I’ll start by saying that this book definitely taught me some very valuable lessons and as I sit here writing this, my screen is surrounded by post-its covered in the affirmations the book encourages us to use.
I want to call this a feel-good book, but that would be doing it a great injustice, because what Field has put in there is much more than just that. She offers a host of techniques on how to build our self-esteem up from scratch. She does so simply, kindly, without any of the pump and ceremony some self-help books can be so full of. This book is about the person reading it, it is full of tasks to do and questions to answer. It engages the reader on every level and in a different way with each of the chapters.
Each of the four chapters (Connecting, Understanding, Feeling, Acting) tackles a different area that is affected and in return affects our self-esteem. The overarching pattern is easy to spot: negativity breeds negativity, and a lack of self-esteem will ultimately loop around through action, inaction, and consequences, all the way to an even lower self-esteem. This is a constant teaching of all four chapters: if we wish to gain self-esteem, then we need to break the victim cycle that low self-esteem traps us in.
But what makes Field’s work particularly poignant is her ability to know our answers to the exercises she sets us and the affirmations she gives us to repeat. She knows all the excuses we may have, all the mixed feelings that we will go through us. And not only does she tell us she knows, she tells us it’s ok and that we have nothing to lose if we try. Nothing to lose, that is, but our low self-esteem. Even through a book and far from the face to face client and counsellor set up, Field shows us unconditional love. She accepts and validates our fears and then helps us to move beyond them.
I personally found the visualisation she uses in the second half of the book particularly powerful and poignant and it brought me a real feeling of peace. It is definitely one I would wish to use with others if I became a counsellor, along the ones offered to us in the foundation. And Field, like the people within the visualisation, makes us feel welcomed. The pages of the book are filled with welcoming, comforting, and encouraging ideas. The tasks allow us to express the negative whilst focussing mainly on the positive.
Field pushes us to become to decision-makers of our lives, and teaches us how to trust ourselves more so that we may be in charge of everything that is happening to us, and we do not have to remain trapped in the victim role. For even if being the victim might seems like the easy way out of more or less everything, it only stifles our true self and prevents us from achieving anything that we desire to achieve.