Wolf writes a fascinating collection of chapters that transcends most self-help books, with research, tested ideas and logical explanations for human patterns we work to reverse continuously throughout life.
Rather than offering 12 steps or a system to rearrange one’s life, Wolf takes a more realistic and lifelong approach to the subject of avoiding “faceplants,” or patterns of self-defeat that readers all face throughout life. These faceplants are engrained behaviors or pathologies that keep us from moving forward toward success. They can come in the form of a lack of self-care due to an unbalanced devotion to others or a creation of dysfunction due to belligerently speaking one’s mind. While occasional faceplants continue throughout life, Wolf frames an educational guide that leads to awareness, not avoidance. One of the biggest defenses against faceplanting, for example, is self-security. Wolf explains that someone emotionally secure understands how to set boundaries and make informed decisions. By assessing what we want and who we are, we become intimate with ourselves and learn to create emotional safety. That safety, according to Wolf, is a key factor in diminishing patterns of repeated behavior that land us in undesirable situations. Perhaps what’s most unique about the concept is that it can be applied to so many aspects of life. Faceplanting happens in relationships, careers, child-raising, family dynamics and even personal health. Another recurring concept in the book is “inner chatter,” or the ideas or models we’ve become accustomed to hearing in our heads when certain events occur. For example, one faceplant might involve deflecting each time you hear a compliment, since internal chatter suggests that flattery creates vulnerability and ultimately weakness. Wolf explains clearly how to isolate these “inner chatters” and assess them based on how well they’ve assisted you so far. From interviews with anonymous patients about relationship patterns to anecdotes about nameless faceplanters who discovered the keys to seeing their repetitive missteps, Wolf uses a history of observation to offer steps toward awareness rather than prepackaged solutions. With such an array of testimonials and client observations, many (if not all) readers will recognize some behavioral pattern or faceplant of their own. With more than 30 years of experience in talk therapy and behavioral experiments, Wolf seems to effortlessly demonstrate that major life changes only need be a series of small changes, decisions and commitments to personal emotional health.
A well-organized, thoughtful and thoroughly researched book that covers a wide array of emotional issues using universal concepts.