A multistep self-help process for letting go of family-related emotional baggage.
Washington (7 Simple Steps to Beat Emotional Baggage, 2017) draws on personal stories of unsupportive and abusive family relationships in a book that aims to “move people to take action to heal from their pasts and live their futures in peace and joy.” Throughout the text, she provides examples to back up her main theme that “Childhood trauma turns into…adult dysfunctional behavior.” For example, she writes that her brother’s physical attacks when she was younger normalized her habit of taking late-night walks, which she originally started taking to escape her sibling. Washington’s tone is warm, conversational, and encouraging, actively urging the reader to cut dysfunctional ties and make space for personal growth. The works centers on a seven-step process that starts with mapping one’s life journey, moves through understanding the reasons for problematic self-talk, and concludes with a celebration of the good things in one’s life. Each step consists of a short affirmation, such as “Having boundaries shows I want self-respect”; a practical technique to employ when experiencing trouble; and an activity that channels general thoughts into concrete actions. Throughout, Washington’s storytelling is vivid, and she’s quick to cite the blessings of her Catholic faith, extended family, and educators when she couldn’t connect with her nuclear “bio-fam.” She refers readers to her website for work sheet templates to complete suggested activities, which keeps the book brief and concise. Some elements are repeated often, such as her the positive belief that mindfully addressing one’s behaviors can help one get closure. However, her often lighthearted attitude toward life’s frustrations demonstrates that she practices what she preaches.
An affirming self-care journey.