out energy, and, most important, shame keeps us stuck, which keeps us from accessing resilience.  By disempowering us, shame facilitates us doing the same things over and over again  It keeps us in the same patterns that we know do not work for us.  The opposite of shame and critical self-judgement is curiosity.  Curiosity invites an openness to understand, a willingness to dare to take the risk to explore.  In fact, curiosity can actually be quite exciting!  Experiment with changing some small things in your life to see if the earth falls out from under you.  When you find out it doesn't, you, too, can feel this exhilaration.
I liked this because curiosity is one reason I read.   That's something I know about.  By using curiosity in another way I can learn to experiment with small things in my life and see if they work for me or not.

There are so many concrete suggestions in this book.  I highly recommend it to everyone.  It's directed at women but I think it can apply to men, too.  I recommended it to my husband.

I received a copy of The Resilient Woman from NetGalley in return for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.


Zibilee said...

This sounds like a book that would help me too, right about now. I am stuck in blame and shame right now, and feel that I need some help getting out. I am going off to see if I can grab this one right away. Thanks for the helpful and well written review!

Susan said...

This is an intriguing book. I think I might see if my library has it. I like how she uses curiosity to get around shame, to lessen its hold so we can find other ways of being and behaving and thinking and reacting. Curiosity lets us be gentle with ourselves, I find. I also like the biblical quotes you used. Endurance is a quality no one likes to talk about,these days, and yet it is always a part of living.

Ann Summerville said...

I haven't read a "self help" book in years. This sounds like one that might be enlightening though.