I have read many self-improvement books over the years, but few have had the impact and the potential to help me make the kind of changes in my life that Becoming Free: A Woman’s Guide to Internal Strength by Family Therapist Christy Monson does.
In Christy’s own words, “The purpose of this book is to discuss a step-by-step course to expand your optimistic thinking and to enhance your ability to give and receive.”
Christy starts the book with a butterfly analogy, considering the strength and energy they had to possess to go through the series of changes that leads from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to beautiful butterfly.
Since I was reading this book with the intent to review, I did a quick read-through. But before I was halfway through, I was already going back to the contents to highlight the sections I would want to pay extra attention to. For me, this book has come along at a perfect time as I have been pondering the need to make some changes in my life, which I have come to recognize won’t be accomplished by external changes but rather by changing my mindset, my way of thinking, my attitudes and my behaviors. Like Christy’s butterflies, I realize that I have gone through many stages in my life and it’s time for me to go through another transformation on my way to becoming that beautiful butterfly. Her advice to readers as we begin this journey is to “be proactive so that you can grow with positive energy. Become the best you. Release your protective prisons.”
Part 1 is all about setting and achieving goals, a subject near and dear to my heart. I have been a student of goals and goal setting for many years. I think that mastering this skill is one of the keys to success and happiness in life. Becoming Free covers the steps involved in setting both long- and short-term goals including understanding how you plan, understanding that your goals can and may change, being accountable and being realistic (one of my hot points). Beginning to master goal setting is key to being able to make the changes Christy outlines throughout the rest of the book.
Following the instruction and exercises in goal setting, Christy moves on to Self-Care, including one of my favorite sections, “The Gifts of an Imperfect Life.” Maintaining the illusion of “having it all together” is a common problem for many women, me included—though I am getting better about not feeling the need to create an illusion of a perfect life. Frankly, it’s exhausting and saps us of energy that could be spent in more fulfilling and happier pursuits. I am so happy to have more help in redirecting that energy to more fruitful pursuits.
Self-Care also includes sections on Finding Personal Power, Becoming Positive and Learning to Allow Imperfection in Our Lives (I probably need to read this section again, too).
Following Self-Care, Part 3 of the book covers Communication Proficiency, helping women to develop positive thinking patterns, better listening skills and positive relationships.
Part 4 is all about practicing the process of Becoming Free, learning to write our own scripts, changing our thought processes and ending up with such qualities as Gratitude, Service and Love.
Becoming Free is more than just another self-improvement book. This is really a guidebook to personal improvement and to achieving your potential in life.
I think the back cover sums it up nicely.
Expand your optimistic thinking.
Enhance your ability to give and receive.
Achieve your goals.
Find deeper happiness in life.
Find inner strength and become free.