“How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t” Book Review

Disclaimer: I received “How to Stop Feeling Like Shit: 14 Habits that are holding you back from Happiness” by Andrea Owen from Seal Press in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are 100% my own. 

I think a lot of us can relate to feeling like shit on a regular basis or at least a few times a week for one reason or another. It’s kinda sad when you think about it but I do think it is our reality.  In “How to Stop Feeling Like Shit” author Andrea Owen unravels the 14 habits that are holding you back from happiness. 

The key is to take an inventory of the things that must change in your life in order to see personal growth. Become familiar with what makes you feel like shit and be aware of it. Be willing to look at your own life and take action. Owen discusses negative self-talk, knowing and recognizing your triggers and making a commitment to change it. Recognizing your inner critic, managing it and demonstrating compassion for yourself.  

Author Andrea Owen does not believe affirmations work when used alone. She does not think it is possible to feel like shit about yourself because of something negative that has happened then force yourself to think flowery thoughts and suddenly feel better. I have to admit that for someone like myself who really believes in positive affirmations, It initially disappointed me to hear that however it got me thinking. The more I thought about it the more authentic I felt this particular statement was. Owen goes on to discuss forgiving and making peace with yourself, 

“Your self-forgiveness cannot be reliant on whether the other people accept your apology. They might not. In a perfect world, they will accept your apology with hugs, and you’ll cry together and skip away happily ever after, But that is not the point. It is about expressing and feeling your remorse. Before you say your sorry, make sure you are unattached to the outcome.”

At the end of each chapter, Owen gets us to ask ourselves the “hard questions” with a set of 5 questions to get us thinking about our own lives and situations. Completely up to you if you actually want to write them down however I do think it would be wise to do so. Going back and looking/reflecting on your responses can be really helpful and eye -opening. 

Chapter 2 discusses “the unconscious isolater”- isolating yourself, not even realizing it and how to fix it. How to empathize with others and what not to do when trying to comfort a friend. (Making it about yourself, trying to solve their problem and give them unwanted advice, etc.)  Truly something everyone should know! 

“Most of our loneliness isn’t from not knowing enough people, but from not feeling close enough to a few.” 

She speaks to us about empathy, telling the right person your story (not just anyone), asking for what you need in a relationship and being honest about it. Are you numbing yourself because you do not want to feel? Are your numbing mechanisms still working for you? Owen helps us to discover just exactly what if any numbing mechanisms we use to numb our feelings. She teaches us to walk through all our feelings to become more resilient and happier.

“Our joy and gratitude cannot be dependent on others. We are fully responsible for our own level of joy and no one else.”

 This could not be any truer! As much as many of us do not want to admit. What and who are we waiting for? We set our own levels of joy and are solely responsible for these levels. Setting healthy boundaries and learning to say no to people. This is not about being aggressively confrontational , being argumentative or combative, it is about being open, honest, and truthful and not being attached to the outcome- which is key. Chapters 8-10 go on to discuss learning to deal with criticism, setting realistic expectations, hyper-independence and letting go of control.

Some of my favourite exercises: the square inch box. This involves drawing a square inch box on a piece of paper and writing down the names of people whose feedback is important to you. (Remember..a square inch is NOT a lot of space!) The idea is- If you feel like you need a bigger box, you need to shorten that list.  

“The short list of people are individuals who care about you whether you kick ass or fail. They love you because you are human. They show up for you when you need them and you can lean on them. These people hold your heart close. People who are the happiest are clear on who is in their square inch box. They’re able to release the sting of criticism from people outside the box.”

Another particular exercise I enjoyed was finding your values. Owen has us asking ourselves, What is important to you? What is important about the way you live your life? 

“All of this work doesn’t matter if you aren’t clear on who you are, what your after, and what it looks like on a day to day basis.”

Owen helps us to find our personal values and gives us a list of common values to get our minds thinking. After you have your values all figured out, she helps us to determine if the values we’ve laid out are actually our own or other peoples values (re: perfectionism and worrying about what other people think) This chapter to me was everything. It was truly eye opening and got me thinking about certain things in my own life.  

As a self-confessed self-help book addict, I loved this book! Owen gave us modern no BS advice and it was an easy read. I finished it within a few days and had tons of quotes underlined..this to me means it was a great book! 

For more information on author Andrea Owen check out her website

You may purchase “How to Stop Feeling Like Shit: 14 Habits that are Holding You Back From Happiness” by Andrea Owen at chaptersindigo.ca for the current price of $22.49 CAD. 

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