Why Yale students should read Girl, Wash Your Face

You’ve probably seen the face of this book everywhere. It sat on the “Bestsellers” table at every bookstore or Target or Walmart for months. Bloggers posted about it. It was popular on Instagram and Pinterest pages. As for myself, I had seen it everywhere, but was convinced I never needed to read any sort of self-improvement book. You see, I consider myself to be a happy person-- I try not to stress so much, I don’t take life too seriously, I don’t care so much about what others might think of me. I used to, that’s for sure, but somewhere along the line I stopped thinking so much about everyone else. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Little did I know how much more improvement I could go through.

However, even coming from someone who considers herself “happy,” there are always insecurities. Nobody likes insecurities. They’re the pesky thoughts that slip into your head on a bad day, or during a late night when you’re trying to go to bed, or when some boy hasn’t texted you back. It’s inevitable, especially here at Yale, where competition and comparison runs rampant through campus. We all see ourselves as needing to be improved-- looks, grades, personality, you name it. But most of the time, we think this way because of comparisons to others, when we should be comparing ourselves only to who we were the day before. 

This happens to be one of the main takeaways from Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face. In this self-improvement book, Hollis details various stories or events that she has endured, most of which are very humorous, to ultimately explain why we need to stop believing certain lies about ourselves. Consider  some of these lies: “I’m not good enough,” “something else will make me happy,” “loving him is enough for me,” “I will never get past this.” Now, tell me you haven’t told yourself these things at least once before. Guilty as charged. But, girl (or guy), let me tell you, just as Rachel will tell you, that these things are All. A. Lie. Hard to believe, I know, but this is why it is crucial that, especially as a Yale student, you pick up Rachel’s book and give it a go . 

If you, like me, are suddenly sucked into the book, desiring a mindset that might make you feel even more fulfilled with life, you’ll begin to unravel the lies you’ve told yourselves all these years. Rachel tells embarrassing, sad, and enlightening anecdotes about herself and relates each of them to a lesson about improving how we look at other people, bad news, relationships, and more. 

I know so many people who rarely thought negatively about themselves throughout high school-- a lot of us were the big fish in a little pond. Even now, we can consider ourselves in the top percentiles of the world in regards to our future potentials. But, unlike in high school, every single one of us here has this privilege, which might cause many of us to completely alter our mindsets and views about ourselves. 

I believe that Yale fosters the need for competition. Yale forces us to feel stressed just because people around us are stressed. Yale causes us to worry about the tiniest things because we think it necessary that we have a future planned out right now. Yale doesn’t always allow us to enjoy a class and just learn because we’ve learned this notion that an A is the only good enough grade. Yale is a pool of comparison, a pool that we will drown in if we can’t pull ourselves out of it. Because, at the end of the day, don’t you want to enjoy these four years? Isn’t that what our families and friends all told us to do? It’s incredibly difficult to get out of this rut, and simply preaching an escape doesn’t mean that I’ve achieved it myself. But, as I was taught by Rachel, it’s the simple steps, that will help us climb out of this despondent mindset and start believing that the opinions and actions of others shouldn’t control us.

Sometimes all we need is someone else to tell us that we are the only people who can achieve our own dreams. That we need to look at all of our past accomplishments and  realize that we have achieved so much. That we are, in fact, good enough for anyone and anything. That we all have insecurities and we need to not be afraid of facing them. That small misfortunes are not the end of the world. Yale’s environment brings the lies that banish these positive statements. So many of us have become our own worst enemies here. 

Allow Rachel to tell you otherwise. Allow yourself to be proud of what you’ve done, what you’ll do, and who you are.