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Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth [Format Kindle]

Dr. Brad Blanton , Marilyn Ferguson

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Extrait

Levels of Telling the Truth

"Oh, but I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now." --Bob Dylan

KATHLEEN WAS 35 YEARS OLD and head of her own interior decorating business; hardworking, competent, pretty, and bright--a survivor. Her business was going great and she was getting rich.  She came to me because, in spite of the appearance of great success, she was hypertensive, unable to have orgasms, suffering from insomnia, frenetic about work, and depressed about not having any intimate relationships with men.  She came from a large Catholic family. She had been stuck in early adolescence for years and was destined to stay there for the remainder of her life, as many parochial school students do, having learned from the nuns that the most important thing in life was to put on an act for parents and overseers and live your real life on the side.  You have a public life and a secret life; keep it that way.

Eight years earlier, she had gotten an abortion, hiding it from her pro-life, Catholic family.  She had told no one about it except the man who impregnated her, and she had soon broken up with him.  She had guarded her secret well through two years of individual psychotherapy with another therapist and many intensive groups where there had been opportunities for telling the truth. First she told me.  Then she told members of a therapy group.  Then she told her friends.  Then she told her sister.  Each increment of revelation brought a degree of self-forgiveness and freedom.  Each increment of lightening up about her dark secret helped quite a bit, but it wasn't enough.  I encouraged her to finish with the matter by telling the truth to her parents.  She desisted for some time, and finally I told her she had either to do it or get out of therapy.  She agreed to tell them.

She made several trips home with the intention of having a completely honest conversation with her folks, but she would get scared and come back without having spoken a word.  After many failed attempts, she finally told her parents about the abortion.  Because of the number of times she had gone home and retreated without telling, the first thing her father said when she finally came out with it was "Oh, thank God," because he and her mother had already secretly concluded that Kathleen probably had a terminal disease she couldn't bring herself to tell them about.  After the topic was broached and a discussion ensued about why Kathleen and all the other children lied to them all of the time, the brother who was in town was called over, and the family had quite a long discussion about who everyone was, about sharing and about the games the kids had played with the parents and the secrets they had kept among themselves.  This conversaion with her family was a breakthrough in her psychotherapy.

Kathleen no longer has asthma.  A few months after that trip home, she began living with a man to whom she is now married.  She has orgasms almost every time they have sex.  She can sleep.  She runs her business and takes time off as she likes.  She is even more successful but not miserable anymore.  She has accomplished the first level of telling the truth.

Kathleen stepped out from behind her "good daughter" role, which she had maintained by hiding and lying all of the time, risked her relationship to her parents for the sake of revealing who she really was, and ended up transforming not only her own way of being in the world but that of her whole family.

Roles are like clothing we learned to put on to protect ourselves from the cold.  When we take off the roles we have been hiding behind the naked being we are stands there--vulnerable and defenseless.  The being we are, as distinct from the roles we've been playing, doesn't need the defensive weapons we invented to scare the enemy away.  Those other people out there are naked under their roles too--they are playing possum, or creating a stink, or baring their fangs and growling, or signaling anger and threatening like a chimp, or running like a rabbit.  Their roles were developed for the sake of survival, just as our roles were.

The difference between our survival tactics and those of animals is that theirs are necessary for the continuation of their physical existence, and ours are not.  But we act as though ours were.  We conceal ourselves because we fear that the pain accompanying the act of self-disclosure will literally destroy us, or fundamentally damage our being in some horrible way, rendering us maimed and dysfunctional.  In addition, we fear we may destroy others with our truth-telling.  Kathleen recoiled for years from what she saw as the utterly destructive power of her unleashed secret--it would, she thought, "kill" her parents and herself to have it told.  But telling the truth kills nothing but false roles, images, interpretations, and lies, as Kathleen discovered.  It only kills those deceits which we had kept alive through strategic self-concealment.  "Kathleen,"--her false image--did not survive her revelation.  But Kathleen did.  Through telling the truth, she revealed herself, and thus delivered herself and her family into a new and more powerful relationship, achieved through the death of the old, lying relationship.

The ability to "get naked" in front of other people who are still in their roles, as Kathleen did, is important.  Coming out from behind our roles permits us to look behind the roles of others.  Because we can see more clearly, the threat of other people, posing in their roles, fades.  Once we come out from behind our pose, what used to scare us about other people doesn't scare us anymore.  Coming off it, dropping the roles we thought we needed for protection, turns out to be not only safe, but a place of power.  Kathleen got less scared of other people, particularly men.

Intimacy is a power grown into after adolescence.  The person capable of intimacy--that is, the person capable of telling the truth--still has roles to play, but is no longer trapped by them.  The integrated person behind the role no longer has anything to hide, and can relate freely to the being he knows is hidden behind the roles others are playing.  The person is then in charge, rather than the role.

