This Week’s Book = The Dance of Fear (by H. Lerner)
This week I decided to re-read a book that I remember being super helpful when I was in the throes of anxiety in my early twenties. When I picked it up this time, I realized that I could not remember for the life of me what exactly the book was about or how it had helped me. All I could remember was the comfort that this book had given me and how so much of what it said just made sense. So, needless to say, this week’s read was a bit of a rediscovery.
The Dance of Fear is a family systems-based discussion of fear, anxiety and shame – emotions that we all feel from time to time in varying degrees. Lerner is very clear – this is not a book that will lay out a plan for you to eliminate fear and anxiety from your life. Instead, this book examines the fear, shame and anxiety processes, what to expect when we try to make changes, and how fear, anxiety and shame play out in our work and personal lives. It is very conversational in nature and includes lots of real life examples. Lerner reserves the discussion of courage (a seemingly obvious topic in a book on fear) for the very last chapter. Again she is clear – courage is not the equal to fearlessness, but instead it is when we act or speak despite our fear.
I’ll admit, when I first started reading this again my reaction was…meh. You know, that non-committal sound accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders. By the end of the book, I was much more satisfied with the information being presented. The chapter on change is probably the best one in my opinion, as it gives a very candid look at how the systems in our lives will react to our changes. But really, who cares what I think about this book now? The key point is that, when I was in the depths of my anxiety ridden years, this book was helpful. When I was feeling at my worst, this book gave me hope and information that gave me a little nudge forward. This book spoke to exactly how I was feeling in a way that made sense and it normalized what I was experiencing. To know that you are not alone is a powerful thing. If you are dealing with anxiety, panic, fear, or shame, I highly recommend that you give this book a try.
Interested in this book? Click here!
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