Top positive review
McHargue DOES deliver on the title
Reviewed in the United States on March 30, 2020
I'm flummoxed by the lackluster reviews this book has garnered, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've read over a thousand books, and I have an extensive library on self-development, spirituality, religion, and the subconscious mind. I'm no stranger to spirituality and soul evolution, and through study and hard work I've been able to unearth and eliminate most shame and guilt from my life. Though I still do stupid things (like eating a bag of Doritos for lunch) and act against my best interests, I've changed many of my so-called faults, because I am willing to accept that I'm flawed, and I don't hide from the unlovely parts of myself. And that's what this book is about.
McHargue writes that our experiences, behaviors, and emotions are largely driven by the way our brains developed and operate, childhood programming, trauma, and social conditioning and expectations. We really don't understand why we do what we do, and we pay the price in shame, guilt, and denial. We bury our pain and idiosyncrasies behind various defensive behaviors in our efforts to be accepted, and we consequently fail to evolve. We think we're different and unworthy of love. We are a pain in the a@@ to ourselves and others.
But we're also a miracle. We are each unique because of our life experiences. We have every right to be here--to be ourselves--just like everyone else, and it's okay to be different, stupid, smart, damaged, loving, hypocritical, angry, and all the other emotions and characteristics that make us unique and "unacceptable."
We absolutely need to embrace every foible, ridiculous emotion, and self-destructive habit, because it's only when we are able to look at our flaws without judgment and condemnation that we are able to change them. If we try to ignore or bury them, they remain like computer viruses running our lives into loneliness and despair.
McHargue, through writing about his own flaws and self-destructive habits, demonstrates that it's okay to accept ourselves, to admit to our failings and quirks and cruelty. McHargue is one messed up dude, and I love him for it. His writing style is personable and transparent. It's easy to love someone who admits they're a mess but difficult to love someone who acts like they have it all together when they don't. So why do we put on such a show?
This book is my introduction to McHargue, and I so enjoyed his style that I want to read his other book because I, too, am a recovering former fundamentalist Christian. If you suffer from shame, guilt, and self-condemnation, read this book. And learn to laugh at yourself, because you really are a ridiculous pain in the ass. Just like me.