Books I’ve Read: You Are A Badass

I have been in a funk recently. Okay, probably for a while now. School, work, relationships, money, FOMO (that’s fear of missing out for those out of the loop), and so many other stressors have really impacted my mental state and my self-confidence. There’s been a lot of crying, anger, sadness, and stagnation.

I finally reached out to a counselor, and talking through some of the things I’ve been feeling has been helpful. But I’m definitely more of an introvert, and much more into helping myself where I can. So lately, I’ve been supplementing those sessions with various self-help methods– exercising and eating better, reading countless books and articles, attempting meditation and yoga, and exploring several spiritual paths (with little success, unfortunately).

I really feel like self-help gets a bad rap. Which is so confusing, because so does going to therapy or taking medication. There’s this stigma about mental health and stress, and EVERYONE has some sort of mental health issues at some point, yet we act like no one should. I’m convinced that even the most zen Buddhist monk has some stress at some point after they decide on that path. They just found a way to help themselves handle it. We here in the West are not good at that part, even though we’re great at creating the stress.

I decided to ignore all the judgment around self-help books and picked up You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. And I loved it. It’s a little out there, but it’s very real. It doesn’t read like the books that likely gave self-help the stigma in the first place. Yes, she uses profanity. But she does it in such a way that it sounds like your enlightened friend walking you through a break-up or getting laid off or amping you up for a job you really want but are absolutely terrified of going for. Stress can come from positive events too.

So what does she talk about? There are three big themes throughout the book.

She starts with the phrase “raising your frequency.” The first thing I thought when I read that was that I was getting self-help from a hippie yogi– not totally inaccurate. But this mystical phrase is merely a way of saying that positive people attract other positive people and things, whereas negative people attract negative.  A low-frequency person is just going through the motions, blaming the universe or others for the negativity in their life, and not doing what they want or what makes them happy. A high-frequency person is doing things to better themselves, engaging in activities that they enjoy and interacting with positive people, and understanding that life really is all about what you make it, that the only thing working against you is you. To feel better about yourself and get what you want out of life, you have to raise your frequency.

The second big theme is trusting The Universe. Again, some esoteric mysterious mumbo-jumbo– but it isn’t. What she’s advocating is pretty common in many religions, whether it be Buddhism, Wiccan, or Christianity. The Universe can refer to any number of things depending on your belief system. For instance, in the Christian system, this is the same thing as handing it over to God, praying over it and waiting for him to give you a sign or make it happen. Sincero advocates getting in touch with The Universe through meditation or prayer, really just sitting quietly and opening ourselves up to words from God or hints from our subconscious or whatever it is that we experience when we empty our minds of to-do lists and bank account figures and social media drama. This allows us to more easily surrender to forces that we cannot control. When we try to control every little detail, it becomes counter-productive to getting what we want.  It’s subscription to the belief that The Universe/God/your deity or driving force helps those who helps themselves. Take steps to reach your goal, but trust that there are things out of you control and that by doing what you have to, what you want will manifest itself.

The third and most prevalent theme is simply love yourself. Perhaps the most self-helpish phrase in the book, but ridiculously important. You can’t have a high frequency if you tear yourself down. You can’t do what’s necessary to let The Universe know you want something if you’re constantly thinking of all the reasons why you aren’t capable or deserving of a better job, a quality partner, a new car. We are not perfect, but dwelling on our flaws is such a disservice. We have so much power, and all we have to do is open up our eyes to how awesome we are to start using some of it. Let’s be honest. We are all pretty badass.

I reflect on many of the points Sincero discusses on a daily basis. I’ve started “meditating,” really just lying in bed at night or sitting if I feel so inclined, and focusing either on nothingness or on a specific goal. I fall asleep so much more easily, and I feel more focused the next day. I’ve reached out to people who are so much better than me at the whole “trusting The Universe” thing, and people who are very positive and doing their part to help themselves; it’s easy to see exactly how The Universe has helped them. It’s helped me to take steps toward letting go of control on things I really have no control over in the first place. I’ve got a long way to go, but I love what I got out of this book.

Do I recommend this book? Most definitely.


Hitting the… Well, I’m Not Quite Gym-Ready Yet…

So I’ve finally done it… I’ve hopped on the healthy train, and I’m working my way up from the caboose. The myth of the Freshman 15 (or 40, depending on who you talk to…) finally got to me, and I want to prevent a wardrobe reform in the short-term. Clothes are expensive. In the long-term, I just want to be healthy– less money spent on doctors, drugs (legitimate medication, never the illegal kind), and other bad health-related expenses, monetary or otherwise.

Now I’m heading into completely uncharted territory. For one, the only time I ever really “worked out” was at recess in elementary school and in gym throughout the first nine years or so of school. Outside of that, it’s mostly been sitting at my computer or in front of a television or reading a book or doing homework. And those don’t burn too many calories, unless you’re walking and reading as I do every so often. So I’m starting a walk/jog routine three days a week. It’s more like a walk/walk/jog/walk deal right now, but I’m starting slowly. And I’m doing resistance exercises and ab workouts and attempting push ups. The girly kind. I’m working my way up. Eventually, I’ll feel comfortable enough to do some real exercise in the recreation center on campus.

The second problem is eating healthy. Granted, we have a fantastic dining hall on campus with plenty of healthy options, including vegetarian and vegan menus. But I also don’t have unlimited funds in my student account, which I also use for books and gifts and other necessities for college living (like that $60 sweatshirt I bought; it gets cold crossing campus). And dining hall food gets boring after a while. This is the nice thing about the cash flow from the bowling alley, since I’m able to go buy fresh ingredients from the local giant eagle and create my own healthy concoctions. Which means I’ll also be working on something else I’ve never really done: cooking.

I guess that means the benefits of living healthier are two-fold. I get into better shape, and I learn how to cook. Fantastic! Wait… Three-fold. I get to buy new books. I’m very excited about this. And I’ve found some really great cook books in the campus book store. I’m excited about this. Even if my muscles are screaming at me. They rather enjoyed the company of Chair and Couch. They don’t seem to excited about meeting Pavement and the Resistance Bands. I guess they’ll just have to get over it. Wish me luck!

Any good tips for this new journey? Any delicious recipe ideas?