Cover image for Fear and other uninvited guests [tackling the anxiety, fear, and shame that keep us from optimal living and loving]
Fear and other uninvited guests [tackling the anxiety, fear, and shame that keep us from optimal living and loving]
Lerner, Harriet Goldhor.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harper Audio, [2004]

Physical Description:
3 audio discs (3 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact discs.

Subtitle from container.
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF575.F2 L472 2004 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
BF575.F2 L472 2004 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



Bestselling author Harriet Lerner is at her provocative best in this examination of fear as the key motivating force in our lives.

Often unrecognised, fear and shame drive our choices and attitudes in ways that most of us never figure out. As Lerner explains, fear is not an amorphous unknown to be transcended or overcome but an emotion to be recognized, explored, decoded and embraced. Once we befriend fear, it can actually help us achieve calm, clarity and fundamental peace.

Lerner teaches us the best ways to deal with fear: to expect, allow, and accept its presence in our lives, to mindfully observe and attend to how it feels in our bodies and, ultimately to own it. We can become experts on our personal triggers of anxiety, learning when fear signals real danger and when it's best to plough through it because it comes with the territory of making necessary changes. The very worst thing we can do in the face of fear is to run from it or try to avoid it. Fear is not something to be conquered or eliminated--or even tackled, for that matter. Instead, we need to pay close attention to the message it is trying to convey.

Using her wonderfully rich and inviting therapeutic voice along with personal memories and examples drawn from her practice, Lerner gives fear its due. We needn't let anxiety, fear, and shame silence our authentic voice, close our hearts to the different voices of others, or stop us from acting with dignity, integrity and brio. We need to harness fear and put it in service to our best selves.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

