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Girl, Wash Your Face

by Rachel Hollis
clock28-minute read
headphoneIconAudio available
Girl, Wash Your Face
The self-help guide for women who want to stop lying to themselves, unlock their potential, stop settling and follow their dreams. Stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be. In Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis spells out all the lies that she and other women tell themselves every day. Lies like “I’ll start tomorrow,” or “I’m not good enough.” Rachel explains why these are just lies you tell yourself which prevents you from becoming the person you were meant to be. A mixture of memoir, motivational tips, and common-sense girl talk, Rachel tells you like it is. She provides the harsh truth to motivate you to unlock your potential and ultimately, stop lying to yourself.
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Girl, Wash Your Face
"Girl, Wash Your Face" Summary
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Summary by Lea Schullery. Audiobook narrated by Blake Farha
Do you ever find yourself thinking that everyone else has it all figured out except you? Well, Rachel Hollis is here to tell you that it’s all lies. Everything you see on social media or in the media is just smoke and mirrors and everyone struggles just like you. Nobody has everything figured out and we are all just trying our best. Rachel wants you to know that you do not have to settle, you don’t have to continue thinking that you aren’t good enough, instead, you can accomplish your goals and follow your dreams.
As the founder of the lifestyle website, Rachel has become the CEO of her own company and built an online community of women who she motivates through sharing tips for better living. Now, she wants to add you to her tight community of strong, powerful women and share the lies and misconceptions we tell ourselves that hold us back from living a joyful, productive life. She tells the cold, hard truth and doesn’t sugarcoat it. By telling stories about her life, she explains how you can live the life you were meant to and provides tips at the end of each chapter to help you get there.
Chapter 1: The Lie - Something Else Will Make Me Happy
When scrolling social media, we see pictures of people that live a glamorous life. Celebrities, influencers, maybe even our friends and family. People going on extravagant vacations, attending exclusive parties, and we envy them. Rachel Hollis is here to tell you that no one’s life is that glamorous. Even celebrities deal with the ups and downs of life and struggle in more ways than one. For instance, Rachel begins by telling the story of wetting her pants.
When jumping on the trampoline with her boys, she was quickly reminded of the changes in her body after giving birth to three children. While bladder control used to come easily, after popping out three kids, control was no longer a luxury she used to enjoy. As she cleaned herself up, her Facebook status was updated with images of her testing fancy dresses for the Academy Awards. On the outside, it seemed her life was luxurious as her husband had a job that allowed her to attend fancy events and get glammed up. However, no one knew how she was currently cleaning up her own urine while jumping on a trampoline. Social media she realized isn’t an accurate representation of someone’s life. No one posts the bad stuff, only the good.
Rachel continues to explain that there is nothing glamorous about her life. As a wife, mother, friend, boss, and Christian, she messes up in each area just like every other human being. There is no such thing as perfection, and in a society that measures success through near-impossible standards, we tend to beat ourselves up when we compare ourselves to others. However, Rachel falls into this trap too, believing that she has to have it all together to be happy and successful. She believes the key to success is taking action and responsibility. Don’t be resigned to settling for something that makes you unhappy, instead, make a change! It’s doable and you can do it. The happiest of people know they aren’t perfect, but they take responsibility and act. Rachel is one of those people, and that happiness is what others see when they tell her how flawless her life looks.
But Rachel’s life is far from flawless. In fact, she grew up in a troubled home, raised by dysfunctional parents with a brother who committed suicide in her first year of high school. Thisforced her to grow up faster than she should have and she moved as far away as possible when she turned 18. She found happiness in L.A. but it wasn’t a new location that made her happy, it was many other factors that led to her journey of finding happiness. Break: First, she stopped comparing herself to others. Measuring her success, achievements, and failures to others skewed her idea of what her life should look like. She simply focused on being better than the day before. Break: Second, she made space in her life for only positive people and things. Break: And lastly, she recognized the things that brought her spirit joy. If someone or something disturbs the peace within yourself, the move away. You can move away.
Chapter 2: The Lie - I’ll Start Tomorrow
How many times do you promise yourself that you’ll start tomorrow? You’ll start that diet, you’ll start exercising, you’ll stop smoking, or stop drinking. But how many times do you break those promises? So many of us are guilty of this procrastination, and Rachel Hollis is not immune to this trait either. She considers herself a chronic procrastinator, telling herself that she would start something and eventually never does it. Slipping up like this is only human, but to make a change in your life, you need to look inwards.
