Let’s make our beast beautiful.
I believe with all my heart that just understanding the meta-purpose of the anxious struggle helps to make it beautiful. Purposeful, creative, bold, rich, deep things are always beautiful.”
You’ve probably heard of Sarah Wilson or her “I Quit Sugar” empire. What you might not know is, like 1 in 10 people in the UK, she has an anxiety disorder.
I bought this book during a particularly low point with my anxiety and read it during another real dip. It didn’t make me feel magically better but rather I felt reassuring to know that I wasn’t totally alone.
In First We Make The Beast Beautiful Sarah encourages those with anxiety to reframe their relationship with the condition – for it not to be a burden but something which delivers us to grace, connects us to ourselves and brings us home. Wilson believes that anxiety is triggered by the search for “something else” which will make us feel more fulfilled. However, she suggests that the real root of the issue is our becoming disconnected from ourselves or our belief that we are not doing things “right”. This is more than likely why so many more people are being diagnosed with the condition in an age when everyone seems to be living their “best life” and posting it all over social media.
I found this idea immensely comforting. As was all the research and thoughts from wellbeing and mental health experts which Sarah shares. Her writing style is light, guiding you through her thoughts with a gentle hand on your back and a whisper in your ear that yes everything really is going to be ok.
I found myself dog earing pages, sticking in post-it notes and reading whole sections out loud to my partner. I lost count of the number of quotations I copied on to my phone and how many times I stopped to think “that’s me.” The way Wilson writes about anxiety is so novel, in many ways she is changing the conversation, moving from “you can get past this” to “you’re going to have to learn to not only live with this but thrive.”
This is not a self-help book. It’s not a guide to overcoming or even really learning to love your anxiety. This is a very honest account of life with anxiety from which you might take away a new perspective or some new means of managing those “anxiety spirals.”
The main message of this book is that we are ok just as we are, anxiety and all. There is no need to “fix ourselves”, just to be kind. Meditate, check in with yourself and be kind when you do feel anxious.
Final Thoughts: For me this is a refreshing take on a much covered topic. If you are looking for a fresh, well researched, honest and thoughtful approach to anxiety then First We Make The Beast Beautiful is for you.
Do you have anxiety? Do you find that reading helps you calm down? Have you read any good books on anxiety?