The Art of  Variety

Overcome the Lies You Tell Yourself

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

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If you want to talk about a librarian's worst nightmare, it's me. I am a note in the margin and dog-ear in the corner of every page that touches my soul kind of gal. Most individuals looking to preserve the original state of books find these acts to be unorthodox. Then there are people like me who see the act of marking up a novel as a sign of love. Likeminded individuals see it as an expression of personal connection between the words on the page and the strings of the heart.


Which course of action, notes in the margin or dog-eared pages, I indulge in is generally determined by the environment. While reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, I was sitting first class on a flight to Florida. The option to take notes in the margins wasn't feasible. Instead, I added more dog-ears to that book than to any other book I have read. She shares stories and the lies that she believed, how those lies kept her from becoming her most beautiful and happiest self. Then she shares vital elements that help her overcome the lies. Our lies may not be the same as Hollis's, but the concepts derived from this book seep deep.

As I said, I dog-eared so many pages in this book. Rather than explain all of the parallels between Rachel Hollis's life and mine, I chose two key messages. Two is not nearly enough to encompass the brilliance of this book. The lies she believed title each chapter in her book. I will identify the messages by sharing the lies.


The Lie: No Is the Final Answer


There is a saying that I have heard once or twice. I think it goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!" I'm not exactly sure where this originated, but we hear this saying repeatedly growing up. Yet, in adulthood, we are quick to fold when someone tells us we are not talented enough and accept no without any opposition.


In the first two pages of chapter 6, I had an immediate connection with Hollis. She expresses that many people are "waking up early, being the hardest-working person in the room, asking for help, being able to fail over and over again, and constantly working to improve..." but yet not everyone experiences the success she has. She then ponders why she has become successful by implementing this behavior. When rejection comes knocking, she doesn't take no for an answer. Instead, she interprets no to mean "merge with caution." The road to your dreams is not straight and narrow but rather full of detours. Her yield sign mentality is one that we should all adapt.


Where I affixed, myself was in the subsequent paragraphs about perspective. Hollis states, "Perception means we don't see things as they are; we see things as we are." She uses a burning house as her example and explains the different viewpoints from the firefighter and homeowner. To each individual, the house is something different. This fundamental concept is valid for all aspects of life. Past experiences alter your perception of everything.


For my 21st birthday, I desired a tattoo. Few people knew I wanted one, let alone was hell-bent on getting one. The ones that did know didn't understand why I would choose to tattoo PERSPECTIVE on my body. While the fab was going around and tattoos were the focal point of every feed I logged into, it was more than something to show off. I strategically placed the tattoo out of sight. The only person that needs to see it is me. It is my little reminder. On page 59, Hollis had reminded me again why I chose the tattoo I did. Every morning when I look in the mirror, there is a reminder that I can succeed if I decide to look through a different scope. That no matter the circumstance, I can be positive and overcome my past. I am not defined by my choices or what others think of me. The Bible says, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" Psalm 139:14. I believe this and therefore chose to allow that perspective to influence the value of my life.


The lie: Other People's Kids Are So Much Cleaner/Better Organized/More Polite


Hollis discusses her kids in this chapter, but I'd like to think that the entire point of this chapter is more profound than that lie. Chapter 11 reveals the benefit of "embracing your chaos." Hollis believes that "embracing chaos might be the path to finding peace." I'm sorry, did I read that correctly? She goes on this short rambling session about the chaos theory. I was lost for a few minutes until she unfolded the butterfly effect, and it reminded me of something from my past. A wise friend of mine once explained the ripple effect. He said, "When you throw a pebble in a lake, the still water is disrupted, creating ripples that continue to propagate." The ripple effect is the same idea as Hollis's butterfly effect, "small things can have monstrous effects."


Imagine this, I wake up 20 minutes late, spill my coffee all over myself as I walk out the door, and then my car won't start. How do you think the rest of my day is likely to go? This chaos is one example of what Hollis is discussing. Her answers: find the humor, build a tribe, ask for help, embrace a different perspective. Even when it isn't funny, laugh. Find individuals who are in the same position of life as you are. Maybe you meet a woman at the grocery store, she has two kids, and your guys hit it off. Perhaps there is a woman at church that has the same goals as you do. Build a group of people to talk to about similar issues and come up with resolutions. Ask for help in the small tasks and the overwhelming ones. God made a helper for Adam because he saw that it was not good for him alone. The same goes for you; you were not made to take on everything. Even when it's chaotic and challenging, have a positive perspective. The outlook you have influences every aspect of your life. The sooner you acknowledge that and seek to make a change, the better off you will be.


Rachel Hollis is nothing shy of relatable, speaks truth into every word, and connects with your soul. She captures her reads attention with her wisecracks and real-life examples. After finishing Girl, Wash Your Face during my trip to Florida, I purchased Hollis's book, Didn't See That Coming. I haven't finished it yet, but so far, it is also full of insight. An insight that I cannot wait to share, but until then, embrace the chaos.


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