Once you make a promise to yourself to start something, then start it. Would you go back on a promise you made to someone else? Probably not. So you shouldn’t go back on the promises you make yourself either. For instance, Rachel once promised herself that she would run a few miles on the treadmill, and after a late dinner with friends, she kept that promise. She posted on Snapchat her treadmill session and her friend was shocked that she ran a few miles so late in the night. Why couldn’t she just run in the morning? Couldn’t she break routine just once? No. Rachel couldn’t go back on the promise that she made herself.
Do you trust people that break promises? No, because people that go back on their word become untrustworthy, and while you may not realize it, your subconscious takes note of the promises that you break within yourself and concludes that you cannot be relied upon. Your subconscious knows when you’re all talk and no action. For example, had Rachel not been resolute in her achieving her goals, she would still be addicted to Diet Coke today. Quitting Diet Coke was the first promise that she made herself, and once she was able to accomplish keeping that promise, keeping every other promise to herself became easier.
Eventually, Rachel promised herself that she would run a marathon and write a novel. While those promises seem near-impossible to some people, it becomes easier to accomplish your big promises once you practice by accomplishing the smaller one. And once you realize that keeping your promises is essential to accomplishing your goals, then you’ll commit to fewer things. You’ll commit to the things that bring you true happiness and give yourself to the things that truly matter to you. Break: Start with the small things. Before committing to a diet, try drinking more water throughout the day. Set a goal of drinking water equivalent to half your body weight every day.Break: Stop saying yes to everything. Just because something seems admirable, doesn’t mean you have to commit to it. Save your ‘yes’ for the things that you know you can do and are important to you. Break: Do a truthful audit of your actions in the past month and see how you’ve succeeded or failed in keeping your promises.
Chapter 3: The Lie - I’m Not Good Enough
In today’s society, it’s hard not to believe that everyone else is doing better than you. You resign yourself to thinking that you aren’t good enough for that dream job, or that you aren’t a good enough mom, wife, sister, or friend. But that’s not true. Instead, it’s important to celebrate your achievements, big or small, and don’t worry about what comes next. Celebrate the small things like getting the laundry done, doing the dishes, but don’t neglect the big ones too like getting a promotion or buying a new house. Celebrating your achievements will remind you that you are good enough, you are better than you were yesterday, and you’ll be even better tomorrow.
For Rachel, achievements were the only way that she measured her success. Achievements like getting As on her report card, or perhaps scoring the lead role in the school play. You see, since Rachel was the youngest of her siblings and her parents had a rocky relationship, she got attention when she achieved something and that made her feel good. So, she developed a pattern that was eventually ingrained into her subconscious that her self-worth was solely based on her accomplishments. She became a workaholic later in life, always on the go, throwing herself into her job to make herself feel good.
Work became her crutch. Once, when she was just 19-years-old and afraid of an impending break-up, she threw herself maniacally into her work until her body shut down. She suffered from facial paralysis and became more self-conscious and depressed than ever, and still, the break-up happened. Even worse, the paralysis came back. This time it was during a romantic getaway and the doctors discovered that her condition was brought about by excessive stress. She felt defeated. She had been giving advice to women for years about how to live their best life, and she broke one of the biggest rules: she didn’t care for herself.
Luckily, our bodies are very good at telling us when they are being overworked, but it’s up to us to recognize the signs and take the necessary actions to listen to our bodies. Doctors told Rachel that she needed to do nothing. Nothing?! How could a workaholic do nothing? So, she forced herself to take rest periods where she would simply sit and do nothing. It wasn’t easy. But she realized that this leisurely time was good for her and her body. So, she immersed herself into therapy and began to study scripture where she realized that her achievements weren’t near as important as being a child of God. She learned to accept herself and that even without all the big achievements, she would still be good enough. Break: Invest in some therapy. This helped Rachel uncover the root of her addiction to work. Without that knowledge, any other solution would have been misinformed and misdirected.Break: Go out of your way to seek happiness. Spare some energy for doing things that delight and relax you. You’d be surprised what taking time off can do for your work-life. Break: You come first. You cannot give yourself if you are not healthy and happy, so put yourself first to become better for those around you.
