My thoughts after reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

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This book was gifted to me by one of my best friends years ago. Despite it being a fairly quick read, I stopped halfway, per usual. I have never been much of a reader as Netflix and Youtube are my bread and butter. But after deciding that I was going to attempt to read more books in 2022, I picked this one back off my shelf to help me kickstart my goal.

In the past, I have always felt the need to read books word-for-word and start-to-finish to say that I had successfully completed a book. Only recently did I learn that I do have to read every single word in the book, and that it is okay to skip parts I feel like do not pertain to me. So, I flipped through the parts about kids and marriage that I did not find relatable to my current life / mindset at the moment.

What I find the most helpful about self-help books is being able to relate to the lessons and feel motivated to apply the rules to life. As I occasionally find myself stuck in guilty, self-deprecating ruts about not having achieved enough at my age (32); books like Girl, Wash Your Face help console my negative thoughts when I realize that everyone else also experiences similar mental and emotional processes before achieving more for themselves.

Easy to digest, each chapter tells a personal story about Rachel Hollis and ends with a concise three to five things that have helped her find her path to happiness. As cliche as some of the advice may be, they are positive reminders for when we need reassurance that we are doing well and positivity to find our way back for when we steer off path.

This seems like the most obvious idea in the world, but at the end of the day, very few people intentionally choose the things that bring them joy.

Chapter 1 – Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

It starts with reminding you not to compare yourself to others as that is the killer of joy, to surround yourself with positivity and to figure out what makes you happy. Although it sounds so easy, when you find yourself depressed and in a emotional rut, these are the hardest things to do.

Straight out of college when I was 20 years old, I was “forced” to run a newly started small but big (to me) family business, restaurant, 12-hours a day, 7-days a week. “Forced” only because I did not realize I had the power to take ownership and the choice to be positive about my “obligation” towards family. This was right after my parents lost their restaurant business and sole lifeline that supported our family due to our deeply rooted and intertwined family issues, personal demons, oh and of course 2007-2008 financial crisis which also resulted in us losing our home. I found myself in one of the deepest mental and emotional holes that took me years to come out of. Hence, probably one of the reasons why this book was gifted to me in the first place. 😀. But, that’s a story for another day.

Rachel Hollis makes each problem easy to swallow and understand. For example, when talking about how small goals led to bigger things, she tied that to her trying to quit Diet Coke. Diet Coke. I mean, I love Coke, Coke Zero. But she successfully ties that into, how one small but whale-like habit, Diet Coke, one by one, can lead into new standards for achievement.

This book is an introductory and entry-level stage to addressing your personal problems. It can help jump start the motivation for change and to identify what may be scratching at the surface. At least that is what the book did for me. Every book I read helps me piece my thoughts together. Though it took me the last 12 years to get to this state of mind, I feel more ready and equipped to implement the necessary change to feel more satisfied and fulfilled with my life.

Chapter 10: I Should Be Further Along by Now

That thought is something I constantly battle when seeing how my life panned out compared to my friends. Though I now know not to compare, it was hard not to when your closest group of girl friends that you grew up with since middle school are so much higher up the ladder with successful careers all the while happily married with beautiful kids. Though, my thoughts have shifted on marriage and kids at the moment, another story for later.

Turns out, the most beautiful things in my life were never on my to-do list… Celebrate the small moments… Nothing is more important than today.

Chapter 10 – Girl Wash Your face, Rachel Hollis

I have always chased experiences since I was younger. Specifically, I could never understand why I would chase after dating experiences. Not only was I constantly getting burned by guys that were emotionally unavailable, but I also found myself in a cycle of seeking external validation through these guys. Little did I know at the time that somewhere along the way, I had adopted a very unhealthy outlook of relationships and self. I did not value my self-love and self-worth at the time, not because I wanted to but because I really did not know how to. At the time, I blamed my parents for being horrible examples, but I am slowly learning how to unfold things, one at a time.

At the age of 32, though I have always wanted to be the best version of myself, I am convinced that my real commitment for change slowly started since I turned 29. I am working everyday and make choices that help sharpen my intuition and to listen to my inner voice.

