I Didn’t Want To Read Girl, Wash Your Face, But Here’s Why I Couldn’t Resist
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Chances are, by now, you've probably heard of the book, Girl, Wash Your Face by self-help guru, media mogul, and mom of four Rachel Hollis. The book has been shared heavily by women and female entrepreneurs especially in the sphere of direct marketing, sales, and all kinds of online as well as physical businesses. Honestly, I feel like everywhere I have turned online there have been women praising the book, sharing the book, and raving about the book.
And for a long time, despite the fact that I am a self-professed lover of all books, I resisted the book.
I don't really know why I was so adamant about not reading Girl, Wash Your Face; part of me was stubborn, thinking that I didn't need any help, thank you very much and I certainly didn't need to fund someone else's dreams coming true in order to discover my own. Part of me just didn't want to give into the hype and follow the crowd. And part of me just didn't want to hear any more “advice” about how all I needed to do to change my life was get up earlier, be more positive, eat healthier, and just be better.
You know, because women aren't hearing enough about how they are failing in a million ways, right?
Eventually, however, I gave into the hype. I was curious if this book, this one out of thousands of self-help books directed towards women like myself, frustrated in their roles as mothers, wives, and business owners, feeling like life is just passing us by and out of our control, would be the one to stand out from the rest. I rented Girl, Wash Your Face via my favorite free app, Hoopla, which lets you rent ebooks and audio books directly from your library totally for free (genius, I tell you, genius) and slowly worked my way through it during soccer practices, school pick-ups and drop-offs, and laundry.
I admit that I completely listened to it skeptically.
I didn't want to like the book. I wanted to eye-roll at her suggestions that all I needed to do to change my life was, well, change my life. I wanted to protest that ‘She has it easier than me!' and ‘Well, it's easy to take over the world when someone else is cleaning your toilets!' But I have to admit, in spite of myself, I found that the book did have one major breakthrough takeaway for me.
The book, perhaps, unsurprisingly, did contain a lot of the familiar platitudes and advice for women that I was expecting. There was definitely talk about getting up early (trust me, I've tried it, but kids have the darnedest ways of getting sick in the middle of the night right when I'm planning on sleeping) and there was definitely encouragement to find that elusive “help” I'm always hearing so much about. (Which in this case, seems to be pretty darn near full-time housekeeping and childcare and as far as I can tell, is most helpful if you also happen to make a significant amount of money or at least more than a public school teacher's salary, but maybe I read that part wrong.)
There were lots of things on eating healthier and being more positive and having more gratitude, all things I agree with wholeheartedly and all things that, in theory, I practice, but yet I still end up reaching for a cinnamon roll and cussing at the slow driver in front of me when I'm late (again) to get my kids to school.
So maybe the book had some cliche parts about doing better and being better, but there was one aspect of the book that really did strike me. In one chapter, Hollis discussed how, after a late night out with a bunch of girlfriends, full of good food and drinks, she came home and worked out. Her friend, upon hearing that instead of coming home and crashing, exhausted and stuffed, like most people do after a night out, Hollis had jumped on a treadmill instead, was understandably, shocked.
When she asked why on earth Hollis would do something like that, her answer was simple:
She had made a promise to herself.
And there it was — something so simple, yet so profound. She had made a promise to herself. And because she valued herself, she didn't break that promise to herself.
Hollis went onto point out the myriad of ways that we make promises to others that we wouldn't dare break, because we care about the people we are promising things to, or value our relationship with them, or love them too much to let them down, but when it comes to ourselves? Oh, how quick we are to break those promises.
Because we don't matter. Because we don't love ourselves enough. Because we don't see our own selves, as mothers, women, and wives, as worthy enough.
That's some hard-hitting stuff, right? And while I can't say that my entire life has been revolutionized by the book, I do have to say that one tiny revelation has stuck with me. It was like, well, it was like a slap in the face that I kind of needed. Because it's so true and because I have broken promises to myself countless times, when I would never break a promise to someone else.
But I should matter enough to myself to keep my promises.
What promises to yourself have you been breaking lately?