Top critical review
You might like it, but I was underwhelmed
Reviewed in Australia on 13 March 2021
I came across Nicole via her Instagram. A lot of the quotes she posted resonated. Then she promoted her book so much it was almost inevitable I would buy it, lol.
I want to be honest though, and say I’ve been disappointed. There was very little new for me here. Perhaps I should take that as a positive because it shows how much I have learned in a lifetime of amateur self-helping? I’m not sure, but it is certainly not a life changing booking for me. Flipping to the suggested reading was telling..I mean I was a bit surprised at the simplicity of it. Sure, the Power of Now is great, but..uhh. She has a PhD in psychology, but I get the feeling she got most of her ideas from the same pop-psychology books that I’ve read. I guess I was expecting something more.
Also, I’m aware Nicole has been criticised over race concerns. I’m not qualified to speak to that, but I will say it sure seemed like there’d been a last minute edit to include race issues so as to counter this criticism. It felt odd and disjointed, and if she has been accused of racism I don’t think this kind of hasty edit will help her cause. It just comes across as of covering for herself and inauthentic. Also, it’s sits uncomfortably to me to include the trauma of racism, which is a huge, pervasive cancer, alongside a bunch of more petty stuff. I appreciate and benefit from Nicole’s point that trauma is all the pain, big and small, not a one off past event. But some things require extra care and you can’t just lump them in together. Racism (I imagine) is a different kind of trauma to occasional childhood emotional neglect. And that’s a different trauma to severe sexual abuse. Some things can’t be handled with journaling and breathwork. And some things require a whole society to do it’s collective “work”, to change its attitudes and beliefs and are not incumbent on the individual to heal by themselves.
Anyhow, I went and had a look on US Amazon and there seem to be many polarising reviews. I’m not going to rave about this book nor denounce it. I sincerely hope there will be many people who find her ideas new, liberating and helpful. I am sure Nicole is a good and well-intentioned person, and she’s certainly put herself out there with plenty of personal sharing and openness. I wish her well, but I will be passing the book on to the charity shop and respectfully unfollowing her on IG because I’m disappointed. (Call me cynical, but I’m sure the income and fame will compensate her enough for the occasional bad reviews like mine).
I’m wary of people wanting to put Nicole on a pedestal as some kind of guru, or even someone with much more wisdom than the next person. Eg: I don’t think cutting off from her family is a sign of someone with good boundaries, it’s a sign of someone unable to perform the difficult work of holding firm boundaries with family whilst simultaneously keeping a compassionate connection. As her family are pretty “average” and not severely abusive or anything, it just gives the impression Nicole has let fame go to her head and become ungrounded. Ultimately who am I to judge of course, but nevertheless I’m wary of her setting herself out as an good example to follow. I say this as someone who tried to cut ties with my own family at one point. It just doesn’t work that way, though there is an initial relief to be sure. It doesn’t last. There’s a real art and hard work to better boundaries and throwing the babies out with the bath water is not helpful to anyone except those with irredeemably abusive, toxic families. Nicole’s family don’t sound that way to me. Just on different wavelengths to her. You can put appropriate distance between yourself and your family and still keep some connection and compassion.
If anyone’s interested (fellow seekers and self-helpers), a book that I really did find life-changing was the late psychiatrist David Hawkin’s Letting Go. I should probably pick that up again and keep going on a path I trust works for me.
P.s. If you do decide to buy the book and want to listen via Audible, make sure you listen to her voice on the sample first and be sure it doesn’t aggravate you like it does me.