I differentiate three phases, or levels, of telling the truth.  These levels may occur successively, or simultaneously, or a person may master one or two levels and retreat from the next.  Often people retreat after encountering the frightening sense of freedom afforded by a breakthrough at a new level. Sometimes they try again later, sometimes not.  The three levels are: revealing the facts; honestly expressing current feelings and thoughts; and, finally, exposing the fiction you have devised to represent yourself and your history.

Présentation de l'éditeur

The first edition of Radical Honesty became a nationwide best seller in 1995 because it was not a kinder, gentler self-help book. It was a shocker! In it, Dr. Brad Blanton, a psychotherapist and expert on stress management, explored the myths, superstitions and lies by which we all live. And this newly revised edition is even worse! Blanton shows us how stress comes not from the environment, but from the self-built jail of the mind. What keeps us in our self-built jails is lying. "We all lie like hell," Dr. Blanton says. "It wears us out...it is the major source of all human stress. It kills us." Not telling our friends, lovers, spouses, or bosses about what we do, feel, or think keeps us locked in that mind jail. The way out is to get good at telling the truth, and Dr. Blanton provides the tools we can use to escape from that jail of the mind. This book is the cake with the file in it. In Radical Honesty, Dr. Blanton coaches us on how to have lives that work, how to have relationships that are alive and passionate, and how to create intimacy where none exists. This new edition includes Blanton's accumulated observations since 1994 of those people whose lives have been transformed by getting out of the self-made jails of their minds. As we have been taught by the philosophical and spiritual sources of our culture for thousands of years, from Plato to Nietzsche, from the Bible to Emerson, the truth shall set you free.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  115 commentaires
215 internautes sur 225 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 interesting, extreme philosophy 21 novembre 2004
Par Timothy H. Mansfield - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is brash, confident, strong, results-oriented, opinionated, simple, and straightforward to the point of over-simplifying. It also has New Age-y sub-themes that will put off some, but that's another matter.

The book's basic point is sound -- honesty is the best policy. However, the implementation of that policy, as described in "Radical Honesty", is not very nuanced. It is a shock program most properly applied to people who are consciously or unconsciously living out self-destructive scripts that they internalized from somewhere or another, for people who are being deeply, fundamentally dishonest with themselves and with others. It is for people who could use a real shaking up, to break free from the false security and real stress of a false persona.

That's fine as far as it goes. However, if you were to apply the principles of radical honesty indiscriminately in your daily life, you would be a jerk, basically, and you wouldn't be able to get anything done in society. It's best considered for bringing health to broken intimate relationships among adults.

On this point, a quote from Khalil Gibran comes to mind:

"If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully."

The stark candidness prescribed in "Radical Honesty" is not beautiful, it is raw and ultimately self-centered. It's for emergency use, like approaching the task of redecorating by burning your house down and starting over.

That said, personally I found the author's brash style to be refreshing and likeable. As always, the reader should just extract the personally valuable stuff out of his collection of techniques and his overall message, and simply ignore the rest.

