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Book Review: Emotional Obesity by Laura Coe
"Why was I unfulfilled even if I had achieved the things we equate with success? Because my pursuit of success wasn’t based on an inner sense of purpose or fulfillment but on others’ definitions of success. These so-called “successes” had piled on in layers over the years until I had lost my true self somewhere deep inside. I had become emotionally obese. But what was I going to do about it?" -Laura Coe
About the Author
- Founded a multimillion dollar company, and sold it to a Fortune 500 company.
- Began her journey to find her "authentic self" and began writing professionally.
- Is a life coach.
In this book, the author addresses the philosophical theory of "emotional obesity." According to Coe, "When our sense of self comes from a negative place and our actions are dictated from that place, we are emotionally obese." Emotional obesity disturbs our quality of life and affects our decision making.
"Imposter voices" are the internal voices we hear in our heads that have been manufactured from the external expectations, definitions, and ideas that we had been laden with since childhood. Imposter voices may narrow our world view, and talk us out of pursuing our goals and dreams. Imposter voices oftentimes thrive on negative emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger. As for Coe, she discovered her imposter voices when she was analyzing her understanding of success. Previously she had believed that success was based on doing something "important," and something "important" required either a PhD, MBA, or MD. She realized that her view of success was a "learned value" that she didn't agree with. Her imposter voices were preventing her from discovering her authentic self because her goals were not aimed high enough for her external set of standards.
"Your authentic voice will never contradict your value system."
Without consciously trying to identify them, our imposter voices may become indistinguishable from our authentic voices. Fortunately in her book, Coe offers some great advice to identify, cope with, and work through our imposter voices. Coe uses her own narrative freely throughout her book to describe the negative impact of her own imposter thoughts and the techniques she developed to battle them. Our imposter voices talk a lot, but according to Coe, "your true voice has something your impostors don't: a good connection of the physical self." This means that our true thoughts are always felt somewhere in the body; this could include sweaty hands, nauseous stomach, and other physical manifestations.
An Interview With the Author by Ashley Turner
The Structure of the Book
Coe's book is divided into four parts, and each part is sectioned into chapters.
Part One- Emotional Obesity
- The beginning of the book includes the author's background and journey to discovering emotional obesity. In detail, she exposes the cultural connections to negative thought patterns and the social impact it has on our everyday lives. She consults neuropsychology and defines "imposter thoughts." She also provides helpful advice on how to "test the validity of your voice."
Part Two- Emotional Nutrition
- This section of the book compares and contrasts "emotional junk food" with "emotional nutrition." It identifies negative feedback loops and offers in-depth advice on how to develop healthier thoughts and actions.
Part Three- Emotional Fitness
- Coe designs emotional workouts tailored to: working through anger, working through harbored resentment, working through self-neglect, working through blame, working through shame, and working through fear.
Part Four- Maintaining Your Emotional Health
- In the conclusive part of this book, Coe shares aspects her personal stories that are inspirational to maintaining emotional health.
How the book is affecting my life.
I'm a busy woman. I'm a mother, a medical student, an employee, a wife, a pet owner, a blogger, and a homemaker. It's difficult for me to create the space I need to slow down and actually think about what I'm doing with my life. Sometimes I don't know if I'm happy or even satisfied with where I'm going. The advice Coe offers in her book is helping me frame my ambition; it offers me comfort to know that I'm on the right path, because I'm doing what I want to do. Emotional fitness is important to me because it gives me the strength to press forward in the unknown and the abstract. It allows me to thrive under pressure.
Coe's ideas are relatable to everyone because her stories are rich and sincere. This book is easy to read, sensible, and leaves me feeling positive and motivated every time I put it down! I definitely recommend it!