Fear and Other Uninvited Guests: Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keep Us from Optimal Living and Loving

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Harper Collins, May 11, 2004 - Self-Help - 256 pages
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Unhappiness, says bestselling author Harriet Lerner, is fueled by three key emotions: anxiety, fear, and shame. They are the uninvited guests in our lives. When tragedy or hardship hits, they may become our constant companions.

Anxiety can wash over us like a tidal wave or operate as a silent thrum under the surface of our daily lives. With stories that are sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking, Lerner takes us from "fear lite" to the most difficult lessons the universe sends us. We learn:

  • how a man was "cured in a day" of the fear of rejection -- and what we can learn from his story

  • how the author overcame her dread of public speaking when her worst fears were realized

  • how to deal with the fear of not being good enough, and with the shame of feeling essentially flawed and inadequate

  • how to stay calm and clear in an anxious, crazy workplace

  • how to manage fear and despair when life sends a crash course in illness, vulnerability, and loss

  • how "positive thinking" helps -- and harms

  • how to be our best and bravest selves, even when we are terrified and have internalized the shaming messages of others

No one signs up for anxiety, fear, and shame, but we can’t avoid them either. As we learn to respond to these three key emotions in new ways, we can live more fully in the present and move into the future with courage, clarity, humor, and hope. Fear and Other Uninvited Guests shows us how.

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About the author (2004)

Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., is one of our nation’s most loved and respected relationship experts. Renowned for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships, she served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic for more than two decades. A distinguished lecturer, workshop leader, and psychotherapist, she is the author of The Dance of Anger and other bestselling books. She is also, with her sister, an award-winning children's book writer. She and her husband are therapists in Lawrence, Kansas, and have two sons.

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