In Chapter 12: I Need to Make Myself Smaller, she says,

Digging into the whys of how I behave as an adult are what make me able to overcome unhealthy habits

Chapter 12 – Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

And she mentions her discomfort when talking about her job. I too, for some reason, have had a hard time being comfortable sharing what I did for a living. She was making herself small, something that I find myself doing all the time. Despite me knowing that I am very capable of running and maintaining a restaurant, I find myself downplaying a lot of my achievements and accomplishments. Maybe it was because I never felt as though this place was really mine, maybe it was because I did not feel courageous enough to say that this is what I have built from scratch. Because in reality, I did not create this concept from its birth. I was given this concept by my brother at year one, and for a decade I grinded everyday to make it what it is today. With the help of my dad and my staff of course, and now with new partnerships. Though I have yet to really figure out why, it does provide me advice on how to start trying to deal with the core of it.

In Chapter 14 I’m a Terrible Writer, Rachel Hollis says

You have to be willing to put it out there even if they don’t like it and they hate it.

The lie is: you start to believe that you need public opinion to validate my desire to make something when the truth is, you should embrace your creativity because it is a God given ability.

Chapter 14 – Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

I find myself to be a fairly private person. A huge part of my distress caused from work was how public I felt my life became when working with family, and how I felt like the place was airing my dirty laundry.

It took me years to finally even decide to publish a blog after first creating a wordpress site back in 2016. Though, I had no real idea or direction of how I would have made my blog, I knew I wanted to write about my journey in life. But I have lived in constant fear of what other people thought of me, or being embarrassed of people finding out. Why though? I still wonder why I think like this.

Rachel Hollis states that every time she tries something new, she has to fight off the desire to confirm that it will be loved in order to keep going. But she also counteracts that by saying that that is a waste of energy. “Rather put your work out there no matter what the response will be.”

Do it because you love to and and you want to. You’re given the ability so do it to be true to yourself. Create for yourself. Do it in celebration of your ability to do so, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Chapter 14 – Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

That really got to me. It stood out the most, because everyday in my 20s, I sat here wondering what my purpose on this Earth is for. I felt the inclination to want to create and to live out my potential, but I have had a hard time figuring out what that may even be. But, even having started this blog, and trying to commit to one blog post a week is helping me live out my goals by starting small and stepping out of my comfort zone. Reading the book helped me to find the courage to cast away my inner voice of wanting to please others over my own self again. It is something I will have to keep reminding myself about.

Chapter 19 “There’s Only One Right Way to Be” talks about stepping out of your comfort zone and seeking a community with people that are different from you. And by doing so, it will help you become a different version of yourself because you are challenging yourself to see other sides.

There isn’t one right way to be a daughter, friend, boss, wife, mother or whatever else you categorize yourself as

Chapter 19 – Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

This speaks to me as the mantra I try to live by is, Be true to yourself. When you are younger, or at least when I was younger, I strived to fit in, rather than learning how to be myself whether that I meant I fit in or not. A lot of my adult years got lost while trying to be someone and something I wasn’t. I felt like my career was not me. Probably the reason why I was uncomfortable sharing it. As I struggled to force myself to accept my situation and love my job, I constantly lashed out on my parents and had numerous mental and emotional breakdowns over the years. On top of that, I was very hard on myself for not being a good daughter, friend, boss, girlfriend, by societal standards. I let that eat away at my self confidence and in turn affect my view of self.

When you know better, you do better.” I want to know better so I can do better

Maya Angelou

I felt like I was constantly lacking, as I still feel do. However, instead of learning how to love and accept that part of myself, I kept trying to hide my weaknesses. Which now, I am slowly starting to realize that it contributes to a cycle of negative self talk. More about that another time.

All in all, the book helped me understand and put into words some of my thoughts and feelings I could not pinpoint. It reiterates and encourages you to live a life that you love all the while being true to yourself. The core theme of the book is that Only you have the power to change your life. Be honest about who you are and what you need to do to make change.

Would I recommend this to others? Yeah, it’s a quick read and it’s at the very least thought provoking. Maybe you can skim through parts of herself talking about her life, but at the very least, it will help you think inwardly.

Stop crying about what happened and take control of what happens next. Get up, right now. Rise up from where you’ve been, scrub away the tears and the pain of yesterday, and start again… Girl, wash your face!

Girl Wash your Face, Rachel Hollis

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