For a much less strident romp around the topic of how to have healthy adult relationships, check out "Life and How to Survive It" by John Cleese and Robin Skynner. It's a very thoughtful and engaging read. Don't be thrown off by afterimages of Cleese's Monty Python silliness -- he has a wonderfully incisive mind and does a fine job as co-author of this work on the practical psychology of healthy living.
127 internautes sur 140 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Radical honesty for those who believe in "Grow Up" 12 février 2002
Par Elizabeth - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Whenever I pick this book up off the bookshelf I am reminded of the Jack Nicholsons character in A Few Good Men where he says "The Truth? You cant handle the truth!". This is an in your face book that will make some people terribly uncomfortable. People who are afraid of honesty. I believe that while many people will say they want the truth that when they hear it they are livid. Truth hurts. And I admit that I have a double standard with myself when it comes to truth. Most of the time I speak my mind and say what I believe. But I also admit that I also deflect questions from some people whom experience has shown me cannot handle the truth, simply because I don't need the nonsense in my life.
And I admit that I winced when I first saw the books title and then became intrigued when I heard him speak on a variety of radio and television shows. So I bought the book and am glad. And yes it is heavily politically incorrect in an era where pushing and enabling the whole woe is me victim mode is so popular.
One of my favorite parts of this book and advise that I believe more people need to take is where the author writes on page 179" Many of the people who go to therapists or physicians seeking relief are tired. They are tired from having worked out their lives in such a way that they get worn out instead of recharged by living. When someone like this takes responsibility for exercise, nutrition, and rest, a number of their "psychological" problems disappear. The human body has a wonderful capacity to restore itself it is given a break from abuse and a chance to rest. Wellness is a natural state of being for people who have learned how to get out of their own way. "
On page 185 the author notes wisely that "What happens when therapy works and keeps on working is that people want to learn about how to stay well. They become interested in living in the world by constantly renewing their leases on life rather than by being lost in their minds. They can do that best within the context of a sustaining community of other people in the same boat--people who have created wellness and are committed to maintaining wellness."
On page 187 he shares that most people don't take care of themselves out of knowing they should. That there was a man who was told by his physician to lose 15 lbs but didn't and in fact gained 10 more pounds and was told at his next doctors visit by the doctor "If you aren't willing to take care of yourself, why in the hell should I?". That it took having a heart attack that could have been prevented for the man to change. Dr Blanton then wisely notes that "learning to take care of ourselves creatively rather than resentfully is a big step in growing up".
On page 212 Dr Blanton notes "Responsibility means that whatever you are doing, you are willing to experience yourself as the cause. You are the source of your troubles as well as your successes." "As long as you are blaming, explaining, apologizing, trying, resolving to be good, hoping or feeling guilty, you are not being responsible." On page 215 "To get back in touch with who you are when you have been lost in your mind is to get back to your source. This is hard to do. You have to die to live."
86 internautes sur 94 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Awesome - changed my life! 14 août 1999
Par Lara Johnstone - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I used to think I was honest, until I read this book and realized that I had been nothing but a moralizing self-righteous bull*%$# artist and I was the cause of my anger, loneliness and seperation from others. It was not so much that I lied to those I loved, but that I had been lying to myself, I was hating everyone for not being who I thought they 'should' be... Well, what an experience it has been starting to listen to my body, share my anger, resentments and appreciations, to notice my victimization neurosis, and learning to share my feelings in the moment... Since I read the book and started practicing Radical Honesty, I have learnt how to live a life of laughter, loving, and joy... Pain, jeolousy, anger, etc. are no longer to be avoided, but to be 'experienced' as opportunities for growth, to work through them, to 'experience' them and move on.... Not only have I come to love myself, I love those around me for 'who' they are, and not for 'whom I want them to be'! Do yourself a favor and buy this book now, and then practice it! You'll never be the same.. ;-) I have not only bought it for my friends, but also my old enemies, some of whom have now become people I admire and appreciate.
37 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Access to Freedom 13 juin 2000
Par Matthew Foraker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Radical Honesty is a courageous piece of work that dares to tap into conversations many refuse to acknowledge, namely, the extent to which we as human beings have a level of dishonesty that permeates our lives, a level of dishonesty developed over years that is so automatic, so second nature, that we have forgotten anything else is possible.
Blanton is intentionally blunt and abrasive. The message is not to be mixed with sugar. In fact, "sugar" is part of what is being distinguished.
A trap in engaging this material is to interpret it as suggesting one should vocalize every thought or opinion without regard for its impact on others. That's just irresponsible, and it misses the message.
Blanton points out how as human beings we are not naturally set up to be truthful. Instead, we say and do what we think will produce the desired result and have us succeed. That we attempt to manipulate each other (or at least please and impress each other) is not profound. That we don't realize the depth, breadth, and overall impact of this is more interesting. That we've grown to believe our "act" will be more successful in life than our true thoughts and feelings is profound indeed.
Blanton is pointing to something that is possible, being utterly straight and authentic in life, and to a freedom and power that is on the other side of the "act." Perhaps utter truthfulness with others is an access to truthfulness with oneself, something we prefer to think we already have.
Read Blanton's book, and you'll think again.
Two films come to mind that occur to me as at least providing a taste of the authentic conversations that are possible and what they can open up for people, the classic "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and the more recent "The Breakfast Club." People started speaking straight. Lives were altered, and a certain freedom became available. What is that freedom?
Radical Honesty is a fresh introduction to powerful ideas about what it is to be human and the notion that as humans we naturally inherit ways of thinking and being that limit us and bind us. Something else is possible. Read the book, and you may discover that the entire human race has issues you thought were yours alone.
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lying Ruins Romance! This Book Led Me To True Love 4 février 1999
Par Sheri O. Zampelli - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I was in a dishonest relationship when I read this book. I knew it wasn't right but I couldn't break away because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. Reading this book helped me to realize that I was hurting him and myself by being a big fat liar. I was telling him I loved him and not feeling it and he believed me so he was in a relationship he thought was mutual but was not. I realized that the most loving thing to do was to let him go. Thanks to that I found my current husband who I truly love. I was honest with him from our first date and it was exhilarating. I knew I didn't want to lie through the whole relationship so I told the truth from the start. There was an element of risk involved but it was worth it.
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