With IT’S WITHIN YOU, Rabbi Aryeh Weinstein and Dr. Ilene S. Cohen have written a useful, active guide to improving your life by finding what you need within yourself and adjusting it, rather than depending on outside approval.
This is a book that requires participation, not observation and the tone is encouraging and inclusive. It includes important points, such as not saying what the other person wants to hear, simply because it’s easier and resonates with advice such as, “Living from without keeps us in an endless cycle of buying approval from others. “Buying approval” is powerful phrasing, and it, like many of the concepts in the book, deserve thoughtful consideration.
The writing by Weinstein and Cohen has clarity, contains actionable steps and is not condescending to the reader. The chapters are long enough to explore concepts and ideas–ending with exercises to put the chapter themes into practice–but short enough to remain focused.
Although it is assumed that IT’S WITHIN YOU is aimed toward a wide audience, there are a number of religious references that might be a detriment for someone whose healing process needs to stand apart from religion. However, those references rise naturally from the context, rather than judging a more, non-secular perspective.
Also, the authors’ perspective on anger is disconcerting. The position that one only gets angry if it happens directly to the self negates the work of social justice activists, who work on behalf of others, many of whom they never meet. It’s especially detrimental to deny or suppress women’s anger, which has been done for centuries. Among dozens of studies on the negative consequences of suppressing and denying anger, a study by the American Psychological Association explored the roots and shame around anger, and the American Clinical Psychology Review has an abstract of how internalizing anger negatively affects health. The authors’ position on anger gives this section of the book a patriarchal slant that throws it out of balance. There’s plenty about which to be angry, and anger, when channeled correctly, can be a catalyst for positive change.
IT’S WITHIN YOU is a direct, clear, useful book in digging deeper into the self and fashioning a strong core with which to meet the world.
~Eva Schegulla for IndieReader