Charity's Reviews > Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope

Searching for Meaning by James T. Webb
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In chapter 6, Webb has a collection of exercises to help the reader get to know herself better. One of these is called "role stripping." The idea is to identify and rank your five most central roles, then, going from least central to most, imagine stripping the roles away one by one, asking after each role falls away who you are and what your life is like without that role.

The evening after I'd read this chapter---but not done the exercises---I dreamed that I was cleaning an empty house. I carried the vacuum from room to room, sweeping the floors and sucking the cobwebs from where the ceiling and walls met, all the while terrified of looking behind me, sure that although I was alone, I would see someone behind me and that someone would not be friendly. I thought, "You know, I probably don't need to clean the basement," and I could almost hear the presence laughing malevolently at my growing terror.

So, I think that without even doing the exercise, I've got a bit of insight at least into how I feel about confronting myself sans roles.

Nightmares aside, this was a decent book. It didn't blow my mind or anything, but I have been wondering for the past couple of years what good it does me as an adult to have been labeled "gifted" as a child, and Webb's book does help me to better understand the full scope of giftedness (often obscured by misunderstanding and the unfortunate word choice---"gifted." Sure, some gift) and how that influences how I see the world and interact with others.

It's a little light on practical suggestions (Meditate. Journal. Exercise. Drink in moderation. Why didn't I think of that?) and relies rather more heavily on "positive psychology" than I'd prefer. (The quotation marks are meant to indicate not snark but skepticism about the discipline and the way it's often used to try to shut down (and shut up) people with dispositional depression.) But then, it is a "self-help" book (those are snark quotes), and backing positive psychology seems to be part of the rubric for that genre.

Now that I'm done reading the book, I'm going to risk the bad dreams and go through some of the exercises and see where that gets me (with the exception of the coat of arms because I'm no longer in third grade).

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Reading Progress

July 26, 2016 – Started Reading
July 26, 2016 – Shelved
September 2, 2016 – Finished Reading

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