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A Book Review of Fiercely Joyful: 11 Keys to Living Authentically & Creating a Life You Love

by Heather Martin, Copy Editor, VPG

Fiercely Joyful: 11 Keys to Living Authentically & Creating a Life You Love by Natasha Craig Durkins
Fiercely Joyful: 11 Keys to Living Authentically & Creating a Life You Love by Natasha Craig Durkins

This book is a must-read for the new year. It is a roadmap to living a happier, more fulfilling life, with instructions on how best to accomplish just that. The first few pages catch your attention by listing an idyllic childhood. I found myself interested in her descriptions and agreeing with what she had to say, but also feeling like someone who lived such a charmed life would not have much to say to me.

I was very wrong. As the chapter went on, Tash began to relate the problems and difficulties she faced in her life. I saw that she had not had a perfect life, but all her struggles and traumas, as she put it, did not define her, they helped her grow. As I continued reading, I found more and more words of wisdom that not only applied to me but also to anyone suffering or lonely or disappointed in life.

Two of the greatest teachings from this book are one that the best way to bring joy into your life is to help others, and two, if you don’t practice self-care and love, you will be in no position to help anyone else. She states that one of the best ways to practice self-care is to live an authentic life: to be honest with yourself and others. I found this passage important because she talked about how we all have the same answer when someone asks how we are doing, “Fine, thanks” no matter what we are currently experiencing. But to live authentically we need to be honest, maybe not by sharing too much, but at least by acknowledging our true feelings. Maybe we’ll find someone else who suffered like we are, and they can help us or maybe we’ll find someone who’s going through something we’ve already passed through, and we can help them.

In this vein, I also was engaged when she talked about her “True Crew,” or the people who “have your back as you traverse the ups and downs of life” and “soften[s] the landing when you fall and celebrate[s] you for being you.” I have always agreed with this philosophy and tried to instill it in my children. We all need a True Crew, but it is the quality of your crew, not the size, that matters.

And finally, for me, the quote that I highlighted and underlined, “Don’t self-eliminate by never even entering the game.” She points out that most of the things we are afraid of doing will not actually have dire consequences if we do not succeed. But by never trying, we will fail most assuredly. I have some dreams of my own that I have put off most of my life. Reading this amazing work has convinced me that the only one standing in my way is me and that with my True Crew behind me, I don’t need to be afraid of going after my joys in life. 

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