A therapist discusses how to recognize and release oneself from negative self-images in this debut psychology and self-help guide.
St. John Smith, a Vancouver, British Columbia–based therapist, opens this book with her own discovery that she’d led her life with the incorrect belief, formed and reinforced throughout her childhood, that she wasn’t intelligent. She then segues into a discussion of personal “myths”: “every single person has their own set of stories about themselves,” she says. She aims her book at readers “who carry negative and limiting myths…and, as a result, lead lives that aren’t nearly as enriching as they could be.” She outlines how such negative stories lead to patterns of shame, fear, and anxiety and how they reinforce negative coping styles, such as surrendering, avoiding, or overcompensating. She maps out what she deems the 10 most common myths (“I’m not attractive enough,” “I’m not successful enough,” and so on) and shares 27 case studies, loosely based on her own patients’ experiences, to uncover these myths and develop action plans for positive change. She provides worksheets so that readers may do similar awareness and self-development work, and later, she notes that forgiving others for their parts in myth creation may be hard, but it’s a way to regain one’s personal power. She concludes by warning that myths’ impacts never fade away completely, but by using her methods, she says, “we can find ways to manage the thoughts and feelings that arise.” St. John Smith (Willy Earns His Wings, 2015), the author of a previous children’s book, here offers a helpful book for adults looking to become more cognizant of their own developmental influences and take conscious steps to control their own lives. Her case studies, in particular, clarify and reinforce her therapeutic ideas, and her inclusion of her own struggles makes her a relatable and authoritative guide. Although readers may wish that St. John Smith had explored more than 10 myths, she’s still created a valuable springboard that will let readers begin to question and tackle any type of negative personal belief.
An illuminating primer to unearthing and managing one’s damaging stories.