The joy of the internet. We’re always told how great we are and how great we can be. I really kind of wonder if this was always the case. Like in 1992 without going to your therapist, were people always told they were great and can be whatever they wanted to be as long as they put their mind to it?
“We’re not born laughing. We’re born screaming.”
This quote hits you from the beginning. It is on the first few pages of the book and it is so completely correct. Followed by:
“No matter how great you think you are, it’s important to remember that your first act in this beautiful world was to cause the highest possible amount of pain to the person who loved you the most. “
I pre-ordered this book probably a good year ago. A big shout-out to the internet on this find. The book has been sitting on my shelf; unconsciously I have been waiting for the right time to pick it up. Now was the right time I suppose.
Our society is addicted to positivity. It is our drug of choice. We want to be “happy”. We want to know, we NEED TO KNOW, that we are special and important and the bee’s knees. I never really realized this until I read this book how one hundred percent accurate that is. Just this morning there was a segment on the “news” about “how to be happy”. “Being happy” is overrated and it is drastically oversimplified. You can’t just “be happy”. It is not a light switch you can easily turn off and our; our emotions are complicated. Our feelings are fleeting, changing day to day, moment to moment.
“People use ‘happy’ as a goal because they are afraid of what life really is. People who want ‘to be happy’ don’t actually feel ‘happy’, because they don’t actually ever get to feel anything. So the next time you meet someone who is ‘happy’, ask them to explain exactly that the fuck is wrong with them. Maybe the emotion they feeling after that will be an authentic one.”
We’re told to ignore our haters. They’re just haters. The author, Elan Gale, tells the reader to not “ignore the haters, use the haters to make yourself the better, constantly evolving, constantly changing, until you’re so much fucking better than they ever imagined you could be”.
It sounds like something I should just know but reading that was like FUCK YEAH. Don’t just think you’re better than your haters. BE BETTER than your haters. Use that anger and frustration to push yourself to your limits.
Gale also encourages you to embrace your negative emotions. His is guilt. I concur. Guilt means we acknowledge we have done something wrong. Guilt can push you to become better. You can not change the past, but acknowledging your guilt can make you a better person in your future.
“I need my guilt to tell me that I need to correct my behavior.”
All the stupid things you’ve been told:
- live each day as if it’s your last – what would you do on your last day on earth? the answer is, nothing productive.
- dream as if you’ll live forever.
- let go and let God. try this one while driving on the highway and let me know how it goes
- believe in yourself. someone who really should believe in themselves wouldn’t be looking for motivation on Instagram.
- it is what is it. the intellectual equivalent of just opening your mouth, sticking your fist inside, and holding it there until you die of hunger.
- don’t look back! you’re not going that way. there are two types of people in this world; people who pay attention to their past and try to learn from their mistakes and people who get eaten in the woods. (decide what kind of person you want to be)
- everything happens for a reason. (I am particularly guilty of this one) people who say this have never really stopped and thought about the incredible ramifications of this worldview. it’s incompatible with the concept of free will and human choice. it’s antithetical with the concept of free will and of human choice.
This book is not for everyone. It’s not your typical self-help book that will be advertised on the TODAY Show. It is real. And it requires you to really take a look at yourself and your way of thinking. This is not even something I thought I would get anything from because I don’t think I am all that great. I know where my faults are; for example, I need a calculator to do simple math. And multiple times during my life I was told I was not good enough – not smart enough, not vocal enough. I’m not that great, I know that.
Despite what the Rachel Hollis’ of the world (don’t get wrong, Girl Wash Your Face is my jam) tell you, you can not THINK good things into your life. You can’t just be positive. You have to work at what you want. And when things don’t work out you have to take that negative, that rock bottom should you hit it, and make it work for you. You can not just sit back with your Venti soy latte from Starbucks and wait for shit to happen for you. You have to make it happen.
You have to fail.
You have to lose your shit.
If you’re ready for that kind of slap in the face I would recommend this book. I would especially recommend this book for anyone who walks around judging people; thinking they’re so much better than anyone else because their mommy or daddy told them so.
You’re not that great either.