Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 out of 5 ⭐️‘s
How I Fell in Love with Rachel Hollis
I have to admit, I was bit with the Rachel Hollis bug quite awhile ago much like many other women I know. I was first introduced to her by a good friend who listened to her podcast called The Dais, (which she has recently changed to Rise in order to more tightly align her brand). The friend who recommended the podcast to me was an especially close friend, one that I trusted, and who shared a similar outlook on life to mine, so I thought what the heck and decided to give Rachel Hollis a try. The first time I listened to the podcast was on a normal weekday morning while I was driving around doing typical mom stuff like going to the post office, the bank, etc, and I remembered how my friend had urged me to listen to the podcast, so I searched for it through the podcast app on my iPhone and started playing it. I will be completely honest with you, at first listen I fell in love, love isn’t even the right word, I completely adored it, maybe even became borderline obsessed. I could not get enough. I must have listened to half of the available episodes in just that one day and felt thoroughly inspired after hearing her motivational words and the inspirational stories of her guests playing in the background as I went about my day. Saying that it was addicting to listen to is an understatement. I was so enthralled with it that I felt the need to tell anyone and everyone I had ever come in contact with about her. I was sharing podcast episodes and quotes from her on my social media pages, I was making notes in my journals, talking to my children about her, I think you’re getting the idea— I was fully consumed. I must have driven my husband crazy during those weeks, I could not stop from going on and on about her, I’m sure he is still traumatized. Someone should check on him.
So— Getting Back to my Infatuation
I just for the life of me could not believe how this basically unknown woman who was similar in age to myself, and in a similar phase of life, could empower me to such a level and could not wrap my head around how geeked I was feeling about MY life —and all because of her. After spending weeks listening and hanging onto her every word I decided it was time to find something else she had put out into the world, so I found her new (at the time) book Girl, Wash Your Face (click on the link to purchase) on audible and listened to it in my kitchen while drinking coffee and I did not stop listening until the book ended. After it was over I felt as if my eyes had opened up to a whole new way of living. I felt even more inspired than I had after listening to her podcast. I even ran out to get a hard copy of the book so I could underline and make notes throughout it. It really was a life changing moment for me. So, here we go, I am going to talk about my favorite things from her book, then I will go over the things I do not like about the book (yes there are things I don’t like, and that I’m fairly certain you won’t like too). Finally, I will explain why regardless of the drawbacks you still need to grab a copy of it. Hopefully you will find this helpful as it is coming from a true Rachel Hollis fan and from someone who has a passion for critiquing books.
Hollis starts off the book with a letter to readers, and to give you an idea of what the message is, take a look at this quote, she states, “understanding that you have control of your own life, is so important,” —essentially she is encouraging women to take back control of their lives, this is basically the ever present theme in the letter and throughout the book. Her goal is to motivate readers to act instead of wallow when stuck in a rut and she uses inspiring language to get you to push forward. Another thing she lays out in the letter is “to identify— and systematically destroy— every lie you’ve told yourself your whole life.” This is the other main reoccurring theme that weaves itself through the book. Hollis breaks down the various lies and negative self talk that women often let lead their lives. She does this by giving each chapter it’s own lie that she then debunks. The advice includes everything from how to eat better (by giving examples of how she successfully changed her entire diet), to the benefits of regularly seeing a therapist, and countless other things like setting boundaries with people, putting yourself first, building confidence in your abilities, having patience to see goals through, working hard (every single day), and specific guidance on how to become the best version of yourself —which she bases on what she did to become the best version of herself, which she without hesitation says she will continue to do until the end of time.
I am someone who subscribes to the mindset of don’t tell people how awesome you are, but instead let them figure out if you are for themselves. Hollis talks about her accomplishments A LOT, and about how amazing she is, and she does so a little more than I am comfortable with. Although I don’t really think her book would work if she didn’t use her experience as a backboard for the advice, so I’m not sure if she had any other option to tackle the book. I mean, she isn’t a researcher and she doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about the accomplishments of others or things she has learned through instruction. In fact, she pretty boisterously states that she is only high school educated and labels herself as self taught. It can at times come off as self righteous and dare I say know-it-all-ish. I’m sorry Rachel, I do love you!
Another issue I have with the book is the repetition. She covers some of the same topics in several different chapters. For example, she explains how damaging negative perception and self talk can be to our confidence but does so by covering several different examples of it in all different areas of the book. I mean, we get it, we are mean to ourselves, but I’m not sure we need to hear it covered from that many angles. Also, there are some chapters that seem like extra fluff to make the book longer, like the chapter on her obsession with Matt Damon, did we really need to know all about that? Don’t get me wrong we all love Matt Damon, but was it really necessary to include an entire chapter on her lifelong celebrity crush? Also, the chapter on how to stop drinking wine?! The horror. We are not giving that up Rachel. No one is. Am I right ladies? Finally, my biggest criticism of the book is that I think it could have the capacity to lead some women to believe perfectionism is the answer to their problems. Although Hollis rejects the importance of letting what other people think of you control your life and about letting go of doing things the way society says you should, she does place significant emphasis on doing everything a certain way… and not just in a few areas of your life, in ALL of them. It could be overwhelming for some women and potentially counterproductive as the thought of trying to change every aspect of your life has the propensity to be daunting.
Aside from the negatives I listed above I do think that if you go into this book with a specific mindset, one that comes from a place of seeking out motivation, or if you are going through a really hard season and desperately NEED to be motivated, then I think if you pay attention and focus on the things that speak directly to you then this book could be tremendously helpful. The motivational nature of the book is effective at jump starting the desire to set goals and to make plans on how to reach them. If you read the book with the understanding that you need or should want to do all of the things that Hollis explains in the book or even attempt to make a plan to achieve all of them then—in my opinion— you risk burnout. I am of the belief that we all need to make time for rest, reflection and to be patient as we evolve into the unique human beings we are destined to become. Hollis vehemently expresses that she is successful in all areas of her life, but success is up for interpretation, and people have varying opinions on what defines a successful person. I look at it much in the same way that I approach Marie Kondo’s fabulous book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (click on the link to purchase), which is that you can’t possibly incorporate all the guidance that is included in an instructional book for your life— into your life– if it simply doesn’t apply. I don’t know about you but I will never be able to get my children to fold properly, nor do I have the patience to teach them for longer than three minutes (sorry Marie Kondo). This concept also applies to Girl, Wash Your Face, –there are only certain things from the book that will be applicable to your life and that will directly impact your goals for the future. The bottom line– I urge you to pick up a copy of this book, but read it with an open mind and only apply the instruction to your life that works for YOUR life, and don’t let yourself feel less than for not having achieved all the things. Life is hard, take baby steps, and if you need a little kick in the butt, this is sure to help you along, I promise you won’t regret it.
Have you read Girl Wash Your Face? If so, what did you think about it? Do you agree with my review? Disagree? Please leave me a comment and let me know! I can’t wait to hear from you.
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If you haven’t read Girl, Wash Your Face yet and would like to you can purchase it through my Amazon Affiliate link below.
If you’ve already read Girl, Wash Your Face and liked it, she has a sequel coming out to it in March of 2019 called Girl, Stop Apologizing. You can preorder or purchase it below.