An autobiographical approach to reflection and self-improvement.
Storytelling is a key element of this innovative self-help manual, which encourages women of all ages to forgive themselves and create healthier life narratives. The book is divided into five parts, starting with a section on the past and the ways that “cultural programming” shapes one’s early perceptions. This is followed by sections on the present and the future, another directed mainly at mothers, and a final part centered on the author’s own story. The overall style is refreshingly old-fashioned and epistolary, featuring letters written by women to their younger selves. Consultant Chelli Wolford, for instance, writes: “Learn to forgive as if it were your job. Forgive those who have hurt you, and forgive yourself for those you have hurt.” Schneider ends each section with open calls to readers called “Do the Work,” in which she distills various lessons into questions and encourages free-writing about self-love, forgiveness, and finding one’s inner worth. “We wrap our lives around the sins of others,” she writes at one point, but she also urges readers to remember the magic in their hearts. It all culminates in ringing affirmations to Schneider’s younger self (“You have bones of steel and the blood of a warrior, and your heart and mind are diamonds”). This self-help work’s combination of workbook activities and lesson-giving retrospectives is cumulatively effective, and the author usefully stresses the value of writing throughout. Many readers have thought at one point or another, “If I only knew then what I know now.” Schneider’s choice to use this wistful what-if as a springboard for self-evaluation is an inspired one.
A practical handbook for women seeking to restore damaged beliefs about themselves.