A woman seeks to free herself from the lingering effects of a tumultuous past in this debut memoir.
When Kirkland confronted a change of career—from territory manager of a Fortune 100 company to beauty consultant with Mary Kay—she confided to a friend, “I can’t fail…because then everyone will know I’m no good.” It was a shocking revelation, and she began seeking answers that would help her achieve a sense of emotional wholeness. She first explored her childhood, during which she says her authoritarian parents taught her to fear a harsh God; she realized that this ultimately stifled her positive energy and convinced her she was “no good.” She writes that these feelings led her into two failed marriages in which she felt “unloved and unlovable,” and that they also motivated her to seek success as a way to cover up her insecurities. However, this book focuses less on her emotional trials and more on her recovery. Drawing on information from various workshops, books, and personal experiences, she details her coping strategies, such as studying her past and its consequences, reframing unhealthy thought processes, validating and exploring negative emotions, and learning to forgive others. One of the memoir’s most appealing qualities is Kirkland’s excitement as she shares successes in her healing process. The book could have been trimmed down, as it repeats many ideas in different chapters. Overall, though, it flows very easily, offering astute commentary and excellent imagery. Readers may find that not all the coping strategies resonate with them, particularly the unconventional ones, such as having conversations with different parts of oneself or considering how one’s birth story affected one’s later life. However, there are many insightful ideas that readers may find beneficial, such as using criticism to learn about oneself and finding compassion for wrongdoers by considering their upbringings. Although Kirkland’s specific background is unique, the principles she shares are universal and worth a read.
An engaging collection of coping principles for soul-searching readers.