Looking back over his fifty-year career as a psychotherapist in California, David Richo notes that “one issue has come up with clients more often than any other: staying too long in what doesn’t work.” An opposite, but just as pervasive, problem is not giving a situation ample time to work itself out. Ready has tips for breaking out of limbo and moving forward at the right time.
People can get stuck in all kinds of negative circumstances, Richo explains: a relationship, a job, an addiction, a religion. False beliefs, the abiding pull of security, and fear of the truth coming out about oneself are factors that might delay resolving a dilemma. Even knowing about a problem is not enough, if that knowledge is not paired with an admission of the need for action.
The book is directed to an inclusive “us.” It treats the audience as intelligent individuals who are self-aware enough to diagnose their own issues. Clear charts and enumerated attributes summarize the differences between codependency and neediness, between pity and compassion. Richo reveals internalized messages that need to be jettisoned and warns against well-known psychological perils such as the inner critic (to be transformed into an inner ally).
“Living in ambivalence for prolonged periods can be painful and stifling,” Richo admits, so the goal is to break through stalemates. Sets of reflection questions and meditations, designed for concentrated weeks of soul-searching, light the path. There are also affirming declarations to repeat daily. Quotes from the Bible and other scriptures are gentle signposts. Developing thankfulness and lovingkindness, rather than wallowing in regret, is the aim.
It’s all too easy to remain in “idling mode” long term, but letting go (or bedding in), once and for all, is crucial. The indecisive can take heart!: Ready is an invaluable modern-day guide for the perplexed.
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