Book Review: Try Softer

I just finished reading Aundi Kolber’s book Try Softer which releases on January 7th, 2020, and I have so many thoughts. I’ve always been the type of person who tries extra hard and wants to please everyone. This has been both a gift and a constant source of pain to me. I have struggled to find my voice and live my own truth for many years. Over this past year, I have had to learn many of the lessons that are shared in this book. I would like to say that I got there by my own volition, but it’s more a case that my brokenness led me on a search for survival.

When I encountered Aundi’s work for the first time, I was amazed. Here in one place, were many of the things I had been learning on the way. What a gift! This book something I wish I could have had access to a long time ago. I knew that when she released her book, I had to be part of the launch team because I really want this message to go far. I know how much it has changed my own life.

Aundi’s gentle words and compassionate tone leap off the pages as you read through. Reading it feels like a warm hug from a trusted friend who then takes the time (and has the expertise) to share how you can become more whole.  She expertly weaves in the latest research and psychological findings between stories from counselling sessions and exhortations to become who you were meant to be. Paragraph after paragraph introduces you to trauma-informed ideas and practices, meant to help you with this ‘try softer’ life. Aundi is also generous with her own story, sharing the struggles of her own journey. This gives the book a personal touch and builds a sense of shared camaraderie. A necessary encouragement to readers to each own their story and find healing.

One would think that a book about healing from trauma and finding wholeness would read heavily, and many do. This one is different in this regard also. Somehow, Aundi managed to write an entire book that points you towards significant life change without it sounding like a burden or another thing to add to the list. It is literally an invitation to come home. Whoever would have thought that the way to achieve more is by doing less? This is the paradox of life and one that the book exemplifies so well. As Aundi herself notes in the book, “The process of blooming is as valuable as the flower it produces.”

I’m very interested in psychology, trauma, and the body so if you’re into these areas of research, this book will prove a treat for you. Aundi shares a lot of research, particularly around early childhood attachments, in language that is accessible (so fear not those of you whom aren’t interested in this as much) but also shows how well of an understanding she has in this field. Trauma that occurs while we are developing (both big traumas and the little traumas—our bodies can’t necessarily differentiate a difference) are a big part of this conversation. She also talks about boundaries which have become quite a buzz word these days, but are nonetheless a really important subject that few genuinely understand. Attention is also given to exploring the idea of windows of tolerance (that is, our ability to sit with certain situations that can be triggering for us) and how to potentially grow these windows in the least harmful way possible.

This is not a book you will necessarily read through in one sitting, though you may be tempted to do so. It is almost like a collection of therapy sessions, conducted in book format. Sometimes books geared towards self-help are full of fancy-sounding statements and impressive practices, but they lack the direction for you to know exactly what it would look like to take them on as your own—not so with this one.  At the end of each chapter, there are questions and practices that will help guide you as you seek to ground the truths Aundi shares into your life.

The things you have been through in this life matter—and the invitation to move through the world in a way that is kind and full of love is open to every single one of us. So why not decide to try softer with me?

 “I’m not asking you to find the silver lining in your “hard”. We know God is with us through it all, but that doesn’t mean life hasn’t cracked open. It doesn’t mean you haven’t cried thousands of tears or spoken to yourself in ways you would never speak to another. The wounds you have experienced are valid. Maybe no one has ever said this to you, so I hope you’ll receive this now: What’s happened in your life matters. I believe God’s heart for us is outrageously gentle; and yet I believe He is calling us to more. While none of us are exempt from pain, we can learn to come out of survival mode and actually live.” – Aundi Kolber, Try Softer

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