Attempting to explain healing and to undergo the healing process is complex and multi-faceted. Many have undergone the arduous task of trying to expound on these topics but few have written in quite the elaborate detail as Mark Linden O’Meara. His book, Let Go Heal Be Happy, is an in-depth look at healing from the clinician and client perspective.
“In describing the meaning of healing, it is necessary to examine a number of aspects of your life,” writes O’Meara.
Let Go Heal Be Happy is not a quick read. O’Meara takes the time to walk readers through the entire process of healing. He breaks down the process into five parts: learning, insight, growth, healing, and transformation. O’Meara takes care to elaborate on each part, not rushing through or skipping over any details. The learning portion of the book focuses on teaching the reader basics and fundamentals of psychology and human experience. This includes breaking down what emotions are and how they affect the physical health of an individual.
It is clear in his writing that O’Meara assumes that his reader has not taken any steps towards increasing emotional intelligence, pursuing therapy, or studied much psychology. Some of the lessons are borderline rudimentary. While some readers may find it patronizing or simply boring, others who are new to personal growth will appreciate the laying of the foundation. The author takes care to wrap personal anecdotes and provide encouraging words to the reader.
“One of the benefits of working on your emotional healing is that you generally find a greater capacity for joy and for sharing in your life once you begin to resolve your emotional baggage,” he writes.
One of the strongest portions of Let Go Heal Be Happy is the very beginning of the “insight” section. O’Meara elaborates on the theory of the “masks” that people wear to maintain a level of “personal safety.” He explains that people typically wear masks “because it is the best coping mechanism they have learned.”
He proceeds to devote paragraphs to describing various types of masks that people may choose to wear: “the smiler,” “the neutral,” and “the victim” mask, to name a few. The insight portion of the book is really an elaboration on the proceeding learning section of the book. Taking the reader just a step further into understanding emotional intelligence and coping and denial mechanisms that they may be using, this section could potentially open the eyes of a reader to personal truths that they were previously unaware of.
The growth and healing sections of the book begin to apply the lessons of the first two sections so that the reader can begin to take actions. O’Meara likens his “stop, look, listen” skill to train tracks in a rural area; without track barriers and warnings, drivers had to stop, look, and listen to determine whether a train is coming. O’Meara states that this same process can be used to identify emotions. His description of learning to identify feelings acknowledges that it may be frightening, but he encourages readers to see the process as “discovering” feelings. He incites a bit of curiosity toward the process.
Healing and transformation truly go hand in hand within O’Meara’s book. While they are written as separate sections, it is clear by the conclusion of the book that one is not possible without the other. That being said, the gold of the book is written in the growth section. For those who have never taken a healing journey, O’Meara takes their hand and gently, compassionately guides them through the process. He describes the process of releasing pain beautifully:
“You are feeling the pain with the intention of burning through it, of letting it consume itself, so that you may eventually be free of it.”
This particular section of the book requires deep breathing, even for the seasoned psychology student. O’Meara has prepped his reader at this point with all of the knowledge they would need for the healing journey. There is an ebb and flow in the last two sections that allow for the reader to take a deep dive in healing and then come up for air again. O’Meara’s writing creates the rhythm necessary for a healing pattern to take place without rushing the process and forcing a lesson that the reader is not prepared for.
Overall, Let Go Heal Be Happy is an effective tool for readers who are looking for a way to heal and move into a more positive approach to life. While I would not recommend this book for a reader who is dealing with trauma, it would be useful for those who are struggling with self-control or emotion regulation. Perhaps readers with a victim mindset would even be able to shake free of that mask with O’Meara’s work. I would caution that there are times when the author’s writing style begins to feel like a lecture and, as noted earlier, the first two sections may feel more like a psychology 101 class for those familiar with basic tenets of personal growth, counseling, or psychology. That does not, however, overshadow the beautifully made points and lessons in the sections on growth, healing, and transformation.
O’Meara has written a work that provides key elements to personal growth: knowledge, insight, action steps, and daily practices. For some readers, this book will provide the nuggets of wisdom and assistance that they have been lacking in their journey. May they find the keys that they need.
Let Go Heal Be Happy
Mark Linden O’Meara
Soul Care Publishing
Paperback, 338 Pages