Rachel Hollis is the founder and CEO of TheChicSite.com, and has built a large online Community by sharing tips for living a messy, but meaningful life. In this book you’ll learn twenty lies and misconceptions that hold us back from living joyfully and productively.
The biggest takeaway of this book is that you, and only you, are responsible for who you become and how happy you are. But you’ve also heard lots of lies perpetuated by society, the media and our families. These lies are detrimental to our sense of worth and our ability to function. Recognizing these lies is the key to growing into a better version of ourselves. Although a lot of this advice is geared towards women, there’s something here for everybody looking to find meaning in their messy life (which is all of us).
Lie #1: Something else will make me happy.
Seasons or instances will make you feel out of control, but they should not be the whole of your existence. This is your life. You are meant to be the hero of your own story. Take responsibility for your own life and your own happiness. Changing your location is only changing your geography. Moving doesn’t change who you are. You must choose to be happy, grateful, and fulfilled, no matter where you are. Things that may help: Stop comparing yourself to others. Surround yourself with positivity. Figure out what makes you happy and do those things.
Lie #2: I’ll start tomorrow.
What if a friend constantly flaked on your plans? What if she said, “I really want to see you, but this TV show is too good?” Would you rely on her? Would you trust her? No. That applies to you too. If you constantly make and break promises to yourself, you’re not making promises at all. When you really want something, you’ll find a way. When you don’t really want something, you’ll find an excuse. Plan for a goal and think about how you can achieve it. Things that may help: Start with one small goal. Be careful with your commitments. Be honest with yourself.
Lie #3: I’m not good enough.
Acknowledge your hard work and your achievements, and learn to rest in the knowledge that you’ll be okay even if both of those things go away tomorrow. You are loved and worthy and enough, just as you are. Things that may help: Go to therapy. Work just as hard for fun moments as you do for all the other things. Put yourself number one on your priority list.
Lie #4: I’m better than you.
Bringing others down won’t elevate you. Recognizing that all words have power – even the ones whispered behind someone’s back – is how you adjust your behaviour. Stop judging others, and stop competing with them too. Just because you believe something doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. Things that may help: Having nonjudgmental friends. Policing yourself. Figure out your own insecurities.
Lie #5: Loving him is enough for me.
Every day you choose who you are and what you believe about yourself, and you set the standard for the relationships in your life. If you are not able to value yourself, no one else will either. As long as you allow someone to treat you badly, they will continue to do so. Things that may help: Have a sounding board. Be prepared. Look at it from someone else’s perspective.
Lie #6: No is the final answer.
No is only an answer if you accept it. If you want to be successful, refuse to take no for an answer. Never believe that your dreams are someone else’s to manage. When it comes to your dreams, no is not an answer. It is not a reason to stop. Don’t give up on your dreams because they are difficult or because it’s taking too long. You have to decide to pursue your wildest dreams, no matter what they are. Things that may help: Audacity. Alternative paths. Keeping your goals in plain sight.
Lie #7: I’m bad at sex.
Agreeing to sex is different than embracing it. Partners can tell if you’re not enjoying it and it takes the fun away. Get in touch with your feminine mystique and it will change your sex life forever. Things that may help: Redefine sex in your own mind. Find a way for sex to be an earth-shattering experience.
Lie #8: I don’t know how to be a mom.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. A mother’s to do list should be simple: take care of the baby and take care of yourself. Don’t be overwhelmed with anxiety about doing the right things all of the time. Do what you can – the rest will take care of itself. Things that may help: Find a tribe. Stay away from Pinterest. Get out of the house every day. Talk to someone about your feelings.
Lie #9: I’m not a good mom.
You should parent in whatever way works for your family and spend less time worrying about other people’s perceptions of how you are doing. Stop being so hard on yourself and instead focus on the good work you are doing. You don’t have to get it right all the time. You only have to care. Things that may help: Look at the evidence in your own life. Make friends with other moms. Focus on quality.
Lie #10: I should be further along by now.
Goals don’t have expiration dates. Every single moment is preparing you for the next. There may be many items on your to-do list but you also have a long list of things that you have achieved. You’ve done little things and big things and those deserve to be celebrated too. Things that may help: Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Set goals and not time limits.