Chapter 4: The Lie - I’m Better Than You
How often do you find yourself judging other women? Whether it’s conscious or not, you see that mother who keeps enabling her ill-mannered child at the store. Or you see a woman who is dressed too provocatively, or even too modestly. Do you feel better when you judge these other women or pick at their faults? Sadly, no. Most of the time, the flaws that we point out are others are merely reflections of the ones that other people point out in us. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to stop. Our words carry more weight than we realize, even when said in the absence of these other women. And the earlier we recognize the significance of our words and impact they have on our lives, the earlier we’ll see the need to change our ways.
Remember high school? For many girls, it was a time of immaturity and mean girls and Rachel’s experience was no different. She remembers the one time she criticized another girl at school and it still haunts her to this day. It haunts her because she was attacking a girl who shaved her toes and Rachel was doing the same grooming habits, and while the situation is seemingly trivial she realizes she was acting out of a place of insecurity. It's something all women do.
In fact, condemning others almost comes instinctively among women. For instance, Rachel tells the story of the time she was recently on an airplane with an incredibly boisterous child who just wouldn’t behave. She found herself judging the mother for not controlling her child and making the flight more comfortable for those around her. When she finally came to her senses, she realized she could come up with a million reasons as to why that child wasn’t behaving properly. She wasn’t in that mother’s shoes. Perhaps they had been traveling for over 24 hours, or maybe they had just experienced a death in the family, or what if the child suffers from a disability. Rachel didn’t know the circumstances and found it unfair that she was criticizing this mother on the sole basis that her child wasn’t behaving the way her children would behave.
Judging others keeps us from building one another up when we need each other most. Perhaps that woman on the plane needed a simple reminder that she was good enough, or that she was a good mother despite her child misbehaving. We need to stop judging and tearing each other down, and the first step is to stop kidding yourself. Everyone judges whether you say it or not, a roll of the eye or a tilt of the head and can say far more than words. At the end of the day, you are just as guilty as Rachel.
The next step is to acknowledge that your way is not the only way. Many roads lead to the same destination, and your road may not be the same as another’s. Stop thinking that you know all there is know about anything or that anyone who thinks differently than you is “wrong.” No topic illustrates this better than religion. For many people, any religion that is different fromyours is wrong. However, Rachel believes in the fundamental principle to love your neighbor no matter the differences.
In all her years of catering to women’s needs through her lifestyle website, Rachel has discovered that women need just a few things to be happy: community, kinship, and interaction. But to achieve this, we need to stop criticizing one another. Instead of pointing out our apparent differences, we need to start finding common ground and focusing on that. For instance, that woman on the plane? Rachel is a mother, she understands that sometimes kids just don’t listen. She found that common ground and stopped criticizing. Focus on the individual. Move past fashion, religion, and judgments. Break: Surround yourself with the right crowd. Surround yourself with people who focus on building you up rather than tearing you down Break: Watch yourself. Stay conscious of your reactions towards other people and check yourself when you begin to stray into negative thoughts. Find something good, and focus on that. Break: Get to the root of the matter. Find out the real reason you feel the need to tear others down. Usually, your own insecurities are lurking behind those cruel words.
Chapter 5: The Lie - Loving Him is Enough For Me
Falling in love is exciting. At a young age, it can seem as if nothing else in the world matters. And for Rachel, she experienced love at the young age of 19. She fell fast and hard, but with the wrong man. She was so naive and inexperienced, she didn’t know the warning signs and what to expect in a relationship. Becoming so infatuated with him, she didn’t even notice when she spent their entire first date talking about himself.
Her young age was an issue, but she didn’t care, she already saw herself marrying this man and she refused to believe anything would stop her from doing so. Unfortunately, the relationship was one-sided and Rachel experienced an unrequited love that many women can relate to. She continued to make excuses for his actions, and for an entire year, she found herself catering to his every need. Putting him first, she forgot to focus on herself and her happiness. She wishes she could go back and tell that insecure girl exactly what she deserves, but she learned from her relationship and wants to tell you that you can learn too. Be truthful with yourself. Know your worth. Don’t hesitate to walk away from an unhealthy relationship. You are not alone.
