I really don’t believe in coincidence, so when a major oversight on my part caused a disappointing and inconvenient plight for my family, it was not for nothing that Give Yourself a Break by Kim Fredrickson was already on my night stand waiting to be read. I needed to hear its message of “self-compassion” — the truth that I am worthy of the same grace that I would offer to someone else in my situation. Kim makes an important distinction between self-compassion and self-pity, where we “wallow in the shame of what we have done.” Nor is self-compassion the same as complacency where we give ourselves permission to just flop around ineffectively. “Instead, it is the idea that we can be kind to ourselves when we fail and treat ourselves with the caring support we would give another who is struggling.” For me, her most helpful advice was to avoid condemnation, which is a waste of time; and, instead, to forgive ourselves, to analyze the situation in order to avoid a repeat performance, and then to embrace change for the future.
A licensed marriage and family therapist, Kim has credentials and has put in her time as a professional helper, but the voice that reaches out from the pages of her book is that of a friend and a wise counselor, elevating her writing beyond the genre of just another happy-talking, self-help book. Kim shares case studies lifted from her practice as well as situations from her own childhood and her experiences as a mum. The book includes a six-page appendix of verses which trumpet God’s love, care, and compassion which I savored like a long-awaited letter one sunny afternoon.
A huge factor in silencing one’s inner critic is learning to practice positive self-talk.
Having a little trouble finding the words?
No problem! Give Yourself a Break includes scripted messages to read and practice.
It will feel awkward and stilted, but, with practice, you will learn to speak compassion to yourself in your own words.
Amidst the advice on relationships, self-care, and handling strong emotions, Kim offers some very concise and sagacious words for dealing with life on this fallen planet:
- Mistakes are normal.
- Changing how you care for yourself takes awareness, intentional thought, and a plan.
- We often live as if we should be perfect, and we are devastated when we fail . . .
- Don’t hold things against yourself.
Those are some of Fredrickson’s Fundamentals. Now, hear the Word of the Lord:
“For I am the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, do not fear;
I will help you,” (Isaiah 41:13).
So, self, what will it be?
Critic or friend?
This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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