According to the author, this book may be of “no benefit whatsoever” or “an amazing epiphany”?
He has written it to try and help everyone whose self-image is in any way negative or critical, and who therefore struggles with relationships, feelings of failure, addictions that are ultimately harmful (like smoking, drinking, overeating), emotional instability and the recurrent conviction that he or she isn’t good-looking enough, strong enough or clever enough to succeed in the way so many people seem to be able to.
His contention is that for every person who may have established a strong sense of self and is confident in their ability to achieve, there are many more who suffer from false perceptions of their own unworthiness, and who have developed patterns of thinking and behaviour that constantly reinforce those feelings of failure.
His message is a hopeful one: that no one is born ‘broken’ and that everyone has the power to reclaim their birthright to personal genius, however badly they were abused or undermined in their childhood and adolescence. More than once while reading this book, Philip Larkin’s words went through my head: “Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can. And don’t have any kids yourself.”
The two possibilities in my title are laid out by the author himself, who stresses that while everyone’s salvation is their own hands, they really have to want to free themselves from the crushing burden of self-deprecation in order to find the strength within themselves to cast off the role of victim and embrace the person that they were born to be, a person with limitless potential. This book could be an epiphany that leads to amazing achievements, or it could be of no benefit at all, or even be violently rejected by those who have settled for the rewards that being a victim can bring: the sympathy and support of family and friends, and the benefits that our society provides for those apparently too damaged to fend for themselves.
I found it an interesting read, and am in total agreement with the author’s pretty basic message that is delivered time and again for emphasis. Telling references to particular works of literature and quotations from famous individuals back up his contention that we all have it within us to forgive those who have trespassed against us in order to free ourselves from the shackles of the past and thereby to strike out towards a better, brighter and most importantly happier future.
I recommend that you read it for yourself. It will not take you long, and it is good to be reminded that not to forgive someone for something that s/he has said or done to you is to remain shackled to the feelings of hurt and/or hate that their behaviour invoked. As the Bard of Avon once famously pointed out: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Any reader who takes David Gibbs’ messages on board and seriously tries to act upon them will undoubtedly benefit. Whether or not you do so is entirely up to you. He assures you that you have the capacity. The key question is whether or not you have the will to set off along the path that he contends leads from ‘humbug’ to happiness.