Books: Dr. Kelly Flanagan’s “Loveable”, as reviewed by Amy Kellestine

Reading the insightful book Loveable felt like a long drive through the picturesque countryside in a convertible on a sunny Sunday afternoon – easy, liberating, and just where you want to be. It is the first full-length offering from Dr. Kelly Flanagan, the clinical psychologist and father behind the blog UnTangled and viral posts, “A Daddy’s Letter to his Little Girl (About Her Future Husband)” and “The Reason Every Kid Should Talk Back To their Parents”.

Structured in three parts, it’s aligned with the three acts Flanagan says are part of all of our lives. The first act is overcoming shame and realizing that you are enough, just as you are. He explains how you can use anger as a clue to unravel the ball of shame woven around your soul: “Anger is the first breadcrumb on the path back to ourselves.”

The second act is all about belonging – reconciling our true self and false self, and our relationships in the process. In his words, “We are, each one of us, unique and lovely beings. Life isn’t about comparison; it’s about connection.”

Finally, in the third act, we gain the courage to spend our time in a way that is meaningful for us, and we have the capacity to honour our calling and our purpose. Flanagan says, “Where our most vibrant passion meets our most visceral pain, we discover a sense of purpose.”

Flanagan is clearly a gifted storyteller and guide. Loveable has the the perfect blend of heartwarming anecdotes about his children, tender exchanges with his wife, raw honesty about his own journey, and thoughtful quotes and biblical stories. I found myself endlessly relating to his struggles as a parent and partner. I deeply appreciated the transparent honesty about his journey to reconcile his worth and productivity at work and the tentative first steps he took to give voice to his purpose through his blog.

Most of all I loved the metaphors he used throughout the book. They connected me to known concepts in new and unfamiliar ways that deepened my understanding.

Some of the best examples of this are in Act 2, which addresses the construct of the ego. For example, he draws a parallel between our relationship with our ego and the safety bar on a midway ride. We can cling to the safety bar at all costs and miss part of the experience of the ride. Or we can trust, let go, throw our hands up in the air, scream at the top of our lungs, and get the most out of our ride here on earth. Additionally, he used the metaphor of a castle (with walls, cannons, and thrones) to describe the construct of the ego itself.

Throughout the book, Flanagan reminds himself, his family, and all his readers, “No matter what, you are beautiful and beloved.”

Amy Kellestine headshotAmy Kellestine is an educator, engineer, Arati life coach and entrepreneur living in Edmonton, Alberta. She spends her free time camping, gardening, and volunteering for causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and nature conservation. She is a devoted mother and is passionate about helping others and writing.

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