Self-help books are everywhere you turn, but you could spend hours reading them and get nowhere. Dr. Fredric C. Hartman, a clinical psychologist with more than 25 years experience, sets out to change that with what he hopes will spark a true transformation in his new book, The Breakthrough, which he spent 7 years writing.
Hartman is used to patients coming into his office searching for ways to rid themselves of negative emotions, ranging from depression and anger, to irritation and sadness. According to Hartman, our pasts and childhoods have far more influence than we may realize, and it’s the yearning for different circumstances and disappointment with current ones that keep us in a dark abyss.
He presents seven rules that must be remembered in order to truly transform, after delving into what our consciousness is and the ways we deal with it. Living in the moment and being aware of just what a wonder the world is help to remind us of life’s scarcity and put our negative emotions into perspective.
The book is presented interestingly, in a series of acts and scenes that pit Hartman and Consciousness in his office on a stage in front of an audience. Because of the short chapters, it’s incredibly easy to digest, and the chapters lend themselves to reflection anyway.
Hartman’s messages really resonated with me. I loved that Hartman spends so much time explaining what consciousness is, since it’s such an abstract concept for many people. It was refreshing to read about it in a relatable way and be reminded out thoughts — which are ours alone — can be shaped positively by us. While some self-help books might offer quick-fix exercises, Hartman encourages readers to face their demons head-on and really pause during life’s negative moments to work towards more positive shifts in thinking.
Also, because of the way the book is presented, including a great introduction with anecdotes into Hartman’s own struggles, readers do come to feel as if Hartman is their own personal, caring confidant. His tone is one of patience and empathy — shifting your mindset is no small feat, and Hartman is honest about the obstacles and trials readers may face on their journeys.
I’m also constantly working on a book called The Self-Esteem Workbook, a book with many practical exercises for increasing feelings of self-worth. I feel the books contain many parallels — the importance of realizing what a wonder life is while also keeping things in perspective, the importance of facing challenges with courage and deliberateness — and if the ideas presented by Hartman make you feel like you need reinforcement, I’d recommend The Self-Esteem Workbook.
Mental change is one of the most difficult tasks to commit to, and Hartman acknowledges this. The Breakthrough is a great book to check out if you want to break free from negative emotions and live a more serene life.