Why do people try to sell us the idea that change is easy? Do we ever fall for it?
Yesterday, another brown cardboard lozenge appeared through my letterbox, not an uncommon occurrence in my life. Yes ~ a new book from Amazon! In a moment of Saturday night and marketing hype weakness I had ordered a self-published, inspiration type book from an A-lister blogger. Ever on the look out for encouragement to transform the negative thinking that creeps into my world (and a quick read to add to this year’s 48 book challenge), I turned to the pretty, glossy book and found only that ~ pretty gloss.
I don’t want to quote exactly as it’s not my intention to make this book searchable and do a hatchet job on it, but the general gist so far is ‘be positive’ and ‘be the brave person you want to be’ ~ errrr, thanks. I’d never thought of that before!
Of course, I hold my hands up ~ mea culpa! I am the one that bought the book. I have read reasonably widely in the much derided genre and I think that it is often misunderstood. I am not reading to find a one size fits all solution to my problems. I am reading for nuance and personal reflection. I am reading literally for inspiration ~ that a part of the indwelling spirit in me will quicken and recognise the story of the struggle of the indwelling spirit of the author. I am looking for that recognition that makes something in me leap for the joy of knowing and being known in such an intimate way.
A writer I have been much inspired by is Melody Beattie. Playing It by Heart is such a gorgeous and, yes, inspiring book of personal essays and beautiful insight. It tells of a lifetime’s journey of recovery from codependency and victimhood, and all of its setbacks with a mature honesty. There is no ‘one day I decided to be brave and only use heart shaped post-it notes, and from that day forward everything turned out stellar’. Through Beattie’s intimate sharing of her personal lessons, she reminds me that any recovery is a lifelong opportunity for spiritual growth.
And that’s where the pretty, glossy book fails. It seems scared to tell me recovery from anything is a life long commitment, with heartbreak and uncertainty jostling for attention alongside the joy. The author is scared to show me her heart and instead only shows me her fuschia pink fingertips and enviable jewellery. I am guessing when you’ve built a brand of perfection you can no longer afford to ‘be real’, the price of true intimacy becomes too high.
But I am not falling for it. Change is not easy but it is necessary and continuous. I don’t want your pretty gloss, give me something real.
And that’s what I’ll give you.