Book review: Tame Your Inner Critic - be glad about life's good bits
American reiki master and psychic healer's latest self-help guide urges readers to find their internal wisdom, but some may find her ideas wacky or even absurd
Tame Your Inner Critic:
Find Peace & Contentment to Live Your Life on Purpose
Della Temple must be one of the most versatile seers in the self-help sphere. On one level, Temple is a certified reiki master, who has studied clairvoyance and psychic healing at Boulder Psychic Institute in Colorado.
On the other, she boasts a bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting, and a master's degree in organisational leadership - "string theory for business nerds", her potted profile says, adding that she twins her love of anything analytical with a broad interest in quantum physics and the energetic healing world.
The all-rounder opens her new personal growth guide, Tame Your Inner Critic, with a bold confession. "My inner critic used to be very loud and very obnoxious. It told me I couldn't do many of the things I wanted to do, that I was too small, too unprepared, too opinionated, or not good enough," she writes.
Through her book, you'll supposedly learn how to harness your innate intuition and dump self-critical judgments that may have gained traction in your head. She claims it can help you achieve purpose and happiness.
"Find your true north - your own internal wisdom that is connected to the divine and gives you guidance," the blurb says. Grand claims.
Every chapter in Temple's book ends with mental exercise sections marked by abstraction; references to psychic soap bubbles and "grounding cords" pepper the text.
Some readers might find the tone of Temple's advice, which can lend itself to parody, too new-age. Just look at her claim that human auras are oval-shaped and extend 46 centimetres in all directions.
Then there is her embrace of chakras, described as "as energetic way stations linking our spirit to our physical body".
Temple's core healing technique is visualisation, and she claims that everyone is a giant magnet attracting outcomes in tune with their thoughts and feelings. Temple flirts with absurdity when she claims that a friend called Laurel intuitively knows she will find a great place to park her car, and so always does.
The analysis sounds wacky or "woo-woo", to cite the words that Temple enlists when gamely admitting some readers may harbour doubts about her psychic slant.
Still, as she argues, her spiritual take on self-improvement is less offbeat than might be supposed.
"Most cultures of the world recognise that we are more than just our physical shell of skin, bones, and teeth. We are thinking, feeling, living, energetic fields of potential. We are our thoughts, feelings, emotions, brain, mind, body, and spirit all wrapped together in a package of consciousness," writes Temple, who runs an organisation called Miracles Business Coaching and a development firm called Wonderland Hill.
She is most persuasive when she highlights the value of gratitude. The more you focus on the positive sides of any situation, the better, she writes.
"This is not a Pollyanna way of being," she adds. Several scientific studies show that being grateful for what is going well in your life actually raises the level of your "happiness quotient", she says.
Look at the food in your refrigerator: notice that you have food to eat and a roof over your head, she writes. "See the positive."
And remember to meditate. "Count your breaths: in, out, in, out. Breathe and be present. As thoughts enter your mind, which they will, allow them to float by. Breathe," she writes. "Feel. Be. Do nothing, be everything. That is all."
Another highlight is a cited statement about attitude, ascribed to the evangelical pastor Charles Swindoll, who eloquently claimed that life was 10 per cent what happened to him and 90 per cent how he reacted. Everything is attitude, Swindoll reckoned.
"It is more important than your appearance, your giftedness, or your skills. It will make or break a company. It will cause a church to soar or sink. It will make the difference between a happy home or a miserable home," he is quoted as saying.
Speaking of misery, Temple suggests you stop treating life as a drama full of angst and strife. Give your inner critic a silly name such as Annoying Alan or Angry Alice, she says, and let go.