The Being Human Collection - Reviewed by Fiona Robinson | Regional News Connecting Wellington

The Being Human Collection

Written by: Dr Carrie Hayward

Exisle Publishing

Reviewed by: Fiona Robinson

Being Human might not be the most intriguing of titles for a series of books. However, I found it an enlightening read.

The collection is made up of four short stories in small hard-backed books. It’s written by Dr Carrie Hayward, a Melbourne-based clinical psychologist who specialises in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I had to look this up – it means acknowledging the full range of your thoughts and emotions rather than trying to avoid, deny, or change them.

Each story explores the roller coaster of emotions us humans commonly struggle with. My takeaway was that reading the collection creates the opportunity to sit with those complex feelings and reflect on them.

The four bite-sized books are an easy read about life’s ups and downs. When I first started reading them, I thought they were a little too simple and a bit trite. However, when I took the time to reflect, I realised I’d experienced many of the situations myself or observed them in others.

Flower in the Pocket, about a man struggling with his anger towards a noisy and untidy neighbour, particularly resonated with me because I’d seen it play out. The negative voice in our heads is illustrated in The Unwanted Friend. Our growing disconnect with the world and the people around us, as a consequence of spending time on social media or computer games, is explored in The Dragonfly in the Haze. The Lost Sun looks at the importance of living in line with our values. Some of these stories have stayed with me long after I finished reading them.

Each book concludes with a simple but effective reflection exercise at the end. I liked this practical exercise so much that I’ve used it several times since finishing The Being Human Collection. These books are packaged up in a way that would make a good gift and they would also make for a reflective holiday read.

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