Worthwhile Advice for Women
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Worthwhile Advice for Women

Movie star Gillian Anderson and journalist Jennifer Nadel offer sound guidance for a more spiritual and mindful life.

The X-Files actor Gillian Anderson is an activist. Writer-activist Jennifer Nadel wrote a book on domestic violence, Sara Thornton: The Story of a Woman Who Killed, that became a BBC movie. Longtime friends, they collaborated on this step-by-step guide designed to help women create better lives. Starting with a foundation of gratitude, meditation and self-care, they outline principles for daily living and offer exercises to help you connect with yourself. Women seeking ways to move beyond societal – or self-imposed – stereotypes will find an open door and a clear path.

Nadel is an accomplished author; Anderson, to say the least, is at ease with expressing herself. They merge their respective gifts to create a seamless, companionable voice that reads like a good friend offering casual but profound advice. They never take a superior attitude; instead, they stress their humility and many errors. But Anderson and Nadel remain proud and proactive. Their self-help is direct, and they provide precise directions for the self-improvement they urge. Their lack of expressed ego seems like an effective way to inspire their readers.

Glamour accurately describes their book as “…part self-help, part social theory, centered in the idea that instead of having it ‘all,’ women can live happier, better lives by becoming more free.” Entertainment Weekly wrote, “We, which is written in a conversational, almost confiding tone – no pop-psychology babble here – is a fresh, smart look at how women can cut through the bull…cluttering their lives and focus on the things that are truly important.” 

Strength and Gratitude

The authors disavow me-culture ideals of material wealth, success and competition that corrupt self-esteem. They urge you to reorient your life by integrating your spiritual, political and psychological selves.

WE is…a female-led revolution: a quiet, peaceful about-face that doesnt require the consent of those in power.Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel

Anderson and Nadel believe that gratitude shines a light that enables you to see your life anew and focuses your thoughts on the real, positive aspects of your life. Encapsulating many mindfulness tropes, the authors encourage you to recognize and change your thoughts when you’re unkind to yourself. Their route to that goal is to perform one self-nurturing act each week and to take two minutes daily to sit quietly alone in silence and observe – not dwell on – the thoughts that arise.

Be Honest, Accepting and Brave

Anderson and Nadel propose that honesty includes unveiling truths about what you enjoy and what makes you happy. And, they say, you need courage to let go of resentment and accept the reality of a situation. They warn against denial, which can cause you to rerun difficult life moments and generate fantasy-based alternatives. The authors remind you that comparing yourself to others or becoming self-critical is bad for you. Humility, they suggest, allows you to be present instead of staying trapped in a cycle of recounting past injuries.

Like gratitude…the more loving you are, the more loved and loving you feel.Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel

The authors perceive that love exists everywhere and teach that if you act with love, you will experience it. They offer mnemonics for two slogans to help you trust others: FEAR stands for “false evidence appearing real” and TRUST tells you “to rely upon spiritual truth.”

Be Glad and Nice

Anderson and Nadel urge you to embrace joy and kindness. One of their messages has special relevance in times of COVID-19: When you feel restless or dissatisfied, that’s a signal that you need to connect with joy. Throughout their book, the authors call for using kindness to shape your decisions, so that they reflect your values and beliefs. They point out that setting this priority may cause you to change where you bank or shop, or with whom you work. Finally, Anderson and Nadel call on people around the world to seek fairness. Their theme is basic and powerful: Let kindness guide you to make the world better.

True Self-Help

So many celebrity advice, life guidance or self-help books prove to be unbearably self-important or self-congratulatory nonsense. Reading them convinces you the authors wrote them primarily to project their vanity into the world under a guise of performative sincerity. For those reasons, you may view Anderson and Nadel’s work with initial skepticism.

However, their clear-headedness, absence of vanity, engaging voice and genuine desire to elevate women out of self-inflicted misery will win you over. As you may notice from Anderson’s onscreen performances, she is a meticulous, aware thinker who presents her ideas and her persona in measured tones. Nadel, an activist, is the firebrand of the two. Their opposite styles merge to create a singular point of view. Their self-help guidance really does help, and they don’t lack wit, humor or amusing anecdotes, most told at their own expense.

Gillian Anderson’s series of novels, A Vision of Fire, may engage readers who enjoy her easy articulation and activist sensibility. As well as Sara Thornton, Jennifer Nadel also wrote the novel Pretty Thing.

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