Instagram guru and full-time clinical holistic psychologist, Dr Nicole LePera leads a devoted community of ‘self-healers’. Taking time out from guiding her 3 million followers into healing their ‘inner child’ and living a fulfilled and mindful life, LePera has transformed her digital Instagram guide into her latest bestseller How To Do The Work . Despite her adoring Instagram following, I hadn’t heard of LePera until I spotted her new book at the top spot of The New York Times’ ‘Advice and How-To’ list this month. Curiously, I wanted to see what the fuss was about.
In How To Do The Work, LePera has a single purpose: help us recognise and heal our inner child. The book explores how adverse experiences and trauma in childhood stay with us, resulting in whole-body dysfunction. This can activate harmful traits in us that keep us stuck in cyclical patterns of co-dependency, emotional immaturity and trauma bonds. Leaving us unhappy, unfulfilled and unwell. Doing the ‘work’ means, to LePera, taking our thoughts off of autopilot and witnessing them for what they are – “Healing is a conscious process that can be lived daily through changes in our habits and patterns.”
Many self-help books on the market love to preach a healthy balance of yoga and healthy eating, but they don’t quite go into depth as much as LePera does. She is honest and uncomfortable in her words and is genuinely informed. Self-help books are often guilty of suggesting a day in bed with some chocolate as a form of self-care, but what if that’s all you’ve been doing? LePera says herself that self-care has been commodified and used as an example of self-indulgence lately, but really self-care is not indulgent at all. ‘Self-care is the act of learning to identify and care for your physical and emotional wants and needs, especially those that were denied in childhood.’ She points out that a huge part of self-care isn’t just taking a walk (although that is very beneficial) but consciously witnessing your own uncomfortable actions and thoughts. She unpacks the reason as to why they may be there and then advises us on how to witness and drive them towards becoming a better person.
I think it’s worth acknowledging that what is one person’s path to a fulfilled life cannot be everyone’s. LePera makes clear that those who live with trauma daily may not have the means and time to take such steps. Indeed, a chapter is dedicated to boundaries and breaking yourself off from the people and environments that emotionally distress you, while still recognising that those who face discrimination may not have such a privilege. Still, I do believe that everyone can take something from this book. Whilst some aspects of it may not work for you personally, others can certainly aid in living a little bit happier. For me, I never truly appreciated how mentally beneficial eating healthily could be until LePera expertly explained the mind and guts close connection.
This book is an informed and eye-opening guide made for those who may have dabbled in mindfulness and self-help but wish to take a step further and meet their inner child. LePera’s words are gentle but weighty, as she proves to be knowledgeable, open-minded and skilful in her expertise. I’m confident that I’ll keep referring to this book and I look forward to using LePera’s advice for my own self-improvement.
Buy your own copy of How To Do The Work by Nicole LePera here.