Instead of listening to the body – after all, symptoms are it’s way of communicating with us – we seek to silence it.
How To Do The Work seemed to me like New-Age Hippy psychology. I have spent the last few years really critically reviewing contemporary psychology trends, so I expected a lot of this book to be quite repetitive. And, while getting a brief review of some great modern psychology tips in every book is reasonable, I tend to really hate the cliché stuff. Nicole LePera had just the right blend of modern, contemporary, and scientifically-backed up tips for her readers. I can see why she’s very popular on social media; she has an accessible voice.
I approached this book with a very nonchalant attitude. Then, bam! She gets the reader with really well-placed references to Dr. Gabor Maté and Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. Not to bash on the New-Age Hippy psychology, but that gave her work a real foundation. Her focus though is on wellness. Wellness as a symptom of health. “The research is unequivocal: people with unresolved trauma get sicker and die younger,” she writes. This places real emphasis on getting healthy not buying into the social lies that perpetuate illness and trauma such as “That’s how things have always been, therefore that’s okay.” What I really enjoy matches LePera’s message is that it’s our responsibility to get healthy; it’s our responsibility to take our mental wellness into our own hands because society will certainly not do it for us. It is, in fact, working against us, actively pushing us toward sickness to make us vulnerable to the capitalist networks that are all around us.
When a parent-figure denies a child’s reality, they are unconsciously teaching the child to reject their intuition, their “gut feeling.”
How To Do The Work lists a few key pillars that are very important on a wellness journey and reparenting. They go (1) emotional regulation, (2) loving discipline, (3) self-care, (4) rediscover wonder. Reparenting to me is an interesting concept. I’m sure many great parents would feel very offended if their child claimed to need it. The key, in my opinion, is to realize that it’s a kind of conscious differentiation. If we didn’t reparent and redirect ourselves, we chance repeating their mistakes, their traumas. The idea is to also build self-trust. Many of us focus on a million and one things before we focus on internal peace, serenity, and good mental health. It’s revolutionary to flip the tables and have our lives revolve around these goals first and foremost. From personal experience, I can certainly say that speaking my mind (rather than keeping my silence for the sake of maintaining peace) ruffles a lot of feathers. But, while society and my employers may try to punish me in some form or another, I sleep better at night knowing that I did not betray myself for the sake of others. The new you might definitely have less friends, and that’s just fine.
Emotional maturity has nothing to do with numerical age. Some of us hit maturity levels that exceed those of our parent-figures before we hit puberty – and some emerge from the womb more mature…”
LePera, Nicole. How To Do The Work, Harper Wave, 9 March 2021. Accessed via Hoopla.
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