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No psycho-babble spoken here
on August 28, 2005
The Dance of Fear is the book formerly known as Fear and Other Uninvited Guests. The name change most likely came as the result of author Harriet Lerner's other Dance book titles - Dance of Anger, Dance of Intimacy, Dance of Deception and so on.
Lerner uses her experiences, patients' experiences, and other people's experiences - a valuable way to teach what fear is as it has many meanings and situations that bring it on. She doesn't throw, "Do this..." out there or make claims you'll get past your fear in one day. Instead, she shares the stories of several patients who had to deal with a challenge over a period of time.
Lerner covers rejection, anxiety, change, the workplace, looks, and when things fall apart. When it comes to addressing fear, only one thing is guaranteed - one solution does not fit all. What helped Anne Morrow Lindbergh cope with the loss of her infant son won't necessarily work for someone else.
The message is that we all face fear in spite of our education, knowledge, courage, or any other characteristic that supposedly makes a person fearless. When we accept fear as a natural occurrence in our lives, we learn to deal with it better than if we didn't accept that.
Some who see a book classified as psychology or self-help run away. It's understandable as such books can be too sugary sweet, too philosophical, full of annoying affirmations, or full of exercises. This one has none of these characteristics. Heck, it makes you laugh. It doesn't even mention OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and it has a drop of panic attacks, but not from someone who is dealing with panic / anxiety disorder. It's about the fear all humans experience, not just those with an illness.
As a result of this book, I walk away with a better understanding of fear and its cousins, shame and anxiety. I'm not cured of anything. Instead I have gained insight into this strong emotion and should have a better handle on it the next time I dance with it.
The Dance of Fear has none of the big words that Lerner learned in medical school. Instead of quoting complex theories, she uses meaningful quotes you may have come across. The outcome is a book that reads like a friend wrote it and who happens to be knowledgeable on this topic.