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Posted August 26, 2001
Lighten Up, Reach Out in New Ways and Be True to Yourself!
In a moment when we feel safe, loved, comfortable, and relaxed, most people can communicate quite well and strengthen relationships. Catch us off guard with a terrible blow from someone close, and our knees may jump so hard that they hit us in the jaw. We may say and do things that damage or destroy relationships. What can we do instead of these harmful reactions? How can we repair things once the damage has been done? While many authors have written fine books about building and maintaining good and deteriorating relationships, this book has taken on all of the tough issues as its focus. You think your spouse is seeing someone else. Your child won't speak to you. Your husband has taken liberties with your daughter. Your best friend says she or he never wants to see you again. There's a terrible family crisis and the other person cuts you off. Dr. Lerner draws on her personal experiences as well as case histories from her practice as a psychotherapist to give you answers. In doing so, she doesn't promise solutions will follow. But you can be sure that you will have done a great deal to try to help the situation. The book starts with the contrast of adult behavior to how children behave. Two children become angry in a sandbox, but five minutes later are quietly playing together again. 'They choose happiness over righteousness.' Adults usually do the opposite. The essence of the book is to encourage you to figure out what you need to have from a relationship, and to communicate those needs, while finding out the same from the other person. In that simple statement, the book's concept is very much like the better negotiating books (such as Getting to Yes). Naturally, this advice is a lot harder to follow when your most intimate and closest relationships are involved. So you need someone to talk it over with. You can also use this book as a source of coaching for most of the tough personal situations you may find yourself in. While reading this book, you will get more from it if you keep an open mind about the specifics of the advice being presented. The overriding point Dr. Lerner is making is that the other person may be in the wrong, but if you make him or her feel unhappy all of the time about it, you may lose the relationship. If the relationship is important to you, you may win the battle and lose the war. There is a lot of judgmental advice in here about when to be silent, when to speak, and how much to say and in what ways. In different families and with different cultures, these rules will be quite different and Dr. Lerner makes that point explicit. You have to decide how you want to respond. That's what's important. Although this book will seem like a natural to many women, I think most men will benefit as well. The examples go from the perspectives of both women and men, and men will get many valuable ideas for constructive ways to deal with conflict and issues. In my case, I find myself spending a lot of time listening to other people unburden themselves. Sometimes, this gets to be more than I am comfortable with. The book provided me with some valuable ideas for drawing limits to how many times I have to listen to the same complaint while still expressing my desire to support and be there for the other person. I thought that the best parts of the book were the concepts of asking questions to find out more about what and why the other person is feelings the way she or he is, and providing the kinds of support that will make others realize that we care about them. Both are enriching and rewarding things to do. Knowing that some people have trouble apologizing, I thought that the book was realistic to point out that in some relationships you are not going to get apologies. You should face up to that and decide how you feel about it. After you finish reading and thinking about this excellent book, I hope you will drop a note, call, talk to, or give a hug to each person you care about
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Posted April 24, 2013
This book speaks to everyone who has ever been in a relationship
This book speaks to everyone who has ever been in a relationship - familial, romantic or business. She doesn't just give you steps on how to deal with people, but real life anecdotes that allow you to understand the concept and then she breaks it down into manageable strategies for your own life. I want to purchase a copy for everyone in my life! (I won't, but I'd certainly like to !!)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I'm so glad I found Harriet!
Her books have opened up my world...she has helped me figure out my mother, kids, friends and work relationships in an easy concise way. I love the audiobooks the best and listen to them every morning while getting ready for the day. She has helped me realize that I am NOT to blame for everything...and some things will never be resolved, but at least I can think differently about them and stop just "reacting". She has helped me find my "self" and my "voice" which I didn't even realize were missing!!! That AHA! Moment was HUGE! My first introduction to Harriet came with my discovery of "The Dance of Anger". WOW. After listening to that book for at least 10 times I knew that I needed to end the circular dance. My next audiobook was "The Dance of Connection" which I believe has helped me even more. I would say that this book, in conjunction with "Dance of Anger" should be required reading for couples in trouble (I wish I had found Harriet before my divorce)....or any relationship that matters (even if its your boss) "Fear and Other Uninvited Guests" helped me understand my mother and what she has lived with her entire life...and my daughter who has seemingly inherited all my mothers anxiety traits...and myself (even though other people describe me as fearless, I do not see it that way) I have now purchased "The Mother Dance" and "Life Preservers" and can't wait to dive in. Bottom line-- Harriet Lerner gave me new insight to my life with explanations and "fixes" (for lack of a better word) that I found easy to understand and even easier to practice. And she has a sense of humor too! If you don't like the way she reads her audiobooks then you must be listening more for the aesthetic value and NOT for what she has to say.. oh, and one more thing...most players have settings that will speed up the playback....personally, I am hard of hearing so I like that she speaks slowly and enunciates her words.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.