?No one is immune to the grip of anxiety, fear and shame?the ?big three? that muck up our lives,? observes Lerner (The Dance of Deception; The Dance of Anger). But such emotions shouldn?t be crippling, she says. Instead, the psychologist and relationship expert suggests studying the pros and cons of these inevitable feelings. For example, anxiety over hurting a friend?s feelings can keep us from bluntly offering unsolicited advice, or, at the other extreme, keep us from speaking up about something we feel passionate about. In conversational and often witty prose, amply dotted with personal anecdotes, Lerner advises readers how to achieve a balance between healthy and life-consuming fears over rejection, public speaking, body image and physical suffering, among others. In a chapter devoted entirely to ?Your Anxious Workplace,? the author shares her pain on discovering that her co-workers considered her a ?problem??her personnel file was fat with complaints about her attitude toward paperwork and tense relationship with other psychologists. Breaking down the office ?system,? she realized that she was an ?underfunctioning? part, adding stress and creating opportunities for ?overfunctioning? staff to both save and resent her. To confront fears, Lerner suggests stepping back and taking responsibility, thoughtfully considering the issue and engaging rather than disconnecting with the surrounding world. Readers looking for a ?quick fix? will not find it here (Lerner purposely sidesteps any oversimplified solutions to conquering fear); rather, they will find a mindful and highly readable meditation. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Now that you've done The Dance of Anger (not so hard, as there are two million copies in print). (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Fear and Other Uninvited Guests Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keep Us from Optimal Living and Loving Chapter One Why Can't a Person Be More Like a Cat? "Fear stops me from doing so many things," a neighbor confided when I mentioned the subject of this book. Then, without further ado, she launched into a description of her coworker Carmen, a woman who exuded such a deep sense of calm, joy, and peacefulness that everyone wanted to be around her. "Carmen never feels fear or other negative emotions. She's always in the flow of the present moment. She really lives each day to the fullest." My neighbor paused to catch her breath, then exclaimed: "I would do anything to be like Carmen!" She spoke so earnestly, her voice ringing with italics, that I restrained myself from suggesting that maybe Carmen had multiple personalities and that one of her alters might be sitting mute in some corner having wall-to-wall panic attacks. But I did tell her this: The only being I have ever known who was entirely free of fear and always "in the flow" was my cat, Felix. When Felix was alive, I aspired to be like him, much as my neighbor aspired to be like Carmen. I could relate. Felix, My Role Model Felix was my little Buddhist, my role model for mindful living. He demonstrated a healthy fight-or-flight response when threatened, but he only felt fear when fear was due. He became anxious and agitated when forced into a carrying cage, because he knew very well it meant a car ride to the vet. But he didn't let fear, worry, and rumination spoil an otherwise perfectly good day. By contrast, I recall my own human experience anticipating my first allergy shot as a child. For a good week before the actual appointment, I freaked myself out with fearful imaginings, all of them having to do with long needles and terrible pain. My mother, who had certain Key Phrases to Live By, informed me that "a coward dies a thousand deaths; a brave man dies but once." She learned this aphorism from her younger brother when he went off to fight in World War II. I personally found no comfort in her words. What sense did they make to a nine-year-old? I wasn't brave, I wasn't a man, and why was my mother bringing death into the conversation? When I was older and had developed the capacity for abstract thinking, I understood the lesson she was trying to convey. In essence, my mother was encouraging me to be more like Felix. Felix lived in the moment. When he played, he played. When he ate, he ate. When he had sex, he had sex, utterly unencumbered by fear, shame, or guilt. Once "fixed" (the downside of being a pet), he settled immediately into a perfect acceptance of his situation. "Wherever you go, there you are," was the motto I believe he lived by. This capacity to inhabit the moment granted Felix a kind of profound self-acceptance. When he licked his fur, he didn't worry about whether he was doing the job well enough, or whether he was taking too long to lick down all his hair, or whether certain of his body parts weren't all that attractive and perhaps shouldn't be displayed to my dinner guests. Nor did he dissipate his energy with anxious thoughts such as: "What's wrong with me that I don't make more fruitful and creative use of my time?" Because Felix didn't live a fear-driven life, he was able to operate from his essential Felixness. When he wanted connection, he would jump on my lap without stopping to wonder whether I might find him too needy and dependent (especially for a cat). With equal aplomb, he would jump off my lap and saunter out of the room when he felt like it, never worrying that I might take his departure personally and feel really hurt. I could go on, but you get the picture. A sociobiologist friend tells me that I have an idealized notion of Felix's inner emotional and spiritual life, but I disagree. I'm not saying that all cats are like Felix. I've seen my share of traumatized felines who cower or scratch when strangers approach. But I observed Felix almost daily for more than ten years before he keeled over dead one afternoon on our back porch. I'm convinced that it simply wasn't in his nature to get bogged down in fear and shame. Face It, You're Human Of course, Felix didn't have it all. If he missed out on the miseries of being human, he also missed out on some uniquely human pleasures, from reading a riveting novel to falling in love. One might debate whether it is preferable to be a cat or a person, but why get into it? If you are reading this now, you are not a cat and never will be. So along with the good days, you're going to experience the entire range of painful emotions that make us human. This means that you'll wake up at three in the morning searching your breasts for lumps. You'll worry that your daughter has dropped out of her drug treatment program (again), that your partner is getting bored with you, that you'll end up a bag lady if you leave your job, that your memory is getting more porous with each passing day, and that possibly you're going crazy. You can make your own list. No one is immune to the grip of anxiety, fear, and shame -- the "big three" that muck up our lives. These are the uninvited guests. When tragedy or hardship hits, they may become our constant companions. SIX EASY STEPS TO CONQUERING FEAR AND ACHIEVING BLISS? I bristle at feverishly inspirational books that make large and silly promises. Break free from fear and you'll soar like an eagle, reverse the aging process, and attract a bevy of wildly sexy and appreciative lovers. I recently eyeballed a new self-help guide that states: "Bliss is available to anyone at any time, no matter how difficult life may be." When I read such statements, I am prone to entertaining mean-spirited thoughts, such as hoping that the author is dealt some unfathomable loss that will serve as a test case of his or her bliss theory. Since I am really a very nice person, these are but passing uncharitable fantasies. Still, I believe it is arrogant and deeply dishonest to tell people that they can transform their own reality, no matter how dreadful their circumstances, with the acquisition of a few new skills and a brighter attitude ... Fear and Other Uninvited Guests Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keep Us from Optimal Living and Loving . Copyright © by Harriet Lerner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Fear and Other Uninvited Guests: Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keep Us from Optimal Living and Loving by Harriet Lerner All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.