Whew, boy, do I have opinions on this one… This year has been a deep dive into self help and motivation for me. I decided to give this one a try after it came up on a couple of podcast I listen to. I knew going into it that Hollis was religious but at this point in my own journey I draw wisdom and inspiration from all faiths so I didn’t think it would bother me. I got the audiobook and was pleased to see that it was only six discs long. I got started right away.
I enjoyed probably the first two thirds of this book. Sometimes I found Hollis a little annoying, a little too religious or a little too preachy or a little too “sunny side up” or a little too naive BUT it was kind of like listening to a podcast and I kept on because it was just fine.
I was on disc five out of six when I seriously considered completely chucking it and I honestly only finished because at that point I was damn well going to count it as read.
First, if you’ve ever read a self help book there is a good chance that you are not going to get anything new from this. There’s nothing wrong with that, most self help is like that I think there’s value in hearing things again and again. Hollis definitely represents a demographic that I recognize. It’s true that a lot of her problems don’t seem big to other people that doesn’t mean they aren’t big to her. I am one of the luckiest women alive and I have still struggled with trauma, anxiety, depression, weight issues/eating disorders, drinking to deal with my toddler. And it’s true that a lot of people find her approach of choosing happiness and choosing to pull yourself up to be belittling and grating. I get it. On the other hand, maybe her advice matches her problems. This is what is valid for her.
And now… Hollis started to lose me first when talking about the relationship she first had with her husband before he “changed” and how unhealthy it was but it all worked out in the end but it probably won’t for you. I shrugged it off. That’s not really what her story was about, anyway, it just hit me wrong… Then there was the chapter about foster care and adoption. It was long and heavily peppered with judgments and A LOT of holier than thous. She followed that one up with talking about her weight, at which point she complains about being a size 10. I’ll admit I was getting a little throat punchy…
Then there was the chapter about drinking and I swear to God that this was what pushed me over the edge. I don’t think it’s right to tell people that they are doing the best they can and then right away tell them that they need to face their addictions and their lies, and not just alcohol but also she mentions food and romance novels. Running totally isn’t an addiction or escapism, though, apparently. I also found it really annoying that she compares self medicating to taking antibiotics when you’re sick. If you’re sick and you take antibiotics your immune system will never get strong, she argues, and this bothers me and makes me feel very icky on so many levels. Where do we draw the line with what we consider to be medicating? Can you have no indulgence if you’re a mother because it will make you too weak to be there for your children?
Hollis means well and I know that there are some people who will definitely find something useful in all of this. She ALWAYS makes it clear that this is her personal experience and she suggests seeking therapy a number of times and I have to give her kudos for that. She’s upfront and honest about her experiences, life lessons, and feelings. However, this just was not for me and I can’t see it being for a lot of people.