Read by Rachel Hollis
Published February 2018 by Nelson, Thomas Inc.
Source: checked out the audiobook from my local library
As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore. With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.
Maybe this one came too soon after How To Be A Bawse, which I thoroughly enjoyed and took inspiration from. Maybe it came too soon after Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which I was so sad to be finished with and knew would be hard to follow up. Maybe I’m just not that great at having people who don’t know me and haven’t traveled in my shoes telling me what to do. For whatever reason (and maybe all of them), I came away from this book with very mixed feelings. In fact, I finished this book last week and the more I think about it, the more problems I have with it.
No doubt about it, Hollis has overcome a lot of tough stuff and she’s very open about her failures in dealing with those hard times. She appears to want to help raise others up in the way of all people who have overcome adversity and who say to us “I’ve overcome my problems and you can to, if you just try hard enough.” Which is all well and good. I mean, we aren’t really going to listen to someone who has never struggled a day in their life try to tell us how to make ourselves better are we? And I’m all for someone encouraging me to lift myself up and reminding me that much of what holds me back is within my power to change.
On the other hand, sometimes I can get the feeling from these folks that it’s entirely my own fault my life is not better and that I’m just not trying hard enough. Interestingly, a lot of Christians (the book was published by a Christian publisher and Hollis references her faith quite a lot) have problems with this book because it tells readers that they alone are responsible for making their lives better and not suggesting to readers that they need to turn their problems over to God, that only he can make things better.
On the website for this book, there is this:
"Have you ever believed that you aren't good enough? That you're not thin enough? That you're unlovable? That you're a bad mom? Have you ever believed that you deserve to be treated badly? That you'll never amount to anything? All lies."Here’s my problem with that - on the one hand, Hollis says those are lies; on the other hand, she actually does suggest that some of those things are true. For example, when talking about her experience as a foster parent, she makes no bones about the fact that she feels the biological, addicted parents are bad parents. Are addicts bad parents? That’s a whole rant I’m not going to go on here. But the point is that she says that it’s a lie that you’re a bad mom and then accuses people of being bad parents. The truth is that some people actually are bad moms. Including, at least at one point, Hollis, who turned to alcohol when dealing with her children became too overwhelming. Hypocritical, no?
And as for that lie that you’re not thin enough? In point of fact, Hollis doesn’t believe that people should love themselves no matter their weight and she flat out says so. There’s a whole piece about how people who are overweight are, basically, dishonoring God by not keeping their bodies in the shape he designed them to be in. It’s a good thing that wasn’t the first lie she addressed or I would have gone no further.
And let’s don’t even get started on the chapter where she described an emotionally abusive she had when she was just 19 years old then essentially said, to quote Charlotte Bronte, “Reader, I married him.”
Hollis is a highly successful, extremely driven woman whose brand continues to grow. It’s always nice to see a woman succeed, even if she didn’t have to break the glass ceiling to do it. And Hollis can be very amusing (although not as amusing as she seems to think she is) and readily admits that she still doesn’t have it all right. I appreciate what she has tried to do with this book, even when I didn’t necessarily agree with everything she said. While we certainly don’t all start from an even playing field and pulling yourself up is a lot harder for some than it is for others, it’s always good to be reminded to do your best and to keep trying.
**My daughter listened to this book before I did and really liked it a lot at the time. There were a lot of places where she felt the book really spoke to her. While she had some of the same issues I had, I think she got more out of it than I did.