Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
Published by: Harper Collins Leadership
Publish Date: 2019
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Self Help, Contemporary, Christian
HB&W Rating: 4
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“I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”
Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough.
In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
As soon as I finished listening to the audio book version of Girl, Wash Your Face (henceforth referred to as GWYF), I turned right around and listened to it again. After that, I immediately went to my library’s website to put a hold on her follow up book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. SIX. MONTHS. LATER. I finally got my hands on it.
First, I want to say that there are serious pros and cons to listening to these books on audio. On the one hand, you want to be able to highlight passages that you aren’t able to do if you’re listening to the audio version, but on the other hand, you just can’t beat the energy that comes across in the audio version, which is read by Rachel herself. My recommendation: listen to the audio version, then go back and read a written version.
Just like GWYF, there is a lot of wisdom and actionable advice in this book, told in the same no-nonsense, listen-up girlfriend kind of way. This time around, I was so much more prepared for the book and I actually treated this book like I would a college course book, taking copious notes (11 pages), marking down specific passages that spoke to me, and thinking about how I could actionably apply her advice to my own life. Then, once again, just like GWYF, as soon as I finished it, I read it again.
She breaks up this book into sections: Excuses To Let Go Of, Behaviors To Adopt, and Skills To Acquire.
In Excuses To Let Go Of, Hollis works to point out both the obvious and the sometimes unconscious ways we talk ourselves out of going after our goals. Whether it is breaking the cycle of self-recrimination or letting go of the guilt associated with going against the culturally propagated ideal that a woman is only as good as what she can do for others (mother, wife, daughter, volunteer, cook, housekeeper, and so on), Hollis brings to light all the ways we talk ourselves out of becoming our best selves.
There is a big difference between gratitude for your life and blind acceptance of whatever comes your way.
Once we are made aware of the pitfalls and problems we face, Hollis outlines several behaviors she adopted that helped her get where she is. While each person’s individual goal may be different than hers, the behaviors she advises us to adopt can still be applied.
Grown-up women don’t ask permission. There is absolutely a way to be your own person while also being part of a great relationship with someone else. It is absolutely possible to manage your priorities, your responsibilities, and your personal desires in a way that stays true to you and the people you love.
It happens when you stop asking permission to be yourself.
Lastly, she recommends several good habits to develop in her Skills To Acquire section. These items are actionable habits you can put into effect in your own life immediately. From planning how you use your time to developing and maintaining confidence in yourself and your abilities, to keeping a positive attitude and more, Hollis shows us how she developed these skills herself with the attitude that you can do anything for 30 days, and after that, it is more or less a habit.
While I loved this book and appreciated its practical application to my own life, sometimes the author comes across a little bit unrelatable due to her wealth and position, and she also occasionally comes across a little preachy, which almost always without fail rubs me the wrong way…but that says more about me than her. Regardless of the fact that it rubbed me wrong, it also is part of her persona, and it works for a lot of people, so that’s okay.
The only thing I would add is that there is also a lot of tough love talk that is of course (and she even admits it on a couple of occasions) NOT for everyone. If you are a new mom or on-call doctor with late and unpredictable hours, getting little or no sleep, she admits that she is NOT telling YOU to get up earlier. So it goes with most of her advice. Take it with a grain of salt and in the context it was given. It isn’t gospel, and it isn’t the same across the board. Take what you can use from the book and move on, and ultimately remember the flow chart of Other People’s Opinions and how they should weigh in on your life…don’t worry about it.
Out of everything I read and took to heart in this book, there was one analogy that she explained that resonated with me on so many levels, not just for myself, but for other women I know and care about: the glass vase.
Imagine that you are a glass vase and you’re standing up tall, and someone is pouring water into you. That water is everything you could possibly need to survive. So you, as the glass vase, are filled with life and energy and nutrients and love and joy—all the good things.
But we women often don’t think about ourselves as much as we worry about everyone else, so we try and lean over. We tip our vases forward and backward and side to side so that the good things we’re receiving will spill out to those around us. We give some to our children, or our coworkers, or our parents, or our friends. We keep tipping ourselves over. We tip it a little bit here, we spill a little bit there, and eventually…the vase falls over and breaks into a thousand pieces. We spend so much effort trying to take care of others that we destroy ourselves in the process.
But here’s the incredible thing. If you’re a vase and you just stand up tall and proud on a firm foundation, if you just take in all the things that are being poured into you, what will eventually happen to the water in the vase? It will overflow and spill out to everyone around you.
There are plenty of reasons to be an example for young girls, but it’s equally important (in my opinion) to be an example for our young boys. There are plenty of examples of strong, confident, high-achieving men in the world, and the world opens up for our boys as they grow into men in a way that it doesn’t yet for girls. This is precisely why it is so important to show our children examples of women with those qualities, so that we break the cycle and introduce them to a generation where we assume these qualities are based on hard work and not gender.
Ultimately, this book is a positive example of how we women can strive to improve ourselves and in so doing let our light shine for others, but only if we believe that we are worthy and stop apologizing for being ourselves.
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