January Book Club: With Jen Sincero

Ho-lee shit, y’all. This book was INCREDIBLE! I can honestly say that this will be a book that I hope to continue to read and re-read throughout the rest of my life. This is a book that I will give as gifts. I will pickup copies of it at used bookstores and leave them in public for people to find and take home and love as much as I do. Yeah… I’m THAT kid.

Hey Fam! Welcome back. If you’re new here: Hi. My name is Chris Miles and in addition to being a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blogger I am a HUGE bibliophile. Several of you have expressed interest in dedicating a corner of this blog to an online book club and I couldn’t be happier to indulge y’all (okay, and myself) in this. That being said, if you’ve been following along, you know that we announced in the December Book Club Review post that we were going to attempt two books for the month of January because we finished December’s so quickly.

Well… that didn’t work. And y’all I have to say I’m not terribly heartbroken over having to do just one book this month because the book that we started with really deserved the extra time and attention. We chose You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by authorial mind ninja Jen Sincero.  Now,  I’m sort of obsessed with this book if you couldn’t already tell. I would say to all the new folks out there reading this that I’m not always like this but that would be a lie, and a pretty pointless one at that. Because this book is definitely something to be excited about.

Sincero’s authorial voice is immediately poignant and hilarious in a no-nonsense kind of way. Her knowledge of the human tendency to avoid, manipulate, magnify, and procrastinate to the brink of insanity is as impressive as it is appalling. She addresses all of these with heroic and witty candor as she carefully outlines the various ways in which we self-sabotage instead of self-love. And it’s like they say: the truth hurts. But it can also set you free. Is it a self help book? Yes. Does that make it a bad book? Not even a little. Is there a stigma about self help books that makes us cringe and turn up our noses and want to hide the fact that we’re reading them? I don’t want to say yes, but… yes. I’ve felt it, anyway. Have you?

The fact is, we all need help. Some people find that help through physical activity like sports or exercise or outdoor work. Others find it through companionship in group activities or gatherings like church or social clubs. We may not think these things are helping on the level that self help books strive to, but really they probably are. Sincero focuses on the mental and emotional roadblocks that we enforce or reinforce within ourselves that are holding us back from reaching or fulfilling our potential, whatever that potential may be.

She talks about a lot hard truths that are pretty uncomfortable. For me specifically, I found myself flummoxed by Chapter 21: Millions of Mirrors. Why? Because I’m uptight. I know this about myself but most days I can justify or rationalize some of my less savory behaviors in the name of productivity or introversion. Well… my good friend Jen laid me on my metaphorical ass by reminding me of the power of resonation and how sometimes the little things that get to us have more to do with an internal struggle than an external force. For instance, my neighbor parks like an asshole. Sorry, not sorry. He does. His giant dually is somehow incapable of fitting between two well-spaced lines painted onto concrete. Sure, I may dream of all of the ways in which karma might somehow take my side in this cosmic battle against double-parking jerks and deal this person a swift and merciless blow (maybe in the form of a bird regularly shitting on his windshield— I mean, I’m not a total monster). But according to Sincero, what I dislike in my neighbor’s behavior is somehow a reflection of something I resonate with and may dislike about myself. Specifically, I feel that my neighbor is rude. I know that I can be rude sometimes and this is an insecurity I have and very much dislike about myself.

The truth is, sometimes people just park like crap because they’re in a hurry. Sometimes they don’t realize they parked like crap. Hell, sometimes they just don’t care. But this doesn’t have to ruin our day. It doesn’t have to ruin my relationship with my neighbor. In fact, maybe if I had reached out to them sooner in a nice way and made some sort of conversation they would be more inclined to park in a manner befitting a civilized human being. What? I’m not perfect. But Jen is reminding me that I’m not perfect (which I like to think I’m pretty well aware of) and that I’m not required to be. And neither is anyone else.

So while I may be silently wishing the stranger next to me in line would stop oversharing about themselves in an awkward conversation I have given every indication I would rather not be having, I need to breathe and ask myself why it bothers me. Maybe they’re socially awkward and each desperate attempt to latch onto someone makes me cringe because I’ve been there. Sometimes I still feel like I’m there. But I need to remind myself that I’m not and that I don’t have to be. And maybe, just maybe, this person is trying to work it through for themselves. Resenting them for it is useless and petty and a total waste of everyone’s time.

This is what Jen Sincero does. She asks you what you want, why you want it, and what you’re willing to do to get there. Then she challenges you to call yourself on your own bullshit and do the damn thing. Make lists. Break down your reasoning. Ask yourself why you just can’t bear to part with the hideously bad habits you’ve picked up over the years. It is so freeing and exhilarating to feel inspired and to feel motivated. Sometimes we need someone to tell us to love ourselves and that it’s okay to be selfish. It’s normal to wish your neighbor wouldn’t park like a complete tool. But if you’re doing what you need to be doing to propel yourself forward, you won’t even notice that jerk because you’ll be operating on a higher frequency.

In science class they taught us that like attracts like (they also taught us that opposites attract but we’re not focusing on that right now). In order to get the most out of life you have to put yourself out there and strive toward the things that will get you to where you want to be. Let go of the negative influences whether they’re toxic thoughts, habits, or people. Open yourself up to better things and you’ll be amazed at what can come your way. A lot of our hang-ups are mind over matter. If you can find peace of mind then it changes the way you view the world and the things that come your way. You also become more courageous about the things you’re willing to ask for and go after.

Think about it, fam. And tell me below what your favorite or most challenging part of the book was. I’d love to hear (I mean read) your thoughts. Also, moving into February I think we should stick to one book again instead of trying two. It’s a short month with a lot going on. So I’d like to give John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down a proper chance this month and have it be our solo book. John Green is one of my favorite authors having written The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns.  I can’t wait to read this with y’all. Wishing you all good things, Miles Tribe. Always. XO

 

-C

 

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