The Beginning of Relearning

The Beginning of Relearning

This morning, I woke at dawn with no alarm clocks and the dogs still snoring at my feet.

But the start of this book was practically clawing its way out of my brain. So I sat down to write, and the words just came. Lots of them. As of this moment, I’ve written nearly 3,000 unedited words to get this book moving.

I felt compelled to share the introduction with you, because this is why I’m writing this book. I hope it resonates with you as much as it is with me as I’m writing it. I think those of us that write books start by writing for ourselves. And somewhere along the way, we realize that the story we have to tell needs to be heard, because someone else out there needs it too.

Here’s the start of the Relearn journey. I hope you’ll come with me.


Before we do anything else, I need to share something with you. Something important.

Who you are, right this very moment, is enough.

This book is filled with stories and a framework for helping you unlearn the things that are holding you back and relearn new ways to move forward, reinvent yourself, hone new skills or discover new directions. That’s probably why you bought it.

But I need you to know that you’re enough, right here, today. You’re worthy of love, worthy of compassion and empathy, worthy of care and encouragement just the way you are.

I didn’t believe that for a very long time before I started this journey.

In fact, I believed myself so unworthy that there were a number of times I just wanted to give up, surrender to the unkind voices in my head, and just disappear from life and people. I wasn’t suicidal, but I might have been perfectly content to never leave my house again. I had given into the idea that my body was repulsive. That my spirit was too damaged to be beautiful, and that my vulnerability made me weak. I believed that my life would forever be ruled by my anxiety and depression and my eating disorder and that I was too weak to overcome those things.

I believed that if I spoke those things aloud, if I made them real, that I would be judged and shamed and prove once and for all that I was truly unlovable.

Maybe you have been suicidal. Maybe you look in the mirror everyday and wonder just how you’re going to get out of this deep, dark hole of pain and hopelessness. Maybe you picked up this book because you know you need to change something, but your heart really isn’t in it yet because you believe that other people might be able to change, but not you.

Let’s make each other a promise.

If you’ll sit down and read this book with an open mind, I promise you these stories will leave you not just hopeful, but equipped with a refreshed perspective about why you’re worth the energy, effort and determination it takes to reshape your life.

If you don’t think it helps, if you don’t put down this book with renewed determination and hope and some tools to help you take those critical first step forward, I’ll buy it back from you.

I’m not holding anything back in here.

You’ll learn my story, warts and all, and you’ll hear the stories of many others who have been right where you are. There is blood, sweat, tears, shame, triumph, embarrassment, hope and lots of vulnerability in the pages that follow. I know that you’ll recognize yourself in many of them. In fact, in doing the research for this book, over and over again I was struck by the truth: I was not alone.

Neither are you.

Relearning is a mindset, not a destination. This isn’t a checklist of tasks you tick off. It’s a way of approaching your life that will completely change the way you see yourself and others.

It’s also manifesto of sorts, one that demands that we raise our hands together, declaring not only that we’re enough right now, today, in all of our perfectly imperfect beauty, but that we know that we may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to what the universe throws our way.

It’s not going to be a book for everyone, because it’s going to be really uncomfortable at times. We’re talking about  painful things, embarrassing things, the sorts of demons that most people stuff way down deep and don’t let out into the world.

But that’s the start of Relearning, facing down the truth and reality of our starting place, and gently beginning to pick up pieces and put them back where they belong.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken and cracked porcelain by filling the cracks with resin and gold. In doing so, the artist makes the breakage and repair part of the beauty and history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

We can fill the cracks in our spirit with gold, make our broken and repaired self stronger and more beautiful than ever, without shame.

We can listen. We can show compassion and grace to others and especially to ourselves. We can start again — right now, today, in this moment — and reclaim ourselves. We can be broken and become strong in our broken places. And we can do it as many times as we need to in order to find ourselves, live in our own truth and walk the path that’s meant for us. Even if our first steps are tentative, even if when we speak, our voice shakes.

If we can learn, we can unlearn. And if we can unlearn, we can Relearn.

You are enough. You are worth making this investment in yourself. Right now, today. You are enough.

It’s okay to be unsure. But let’s do this together. I’ve got your back every step of the way.

Deep breath.

Ready? Here we go.

  • Sunny Hunt

    I cannot wait! I read this, ” Who you are, right this very moment, is enough,” and had to take a moment. You’re right. So, very right. Thank you for that.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you, so much. I’m really crazy nervous about this book because it’s not sterile. It’s not work. It’s something…else. I’m scared no one will care or read it. But that’s exactly why I have to write it!

  • Sherree W.

    This –> “But I need you to know that you’re enough, right here, today. You’re worthy of love, worthy of compassion and empathy, worthy of care and encouragement just the way you are,” made me burst into tears.

    I also appreciate your comment that “Relearning is a mindset, not a destination.” It seems the mindset is what does us in and we never see the destination because of it. (Make sense?) I cannot wait to read this book.

    • Amber Naslund

      I can’t wait to share it. If it helps, I cried while writing those words, too. My therapist says them to me every week because I need the reminder. She probably needs a by-line. :)

  • Yukari Peerless

    This reminds me a lot of what Brené Brown wrote. Can’t wait to read your stories. Cracks also reminds me of the Leonard Cohen’s lyrics; “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the lights get in.” So excited for your book!

    • Amber Naslund

      Yeah, Brene is awesome. Her work is amazing because it’s so data driven and beautifully academic (in a really human, positive way). I can’t claim her research background so this book will be much more anecdotal. I’d like to be her when I grow up someday. :)

      • Yukari Peerless

        I wanna be her when I grow up too! :) I think these themes are common as we try to grow, but it’s also meaningful each of us share our own stories. It’s my dream to write my own in Japanese (as it seems this topic is not very common there yet-lots of people struggling trying not to be perceived as “weak” etc) I would love to read your book and hopefully include in my book. :)

  • meganjeniferharris

    The Kintsugi analogy? Brilliant!!! Looking forward to the rest! Thank YOU so much for sharing so openly and transparently! Gosh Amber, you inspire me sooo much!

    • Amber Naslund

      Aw, thank you Megan. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified about this book, which tells me I’m probably on to something. Thank you for the kind words, and thanks for the support.

  • Dave Marler

    We all have cracks, if not we’ve been too fearful of failure. We’ve all endeavored to learn, some for a finite time, not enough for infinity. For if we choose to stop learning, and indeed relearning, we soon are to perish, and all too often in the literal sense.

    We all, if willing, can relearn from your courage, honesty and willingness to expose and address your vulnerability. Help us all to accept the notion that who I am, this very moment, is indeed enough. And, more importantly, may we celebrate our acceptance by pledging to encourage others to do the same.

    • Amber Naslund

      This is really beautiful, Dave. Thank you very much for writing it. I appreciate it, sincerely.

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  • cloverdew


  • selfiesandsweatpants

    Thank you so much for being so brave, real and willing to share your experiences so freely. I’ve never met you IRL- but you are a true inspiration and someone who i look up to greatly.

    I absolutely cannot wait to read this book! :)

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  • EllenMalloy

    Well, I can’t wait for this. Thank you in advance. The graph that really got me was this: Relearning is a mindset, not a destination. This isn’t a checklist of tasks you tick off.” Because, checklists. GTD. Flylady. Productivity!!!!! Methinks it has turned us all into vehicles for accomplishment instead of sentient people living their lives and dreams.