Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel Hollis puts a fresh spin on the traditional “inspirational” book in her 2018 release, Girl, Wash Your Face. This book will kick your butt into gear and make you want to get up and DO SOMETHING about your life… without using a ton of cliches to get you there.

I’m going to be straightforward with you here: I’d never heard of Rachel Hollis until a month or two ago. I saw the trailer for her “Made For More” movie, and it certainly caught my eye. I looked into it, and her, and discovered she had a) an Instagram (so I followed) and b) a book. I had to request the book at the library and was on a waiting list, so it took me a bit to get it – but it was worth the wait!

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How to Be Happy

happy (adjective): characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy

The project of allowing myself to be happy has, arguably, been one of my biggest struggles. I’m not sure why it’s so difficult to allow myself to feel true happiness, to be certain that things are okay, to smile and live in the moment and not worry about what’s coming down the line, or when things are going to get bad again.

I’m both my best friend, and my worst enemy, as cliched as I realize that sounds. Because while I’m the one who can always bring myself up, find something to smile about, get myself into a positive, chipper mood… I’m also the one who can doubt herself and everything around her, wait for something bad to happen (and fear that it inevitably will), and revert back to days of old where it felt like I was surrounded by clouds of darkness, sadness and general unhappiness.

It’s easy to trip up and fall back into a pit of concern; a pit of questioning… “Is everything really okay? Maybe I made this person angry, or I’m annoying them. Maybe that compliment was them just being nice. Maybe I really am just as worthless and hopeless as I used to feel in those days, years ago.”

It’s not like I can’t be happy. I know I can; but it’s that nagging thing in the back of my mind that says “How can you be happy right now? Things are on the precipice of falling apart; this little happy charade you’re playing out is going to be over soon, so don’t even bother.” It’s as though, many times, when I begin to feel happiness, like life is really, really good, there’s a little voice asking me “…. well, are you sure?”

Allowing myself to be happy means pushing that thought off a tall cliff. It means recognizing that I deserve to be happy, truly happy. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today, and all my past issues be darned, I’m doing this thing.

It means swallowing my fears and recognizing that realistically, things aren’t always going to be okay. Life isn’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows; there’s going to be a cloud every once in a while, and sometimes a storm. But just because a storm comes, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sun, too.

Allowing myself to be happy means not worrying about the storm; not waiting for the storm to come, or waiting for the other shoe to drop, as some might say. That’s not a good pit to fall into, and I’m really, really trying not to. I’m trying to embrace the positive things in my life, and allow myself to be happy — because I’ve earned it, damn it.

I just wish it wasn’t so hard sometimes, but the important thing is, I’m trying.

Progress Doesn’t Just Happen

Sometimes, when I get writer’s block, I venture over to StumbleUpon to see if anything jumps out at me that can spark my writing. Today, I got what I needed: a page from Temple University with a quote that began “Progress doesn’t just happen.” How true is that, really? In any aspect of our lives, progress doesn’t just HAPPEN. There needs to be a spark, something that pushes us along, ignites the way.

We can look at this in any aspect of our lives. Take, for instance, my writing. Progress doesn’t just happen. I’ve been writing for years, and years, and years. Over those years, I’ve become a better writer, more confident in my abilities. In driving, progress doesn’t just happen – it’s simple, but it requires some gas, a foot on the pedal, and a functioning vehicle to get us wherever it is we’re going.

The same is true of life. Progress doesn’t just happen. It requires hard work, determination, and a can-do attitude. You won’t get anywhere if you’re just standing in one place; you’ve got to move, to better yourself, and too keep going, no matter what.

That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am today. Do you think two years ago, when I was in probably some of the worst mental shape of my life, I would’ve ever been able to see myself where I am right now? No way. Today, I’m something I call “happy.” I feel more confident in myself. I’m enjoying life, and I can see a great potential in the future, too. It wasn’t an easy road to get here, but I did – with some hard work on my part, determination to see better days, and a strong refusal to give up.

I guess in the end, I feel like I’m ranting right now, but my point is this – in whatever you do in life, keep going. Progress doesn’t just happen; you have to work for it, but if you do, good things will come.

It’s All About CTRL

One of the keys to happiness is this simple: taking control of your life and your path in life, to the best of your abilities. Know that you have power over your own life, and know that you can control what happens in your life. With this, you must also know that you can’t control others; you can only control yourself and how you react to situations.

If you’re not happy, figure out why. Figure out some small ways to change that, even if it’s something as simple as getting a haircut to make you feel better about your appearance, working out more often to blow off steam, or taking up a hobby like painting or writing. Not happy at your job? Look for a new one. Not happy in your relationship? You can’t control the other person, but you can control yourself. Either decide to make an effort to fix things, or decide to walk away.

In fact, adapt that attitude in all aspects of your life. If something is making you unhappy — or not making you happy — figure out why, and either decide to do what you can to change that, or walk away from it. Don’t let things hold you down in life.

Recognize your boundaries, and recognize what you can and cannot control. You can’t control other people or how they may act towards you, but you can control how you react to them. You can’t control whether or not you get the job, but you can control how you appear in an interview and how your resume and application materials look to the manager. You can’t control the traffic lights or the line at the coffee shop, but you can control what time you leave the house in the morning.

Life is all about having control over your life, and your life only. Once you start to adopt that style of thinking, you may find that you end up a lot happier.

Potential & Possibility

Potential (adj.); capable of being or becoming

Sometimes, life gets so wound up, so busy, so crazy, that it’s easy to forget just how amazing it is. How truly wondrous life can be, and how amazing it is that we ARE living, breathing, moving creatures and that life has so much potential. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything that we forget just how much potential life carries every single day.

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