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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And Along the Way, She Found…


I have discovered a few things about myself recently. Rather, I’ve identified a fewthings that I’ve always sort of known, I just now know what to call them and have no difficulty acknowledging them. I guess that’s what’s supposed to happen in college, and life in general.

1. I am an intrexovert.

Yes, I’m fully aware this is not a word (English major, remember?). But it describes me perfectly. A combination of introvert and extrovert, it applies quite well to my personality. Sometimes, I crave the company of others and have the most fun in a crowd. These also seem to be times when I become energetic and talkative. Other times, I would much rather disappear into the woods and stand in awe of nature or curl up with a good book and a cup of chai tea. When this happens, I certainly am not conversational, and I may forget to eat. Books and rivers distract me from normal human functions like these. And of course these may overlap sometimes. That’s just how I operate.

2. I am a total nerd.

And cue image of Steve Urkel. Alright not quite. But I know a little about a great deal of topics, and also quite an amount about a few specific areas. And I am very enthusiastic about all my knowledge, from the musical theater to German culture to wilderness survival. More than that, I’m always in want of more information. I enjoy learning, and I find a plethora of subjects fascinating. I think I was the only person actually intrigued by what our tour guide was saying when I went to Washington, D.C., in the eighth grade. Everyone else was fascinated by the black squirrels and cute boys getting off buses from around the country…

3. I am very open-minded.

Everyone is human, regardless of skin color, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or any other determinant that has been used as a basis for discrimination. For some reason, there are still people who haven’t figured out this simple fact. But I have. I live on a campus with a large GLBT (gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender)-friendly community. And honestly, some of the nicest people and those I’ve become the closest friends with are gay. Who cares? I also know people who have a very strong belief in their religion, so strong that their entire life revolves around it. Great for them, even if I’m not interested in attending mass five times a week. I see no reason to base my entire opinion of a person on a difference in beliefs, therefore ruining any possible relationship I could develop with them. I believe that since everyone is human, they should be treated like a human. The Golden Rule comes into play here: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”* It only makes sense. You’re human; they’re human. Why differentiate?

I’ve always known these things to be true about myself. I just wasn’t aware that I was aware of them, mostly because I didn’t have a name for this characteristics. And let’s face it, no one wants to be called a nerd. But I am, and I have no problem with it. It describes me well. So there’s a little more about me, for those of you who aren’t in a position to experience my… eccentricities. Don’t worry, there will be plenty more self-discovery as I go along. Why don’t you do a bit of your own?

What are some things you’ve discovered about yourself, either recently or a while in the past?

 

*There’s a down side to this philosophy. Treating others like crap will only lead to a return of crappy treatment. Ever seen what happens in that situation?