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Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live With Passion and Purpose


Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live With Passion and Purpose

This is a book for married women who watch and appreciate the daily
"Dr. Phil" television show, hosted by psychologist Phillip McGraw,
who gives no-nonsense advice and often follow-up support to
families and individuals in need of, well, advice and support. At
the taping of every episode, Mrs. McGraw is in the audience, if not
onstage, and miked, ready to chip in with a woman's viewpoint if
it's requested. Every show ends with Dr. and Mrs. McGraw walking
together out of the studio, smiling hand in hand. In TV land it's
his show, but it's hard to imagine the setting without her.

In book land, INSIDE MY HEART may be similarly Robin McGraw's
"show," but it's impossible to envision the landscape without her
husband. In chapter one she lays out the goal of her book: to tell
every reader "about the power of choosing her life rather than
taking it as it comes along." What were Robin's life choices? As a
young woman she saw herself "as the one person and the only force
besides God who I could count on to design the life I wanted to
live, and make it a reality. I knew I was meant to be a wife and
mother, and I made it happen. I wanted a husband who didn't drink
or gamble, and I made it happen." She looked for a man who
respected her and whom she could respect. That husband was not that
celebrity we know as "Dr. Phil," but the mere mortal she always
calls Phillip. "He's [just] a man, with all the lovable and quirky
qualities that implies." Does she let him psychoanalyze her? Not on
your life.

INSIDE MY HEART is not a self-help book as much as a topical
memoir, full of personal anecdotes that tell her life story and
reveal her philosophy on life as a woman, wife and mother. She
doesn't fit neatly into stereotypes. She's a menopausal woman who
still calls herself a "girl." She says she's "happiest when" she's
"taking care of someone" --- whether it be her twin brother in
childhood, widowed father, her husband or her sons. (An empty-nest
crying jag --- her younger son having gone off to college --- sets
the stage for an opening anecdote that isn't really about her son
but about her relationship with Phillip.)

But don't think this is a push-over woman. Robin McGraw clearly
knows her mind and doesn't take being dismissed, or disrespected,
sitting down. "It's no secret that I don't like being told what to
do." In several stories she stands up to people with some
influence, particularly doctors. She refused hormone replacement
therapy, at a time when "everybody" was popping the pills; she also
champions medical advocacy anecdotally on behalf of her own
children, and by implication she encourages her readers to do the
same --- to trust their own intuition and judgment when they think
that something is amiss or misdiagnosed.

Belief in God underlies Robin's world, but in these pages she
really doesn't talk much about God, worship or a church community.
About the closest she gets to citing Scripture is quoting "one of
the oldest sayings around" (at least in America): "the Lord helps
those who help themselves."

There are great personal stories here that illuminate the personal
lives of a husband and wife who have done great work in helping
unfocused Americans get their lives back on track. Robin McGraw
talks about acceptance, about forgiveness, about being "the heart"
of her home, about claiming one's own ground. "I believe we were
put on this earth to enjoy lives of joy and abundance," she says at
the end of the book. She's claimed it for herself, and she wishes
it also for you.

Reviewed by Evelyn Bence on January 22, 2011

Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live With Passion and Purpose
by Robin McGraw

  • Publication Date: September 12, 2006
  • Genres: Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • ISBN-10: 078521836X
  • ISBN-13: 9780785218364