Lie #11: Other people’s kids are so much cleaner/better organized/more polite.
When most of us get hit with chaos, we either ignore it, battle it, or drown in it. The other option is to embrace the madness. Take a breath and find humour in the situation. Take some time to refill your cup and you’ll be better able to embrace all of the madness. Things that may help: Find similar friends. Have priorities. Have something that helps you unwind.
Lie #12: I need to make myself smaller.
You don’t need to make yourself small to make others feel more comfortable. Feeling guilty about who you are does a disservice to yourself. You are not an accident. You were not made to be small. Things that may help: A willingness to offend. A bold statement. An encounter with a guru.
Lie #13: I’m going to marry Matt Damon.
Stay motivated by imagining a dream and following it. Whether or not the dream comes true isn’t the point; it’s about how you steer your ship in a clear direction. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Find your motivation and make some moves. Things that may help: Write it down. Say it out loud. Create a vision board.
Lie #14: I’m a terrible writer.
Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business. When you’re creating something from your heart, you do it because you can’t not do it. You create because you have a gift. But you can’t make people like or understand it. You have to be willing to put it out there even if they don’t like it at all. You have to decide that you care more about creating your magic than you do about how it will be received. Things that may help: Stop reading reviews. Write for yourself. Indulge in silliness.
Lie #15: I will never get past this.
You cannot ignore your pain. The only thing you can do is find a way to embrace the good that came out of it – even if it takes years to discover what that is. You can live through something that rocks your world off its axis. More than merely surviving the loss, you can thrive. You can survive because living is the greatest honour you can give the person you lost… even if the person who’s gone was your younger, more innocent self.
There will be times where you must fight to keep your head above water. Even if you don’t feel it at the time, the very fact that you’re still breathing means you’re a fighter. It will get easier. And you will get stronger. Things that may help: Go to therapy. Talk about it with someone. Make yourself think about it.
Lie #16: I can’t tell the truth.
Keep telling your story, even if it’s painful to talk about. The truth is hard to share and it takes courage to do so. However, when we keep things hidden, we give power to the fear, the negativity, and the lies. Things that may help: Taking the plunge. Seeking out other truth tellers. Researching stories similar to your own.
Lie #17: I am defined by my weight.
Who you are today is incredible. Your weight does not define you, but the care and consideration you put into your body absolutely does. It is important to take care of our bodies with nourishment, water and exercise. You don’t need to be thin, but you need to be healthy. Things that may help: Mantras. Stop consuming media that makes you feel bad. Prepare in advance for anything you want to do well.
Lie #18: I need a drink.
Drinking can be an attempt to escape, but you cannot escape the realities of your life forever. In fact, the only way to manage stress is to build up your resilience and strength. You build resilience and strength by going through difficult situations. It’s like building up muscles at the gym. First, you have to break down the weaker parts of yourself before you can build them back up. The process is often painful, and it takes time. But fighting through those times is how you get tougher.
Things that may help: Learn about habits. Acknowledge your reality. Remove the temptation.
Lie #19: There’s only one right way to be.
There isn’t one right way to be a woman. There isn’t one right way to be a daughter, friend, boss, wife, mother, or whatever else you categorize yourself as. There are so many different versions of each and every style on this planet, and they are all beautiful.
Don’t presume to know the answers. Always ask questions. Don’t settle for the world you feel comfortable with, but push yourself to seek more. Regardless of how you were raised or what you were taught to believe, you get to decide where to go from here. Things that may help: Change churches. Acknowledge your position. Ask humble questions.
Lie #20: I need a hero.
Only you have the power to change your life. Nobody – not God, your partner, your mom, or your best friends – can make you into something without your help. You have the ability to change your life. You have to stop waiting for someone else to do it for you. Set a goal for yourself and work your butt off to get there. You have the power.
Stop assuming that someday your life will magically improve on its own. Stop presuming that if you only had the right job, the right man, the right house, the right car that your life will become what you’ve always dreamed of. Be honest about who you are and what you need to do to make a change. Stop the negative self-talk, stop abusing your body, stop putting it off for tomorrow or Monday or next year. Get up, right now. Rise up from where you’ve been and start again.