- I have a stack of books and journals on my bedside table that glare at me, longing to be read. They know how awesome they are, and they just can’t believe I haven’t made time for them yet (it’s not you, it’s life, I’m sorry!!).
- One looked mournfully at me for so long that I downloaded the audio book instead (good choice) just to find a way to squeeze it in.
- I never want to ask people in my therapy room to do something (even read a book) that I’m not willing or able to do myself.
Against that backdrop, Eric Winter’s Swipe Right on your Best Self arrived by mail.
Here we go again, I thought. Except we didn’t. We went somewhere else instead.
Winters had told me his book was “reassuringly small.” At first glance, it appeared he may be right.
I have a case of too-many-balls-in-the-air just at the moment (hello, sound familiar), which I’m currently addressing but it’s not quite under control just yet. I don’t have time or space to make myself a pot of tea, pop up the “Do Not Disturb” sign, and immerse myself in a dense read just now.
So I could say I decided to read the book the same way I imagine the clients I might choose to recommend it to might read it, as a good test of its robustness. The truth is, that was the only option I had if I was to have any chance of reading it at all.
This. Book. Is. Perfect.
In the acknowledgements, Winters pays tribute to his great teachers, and writes, “I’ve taken your ideas, mangled them and misrepresented them.” Winters is my kind of guy, I think to myself. He’s given himself permission to be imperfect as he summarises and disseminates their works, pulling together many themes from many great minds into a clear, cohesive package (so that you don’t have to). It feels liberating.
Winters promises a book that gets straight to the point and avoids “excess padding”.
It’s fair to say, he definitely delivers.
I’m a science-geek-nut that loves to know all the history of the research and development of the concepts we apply in the therapy room (and with varying levels of success, in our own lives). But we are living with all the balls in the air, people, and if I’m going to be recommending a book it has to pop fuel in our tanks NOW and FAST (but just in case you’re wanting a deeper dive, Winters finishes each chapter with easy-to-access references and links).
Each chapter is the approximate length of a blog post. Easy to digest, Winters gently slides into place foundation blocks for building “a bolder life with fewer regrets“. As I read each chapter – squeezed into moments of taking the children to extra-curricular activities, a quick snippet over my morning cup o’tea, a brief 15 minutes before bed – I find myself making subtle but impactful changes to my daily habits.
I walk with my phone in my pocket instead of my hand.
I make some different food choices.
I give myself permission to go to bed a little earlier.
I feel connected to the reasons I would want to gift these to myself – and it feels easy. It feels – honestly – delightful.
Foundations in place, Winters gently weaves together simple, achievable steps for caring for oneself and moving towards a life of “courageous authenticity.”
I find myself thinking of people I will loan the book to. Perhaps this client? Perhaps that friend? No, first my partner. Wait, I think my teenage son.
It’s that kind of book. It has a little something for everyone, and reading it in today’s mad world is something that is even achievable.
In my crazy, busy, fabulous, life I finished it in a fortnight without it once feeling a chore, and often feeling like a gift. But if I added all the time it took to make my way through, it was maybe the length of two generous pots of tea on a relaxed Saturday afternoon.