Many women find themselves in unhealthy, unhappy relationships every day. And if you are one of those women, then it’s up to you. Will you continue accepting less because you love someone or will you stand up and fight for your self-respect? Break: Get a listening ear. It’s easy to become blind in love or look at your relationship in rose-colored glasses. Find a friend that isn’t afraid to tell you the truth and tell you how your relationship looks from an outsider looking in. Break: Be informed. Inform yourself about the signs of unhealthy or abusive relationships.Break: Take the outsider’s point of view. Imagine narrating every detail of your relationship to an outsider. If you imagine their thoughts won’t be “what a healthy relationship” then you should re-evaluate and take a deep look at your relationship.
Chapter 6: The Lie - No is the Final Answer
Throughout your life, you will inevitably experience rejection. You’ll undoubtedly have people tell you that your dreams are too big, or that you’re too naive. But it’s important to keep a positive mindset in the face of rejection. Those that hear “no” and decide to give up on their dreams, those people will never find success. Instead, you must change your perspective. Stop putting yourself down and instead take that rejection as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and become better. We see life and the things that happen to us through our own filters, our own biases, and our own lens. So decide to always find the good in the bad.
So, figure out your dreams and write them down. Write down the ones that you’ve never told anybody about because of fear, panic, or failure. Admit your fears, if you hold back on your fear you will never be able to overcome them and they will continue to hold you back. People give up on their dreams for many reasons, maybe an influential person in their life told them it would never work out for them, or they just let the rejection get to them.
There will be bad days. You will have your low points. Cry if you need to, then wipe your tears, freshen up, and prepare for your next move. Remember that achieving your dreams is a matter of life and death because you can choose to either actually live out your dreams or choose to not exist and die before you are dead. But it’s also important to measure your success on your growth. Be better than yesterday and do better tomorrow. Break: Ignore the expert opinion. Don’t be rude, but stick to your dreams Break: Sometimes when you encounter a hurdle, change your course, but still, be on your way to the desired destination. Break: Be specific about your goals, write them down, and hang them where you can see them every day.
Chapter 7: The Lies - I Don’t Know How to Be a Mom and I’m Not a Good Mom
Life becomes hectic especially when you bring a new child into the world. With all of the media surrounding parenthood, it’s easy to think that you’re not doing it right, that you’re a failure. No one tells you about the realities of bringing a new baby home, the resentment you feel, the disconnection. It can quickly become a dark place for any new mom. You may even become so worried about making a mistake that you forget to enjoy the small things like witnessing your baby smile or laugh.
Don’t try to live up to the expectations you see in the media or advertisements, just put your heart and effort into feeding your baby, cuddling your baby, making sure you change the wet diapers and keeping the baby warm. That’s it. It’s not rocket science, but you can’t neglect yourself either. Motherhood is hard, and you’ll inevitably make mistakes, but do your best and let everything else fall into place.
Eventually, your newborn will grow up and life will become even more chaotic as you try to balance raising kids with everyday life stresses like working and becoming involved in your children’s lives. But it’s important to remember that you can’t please everyone, you’ll only end up overworking and overextending yourself. And don’t try to be perfect, perfection is boring anyway. You’ll inevitably question your parenting and become flooded with thoughts of not being good enough, but there is no right way to parent. What you do is best for you, don’t get caught up in trying to do what everyone else is doing if it won’t work for you. It’s okay to have different parenting styles. Being a parent is a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly, but the end goal is to care about your kids and yourself.
Take a break. Once in a while, do something besides being a mom. Go to the spa, go on a date, go swimming, see a movie. Taking time for yourself will improve your disposition and your children will notice when you come home. You can be a better mom when you are happy and cheerful.
Follow your dreams. Having kids doesn’t mean you have to give up on accomplishing your goals and following your dreams. Don’t struggle with your decisions as a mom because it doesn’t look like what everyone else is doing. Do your best, please your kids, make your kids happy, and do the small things they want, like doing their hair or singing them a special song before bedtime. Figure out the moments that make you think “I’m a proud mom,” and “I love my kids,” and do those things often. The beauty of parenthood is that there are no hard and fast rules for being a mom, simply do what works for you and don’t worry about anyone else. Break: Look at the beautiful and amazing things about your kids and be proud of yourself as a mom. If the bad things outweigh the good, seek help. Break: Get to know those other moms you’re pitting yourself against. They struggle and make mistakes too, and you will see that not everything is always as it seems. Break: Don’t spend all the time working or being on your laptop or phone. Give your children piggyback rides, build Lego castles with them, make baby faces at them.
