ForeWord Reviews

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Walking Tall

Overcoming Inner Smallness No Matter What Size You Are

Foreword Review — Nov / Dec 2001

“Simply put, our thoughts can either cripple us or allow us to WALK TALL.” The author is the optimal example: at three feet, eight inches tall, she allowed the opinion of others to plant negative messages inside where they could blossom. As a Hakomi psychotherapist with a degree in education, she has developed this book to give others the way to become tall from the inside out, as she did.

The disability of life as a little person shadowed O’Neill’s life. Many of the events that caused her smallness are included for inspiration. She provides exercises, such as “Spot and Stop,” which invites readers to list comments from their inner critic-the voice inside that remembers criticism from others-in a stream of consciousness, including comments remembered from childhood, and ones that still come up in adulthood. Reading the list and acknowledging the comments, says the author, will cause them to stop. Other assistance is offered through quotations about negative and positive thinking, tools to change personal verbal attacks into dialogue, and eleven tips to help readers go from their present place to where they want to be.

The “monster dance” is a particularly healthy way to use negative emotions productively, instead of hiding them and allowing them to build. O’Neill recommends that readers sing, dance, draw, or write to unblock specific emotions to help regain wholeness, or try stomping the feet, screaming into the hand or pillows, or even beating a pile of pillows with a baseball bat. All help relieve negative feelings and begin a path toward healing the hurt child inside.

“We can easily discern the degree of inner smallness or bigness people have by how they speak to others,” writes the author. Her step-by-step “soul-ution” offers readers a way to become big by silencing that voice, defending the self, shifting attitudes from negative to positive, seeing the inner gifts, accepting what cannot be changed, unveiling the diamond within, celebrating uniqueness, and expanding into that huge self. This book does all of the above, nurturing the inside. O’Neill says it is well worth it to take the time to grow to be far above the crowd in spirit, where it matters.