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"Unbinding the Heart" by Agapi Stassinopoulos Book Review

Agapi Stassinopoulos' latest book, Unbinding the Heart, is a must read for anyone wishing to reconnect with their true self through uninhibited and raw examination.

The native Athenian author offers a honest account of how she opened her heart, in the context of societal pressures and "soul constricting influences of the larger world". She offers thirty-two intimate genuine memoirs, filled with wisdom and wit, based on the pivotal moments of her life.

Stassinopoulos' mother Elli is often discussed in Unbinding the Heart, and was a true source of stability in her and her sister Arianna Huffington's existence. She taught her daughters how to find their source of happiness from within, and inspired them to live authentic and stimulated lives, based on their individual talents. She is often quoted in the book with statements that support a positive life, that include: "When you worry...you're moving yourself away from your center, and it's much harder to function effectively. When you stop worrying, you come into balance". Of her mother's wisdom, Stassinopoulos rightfully believes, "Thanks to her, I, too, see the world as a place of boundless abundance from which we can choose and create solutions to whatever problems we face".

During the Greek author's quest in finding her personal and professional self, she offers affirmative comments that reinforce self-confidence and validation. As Stassinopoulos states, "The world will do what the world will do-but when we are feeling validated inside, it's remarkable how the world starts to reflect that back to us". Regarding the topic of isolation, which many people currently experience, she explains, "I think that the isolation so many people experience is a result of that same separation from ourselves that have been disowned. We feel that in order to function in the world, we have to put aside some deeply imperfect, human part of ourselves. But ultimately, the only way to make these parts perfect is to accept them with love and compassion...The world can only seem a safe place when we feel safe inside".

Stassinopoulos offers an inside look into her successes and so-called failures. During a time of professional uncertainty, she commented: "Isn't it often the case that we go after one thing, only to find out that it's a disguise for something much more essential to our lives?". While reading this book, one can't help but transition their negative self-talk into a more positive larger scale, personal outlook. Concerning expectations and disappointments that often lead to low self-esteem, the Hellenic author justly claims, "Wouldn't it be better if we just entered situations with an attitude of 'Let's see how this will turn out', without bringing the pressure of our own agenda to bear?".

One of the main elements of Unbinding the Heart, is finding out who you truly are and loving yourself. Stassinopolous' mother taught her two children that the smartest investment one can make was to invest in themselves. The defining element in each of our lives, is how we spend and conserve our energy on a minute-by-minute basis. The writer believes that she is a better person to the outside world and herself, the more she takes care of her "capital". She refers to sleep, food, friendships, and body and soul cultivations, as the main pillars of enhancing your own capital. One of her favorite quotes is, "Treat yourself as if you were someone inexpressibly dear to you".

Stassinopoulos refers to her ethnicity, Greek Orthodoxy and love for her homeland, throughout the entirety of Unbinding the Heart. She discusses how personal connections and warmth are bound in the cultural code of Hellenism. Greeks tell a listener what they feel in the moment, as they know that uncensored expression is best for the soul. The author describes that in Greece, when you ask people how they are, their answer is never a generic: "I'm fine". Greeks are specific about their emotional states, and often respond with: "I'm furious!", "I'm worried", or I'm happy". Stassinopoulos believes it's extremely freeing to name what you're feeling.

One of Stassinopoulos' favorite philosophers is Socrates, and his simple but profound statement, "Know thyself" is a central theme in her book. She states, "Know thy self, and I mean all of it. Your true self and your false self." The author encourages readers to take the time to listen to your silent, true self, and not to listen too much to what your false self tries to distort in your mind. Stassinopoulos adds, "The real self patiently watches you until you step aside to let it lead".

Unbinding the Heart by Agapi Stassinopoulos, is an extremely beneficial and truthful guide, in finding and loving just who you are, by opening your heart to the world. She successfully offers personalized, honest accounts of the most defining moments in her life, in a down-to-earth and credible manner. When questioning her own dreams, the Greek intellect states, "My dream was to find my creative expression and realize it to its fullest extent and be totally used up by life, by God".