Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Expectation Hangover

I've been dealing with some periods of extensive discouragement lately. Most of it centers on frustrations with my writing. Some of it comes from disappointment with how my life is going (especially as I approach a significant birthday). Thus, I leaped at the chance to secure this book, by Christine Hassler, from the library.  Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love, and Life is a book about just such periods of disillusionment.

We build up such expectations for what our lives will amount to and then when life hands us less than what we envisioned, we feel let down. For me, this was probably exacerbated by my near-death experience as a toddler. I was always assured that there was a reason God stepped in and miraculously brought me back from the brink. Surely, there was a greater purpose that He intended to accomplish in and through me. Was that purpose simply for me to bear the three gifts of my sons or is there something still in the works for me to pursue? I don't know.

Hassler does a great job of helping the reader to visualize the changes she suggests. She paints vivid word pictures and structures these pictures effectively. Basically, she encourages the reader to see themselves as relying on four internal mechanisms labelled the "surfer" (who assists in riding the waves of emotions), the "horseback rider" (who silences the inner critic - "whoa" - and redirects), the "scientist" (who analyzes the situation completely and sets in place actions to make changes), and the "seeker" (who nurtures your spiritual side as it relates to the tangible life experiences you are going through).

I, personally, felt the voice of the book to be a bit too new-age for my tastes. A "Higher Power" is invoked, with whatever name you wish to use. The meditative exercises often were prefaced with the encouragement to make statements like "May only that which is for my Higher Good come forward." But the value of the insights outweighed the jargon and style of suggested meditative exercises. I certainly needed the particular chapter which highlighted finding your inner superpowers (the things which give you the biggest charge and joy). I benefited from the encouragement to look beyond the discouragement for the lesson hidden in the trials. So, there is good to be gleaned, even if you don't particularly see eye-to-eye with the author's generalized presentation (basically saying "call it whatever you need to call it in order to get it done").

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