Book Review: I Will Not Be Broken, by Jerry White
July 1, 2008
As we all live our lives, we’re at times faced with traumatic situations or crisis situations that challenge our very being. We all face the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a traumatic injury or illness to ourselves or our loved ones. Some of us are able to deal with these situations and yet others don’t ever fully recover from the challenge that the traumatic event forced upon them. For each person, the traumatic situation will be different and each person will handle the after effects differently. Many of our Soldiers, coming back from downrange in Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to traumatic events, sometimes multiple times and for sustained periods of time. Some of them struggle to deal with these events, while others seem to bounce back without problem. Those challenges can take a number of forms, from a divorce, a death of a loved one, or perhaps a serious injury.
In his book, I Will Not Be Broken, author Jerry White outlines 5 simple steps to overcoming a life crisis. I’m sure some of you are going to think, “Just what I need to hear about. Yet another shrink with yet another self-help book.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Jerry White writes his book, from the authority of someone who has been faced with a life-changing traumatic event and survived, in fact thrived. In 1984, while on a trip to Israel, White stepped on a landmine and lost his leg as well as almost his life. He openly tells about the struggles he faced coming to terms with his injuries and how he turned his tragedy into the will to live and move forward with his life. He’s been able to do amazing things with his life, despite an injury, that would cause many others to just give up on life.
White is the co-founder of Survivor Corps and has been awarded a Nobel Prize for his movement and work to ban landmines. The book doesn’t just tell White’s story, but instead is full of examples from different people, from various walks of life, who have faced some type of life-altering change in their life, over come those challenges and went on to lead full and fulfilling lives. White’s five steps to overcoming a life crisis are as follows:
1. Face Facts. A person needs to face the reality, that a bad thing happened, no matter how brutal those facts are. What’s happened, has happened and it can’t be changed, time can’t be rewound.
2. Chose Life: that is, in simple terms that the person needs to say “yes” to the future. They have to decide that they want to continue with their life in a positive way, instead of surrendering to death or stagnation. Let resentments go and look forward to the future, instead of looking back and asking yourself “what if?” This can be a daily process.
3. Reach out. Find peers, friends and family to help break the self imposed isolation and lonliness that often comes in the aftermath of a crisis. Seek out empathy from people instead of pity, from others who have been through a similar situation. It’s up to you to reach out for someone’s hand.
4. Get moving. Don’t sit back and wait for things to come to you. That gets you nowhere. Get out of bed, out of the house and generate momentum. We alone are responsible for our actions and we have to take that responsibility and decide how we want to live the rest of our lives. Decide for yourself, what steps you can take today towards achieving that goal.
5. Give back. White states that thriving and not just surviving requires the capacity to give again, through service and acts of kindness. Decide for yourself how you can be an asset to others around you, instead of a drain. Share your experiences and talents with others, which will in turn inspire others to do the same.
In his book, White doesn’t just tell his story, but tells a collection of the stories of other people who’ve survived a tragedy and turned their lives around. By sharing these stories, he’s able to show those who have experienced adversity, crisis and traumatic events, that there is hope, that they can persevere. While nothing makes these situations any easier to deal with, when they occur, the advice in this book, provides them with the ability and assistance necessary to make recovering from those situations easier. I would recommend this book, to anyone who is struggling to overcome challenges in their lives, especially to our Wounded Warriors, facing the traumas of things such as PTSD, TBI or perhaps a traumatic injury to themselves. Jerry White’s book shows that there is hope and that anyone can overcome the challenges that they face in their lives.
To find out more about Jerry White and Survivor Corps please visit their website.