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.

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An Evaluation of Empty Days


Indolence

Indolence (Photo credit: Constance Wiebrands)

I’m ready to go back to school. This summer has been a productivity wasteland, and I need to get back to doing something with my time. I had goals for this summer. I really did.  And I didn’t accomplish a single one (except maybe the cooking). Here’s the list:

  1. Get into shape. I was determined to be healthy this summer. I only half managed that, eating better than usual and cooking more on my own. But exercise and physical fitness kinda got swept to the side. That’s going to be on the “Things to Do in Your Free Time” list for the school year.
  2. Get comfortable in the kitchen. I’ve definitely gotten my hands dirty in the kitchen the last few weeks. Saturdays have been cooking healthy meals with my family, and I’ve been cooking during the week with this great guy I’ve got in my life. I’m no gourmet chef, but the food has turned out really well. I’m definitely gonna keep it up.
  3. Read at least five books. This one should have been easy. But I just can’t seem to get off the computer. Or just pick up a book instead of watching T.V. or something. I barely made it through one book. It’s extremely disappointing. I’ll just have to work it into my schedule somewhere between classes, homework, and sleeping. And everything else I didn’t get done. Sigh…
  4. Blog weekly, write more in general. Yeah… As you can see, I totally bailed on my New Year’s Resolution… I lasted a bit, but summer hit and that was it (yes, I know that was bad and sounded lie… You fill in the blank). And the student travel site I was blogging for isn’t accepting new material right now, so I’m not even cranking a post out for money every week. So I’ve only been scribbling– story starters, openers for blog posts never posted, but nothing complete and worthy of public (or even private) acknowledgment. I’m very disappointed about this one.
  5. Get a tan. This was somewhat accomplished. Working as a counselor/teacher at my high school’s band camp helped with this. 90-degree sunny days spending six hours in the sun with only a minimal amount of sunscreen on places that burn easily really does the trick. Except that I have horrible tan lines. I won’t be wearing shoes without sock for some time. And I really only tanned my forearms and my legs from mid-thigh to ankle. I’m a little uneven.
  6. Get a car. That hasn’t happened. I have a substantial amount of money set aside for a decent down payment, or if possible,  full payment on a decent used car. But I would be happier with more set aside , or with a car of my own in the driveway. So that’s still a ways away.

There’s no good reason for not accomplishing most of these. Facebook, sleeping until noon, television, and work are not good excuses. A bit of drama at the beginning of the summer and a sort of rebuilding in a couple of facets of my life might allow for a bit of leniency, but cannot account for the failure to complete more than one goal. I guess I just have to step it up during the school year, and keep it up  into next summer and beyond. I guess I’ll just have to work harder to get myself motivated. I want to better myself, for myself and not anyone else. I hear self motivation is pretty hard though, so feel free to offer me some support. A nice “You can do it!” shout out does wonders.

Have you set any goals recently that you hope to accomplish or have accomplished? How did you motivate yourself? How can you accomplish them if you haven’t already?