Chapter 8: The Lie - I Should Be Further Along By Now
Why is it that growing older scares us? Every year we grow another year older, some of us believe another year has come and gone and we still haven’t accomplished what we set out to. We create bucket lists and milestones, and we become defeated when we don’t do everything on them and life seems too short to get everything done. But, that’s a lie. It is never too late to do anything as long as you are still breathing. Instead, begin thinking about the presence of the little things you have and stop focusing on the absence of the things you haven’t done.
Rather than feel sad because you haven’t achieved enough, put your time and effort into what you have right now and watch it bloom, grow and flourish. Trust the process and cherish it. Trust that everything will fall into place and remember that you are only one person, you can’t do everything. Most times, the greatest and most amazing things that happen to us will never be on our bucket lists, they are the things that came along because you did your best and trustedthe process. So, calm down. Be happy with the things you have achieved and don’t dwell on the things you haven’t. You are exactly where you are meant to be, and you will end up exactly where you are supposed to go. Break: Appreciate yourself and come up with a list of the things you have achieved, even the littlest things. It helps your psyche and shows you that you can achieve even more. Break: Make sure you talk to someone; a burden shared is halved. Break: Set goals but do not attach unrealistic deadlines to them.
Chapter 9: The Lie - I Am Defined by My Weight
In a social-media obsessed society, it’s easy to become concerned about your looks and your weight. Most women struggle with something they don’t like about themselves, but you can’t let your weight define you. Your weight doesn’t characterize you as a person. However, you only have one body so you need to treat it right. Should you love yourself for who you are? Yes. Are you an amazing person as you are? Yes. But your body is a gift and you need to treat it as such.
If you really want to love and appreciate your body, you simply have to start taking care of it. Staying healthy isn’t hard. You need to find a workout routine and a diet that works for you and resist the urge to stress eat. At the end of the day, you don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be fat or thin, you just need to treat your body right and be healthy.
Discard the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Here are some tips to help you shift your mindset. Break: Filter your social media. Start scrolling and identifying posts and pages that either make you feel confident or self-conscious. Those that make you feel self-conscious, unfollow them, hide those posts. Focus only on building yourself up and avoid following Instagram models that promote impossible beauty standards. Break: Prepare. Whether it’s preparing healthy snacks to keep in the fridge throughout the week or setting out your exercise clothes at night before an early morning workout, prepare, prepare, prepare.
Chapter 10: T he Lie - There is Only One Right Way to Be
Everyone comes from different backgrounds, right? Life would be a boring place if we were all the same. Rachel herself grew up in a white, conservative, and religious small town in Southern California so she was mainly sheltered from people that were different from her. It wasn’t until she took a trip to Disneyland that she realized how sheltered she truly was, she experienced seeing men holding hands, people with tattoos, and people that were vastly different from her. She loved it.
She has since realized the importance of embracing the differences in each culture, color, and religion. If you don’t acknowledge people’s differences then you will miss out on all thewonderful things each person has to offer. Life would be too boring or ordinary if you only surrounded yourself with people that are just like you. By embracing friends of color, Rachel has opened herself up to new experiences and new perspectives of the world. She realizes how people of color struggle in different ways than she does, often having to look at herself deeply and remove any biases and stereotypes that she once harbored. Had Rachel never stepped outside of the bubble in which she grew up, she would’ve missed out on important experiences and never learned to embrace the differences everyone has to offer. Break: Look at who you surround yourself with. Could you benefit from adding diversity to your life? Open yourself up to change. Switch churches, change your community and embrace people who are different from you. Break: You do not have to change your value system, the point is to avoid living life surrounded by people who look and think like you. Embrace change.
Chapter 11: Final Summary
Rachel Hollis reminds readers that you only have one life, so live it the best way you can. We have all fallen into the trap of thinking that life is good enough, you settle for that job because it’s comfortable, and you put your dreams on hold. Stop settling. Stop believing that you don’t deserve more. Stop thinking of the ‘what ifs’ and believing that you could be happier if you had a different house, car, or job. Take back control of your life and set out to follow your dreams. You have the power to change your way of thinking and change your life, but it’s only up to you.

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