Review of Kamila Gorzkiewicz
Master of Arts in Cultural Studies and Media Knowledge 22/11/2017
If – like me – hearing the phrase “become a better version of yourself”, you feel like shivers go down your back and contestantly state that it is impossible, you will probably approach this text with similar reserve. I have always said that the trend of positive thinking and self-development that I see clearly paradoxically causes more harm than good in my self-esteem. The articles read on this topic have always been accompanied by a sense of pressure on people and improper stigmatization of states in which we are completely average, but still the best versions we can afford in a given moment of life. Constant call for change, for self-confidence, for taking control, I associated with strengthening the image of a modern man who must enter into a series of canons and patterns to be perceived as valuable. Suckes visualizations and “contact with the cosmos” evoked a bitter smile of embarrassment and a sense of strangeness. Safe skepticism meant that I didn’t even try to change my mind.
I would almost make a similar mistake with the book “You are your own master!” Dorota Ziemby-Miłek, who attracts with a sounding coaching title and advises to look at our lives to try to answer the question: why can’t we think about ourselves in the way this publication suggests? This is an extremely extensive set of knowledge – this fact alone has put my lazy and dubious nature ahead of the challenge. A clear division into five parts has facilitated this task and did not allow me to disorganize properly the control over reading.
I was lucky enough to open (open to) the book, whose first three chapters changed my approach to attempts to influence fate, unusually honestly and professionally introducing into the basics of psychology – so as to understand how we perceive the world, the mechanisms of our thinking, actions and finally learn methods of management them. The author tries to describe all theories in an interdisciplinary and in a way humble way, so that previously distant terms, i.e. energy, attraction or visualization, acquire new, meaningful meaning. The ideas presented are explained with a special thought in mind for readers who differ from each other in the way they perceive reality, and none of them is hierarchized or valued. It does not matter, therefore, whether we reach for the book with the hope of its therapeutic support or want to satisfy the government of factual knowledge. The author took into account the preferences of rational readers who could not do without scientific facts, as well as those more emotional recipients. Thanks to the book “Be your master!”, Their shared reflection may become a sense of agency, which results from understanding both our conscious and subconscious sphere of life and the possibility of influencing both.
The fourth part, after building specific theoretical foundations, requires us to be ready to take responsible action. This is motivational, but at the same time non-oppressive – if we feel doubt the author suggests a return to earlier, specific chapters. A nice surprise is the attitude to difficulties, conflicts and unpleasant events. One can get the impression that with the right approach they are (only seemingly absurdly) good and needed – as an inexhaustible source of information and tips about ourselves.
Thanks to the tables in the fifth part, our reflection will be additionally stimulated by appropriately asked questions. The condensed version of the previously described methods will leave us with a pleasant sense of preparation and readiness to work.
I am most grateful to Dorota Ziembie-Miłek for the de-infantilization of self-development in my eyes. The book emanates wisdom and a wealth of experience. It is worth reaching for it if we want to open not only to ourselves, but also to the vast knowledge and science of psychology and personal development.