A quick flip through Moving from Judgement [sic] to Self Compassion [sic] reveals a short book with brief passages, large type, and slick pages with a muted pale blue background, all of which might lead one to assume that it was written for young readers. The childlike drawings and close-up photographs of balloons, hearts and daisies only magnify the impression of naïveté and innocence.
But the carefully chosen words on the back cover of Caroline Abigail Nelson’s book explain that this is no children’s tome. “I am an adult survivor of child abuse,” she states matter-of-factly. “I know what it is like to look into the darkness and see nothing but darkness and to step up to the wall and have it refuse to budge time and time again.”
Moving often reads like an intimate journey, with many prose passages disclosing the author’s inner thoughts as she struggles to move forward. It also includes brief lists and images, giving it the feel of a teenager’s diary: undeveloped and raw, a cathartic project to help heal the author’s own brokenness. “I FEEL SOOO Alone!” she exclaims on one page, followed in much smaller type by: “You are Not Alone.” Another page lists desirable mindsets, such as “Trust myself/Handle conflict/Relax,” and so on, the first letter of each line spelling the word “Thrives.”
It’s unclear whether Nelson’s main priority was to pour her feelings onto the pages as a personal release or to connect with other child abuse survivors. The sometimes random-seeming nature of the entries, which often lack context, would suggest the former, although the book also provides motivational messages that might connect to others in pain.
Those looking for a well-articulated, comprehensive guide on how to achieve self-compassion won’t find it here. But readers happy to browse the pages for helpful nuggets will likely come across words of encouragement that speak to them.
Also available as an ebook.