How Rachel Hollis' Didn't See That Coming Helped Me Heal
"Neither one of us is doing it the right or wrong way, because when it comes to grief there is only your way. You have to figure out what will work best for you even if it doesn't make sense to others." // Rachel Hollis, Didn't See That Coming.
A mother of four, blogger and motivational speaker, Rachel Hollis has authored three self-help books — Girl, Wash Your Face, Girl, Stop Apologizing and Didn't See That Coming. While I read the first one as an ebook in 2019, I was lucky enough to get my hands on her third book which was released last year in September. I have very few self-help books on my shelf but the ones by Rachel Hollis really push my buttons. The book is divided into three parts: what to do today, what to do tomorrow and what to do forever. Rachel delivers yet again with her simple, funny and relatable writing. While most self-help books have always given off a mechanical vibe to me, Rachel Hollis hits different. She has paired her life-lessons with real-life experiences in their most raw and unfiltered form. This not only gives the reader a sense of belongingness, but also a get-your-shit-together slap on the face. At the end of each chapter, she has also compiled a list of activities one can include in their daily life as their way to healing. Personally, I loved her idea about creating a gratitude list and writing five things which you're grateful for everyday; like your cup of coffee, a new song you discovered or a compliment you got. Like she puts it:
"What's good will always be good, and one of the most awful, beautiful things about the hard seasons is that unless we experience hardship, we'll never truly appreciate and remember the good that was always good."
But you know, a funny thing happened when I started reading the book. Just after reading the first few pages I put it off to read it some other time. At that moment, my life was just how I wanted it to be. But since it's a book about dealing with grief, I just couldn't read it at a time when my life was a postcard. Funny how I waited for grief to strike me so I could pick up this book, and when it eventually did I 'didn't see that coming' (pun intended). So what I learnt from the book was how everyone deals with grief differently and how it's very important to let it make you feel every potential thing about its cause. You have to let grief do its thing and let it out of your system with a 'you done now?' instead of suppressing it inside and expecting it'll leave on its own. You need to take control of your grief and the first step to do so is losing control over it. Human beings are such complex creatures that I doubt if even God knows how many things we are capable of feeling. There are so many things trying to take us down that everyday you face a new existential crisis. It's only fair to feel sad, and that too in a million different ways. What this book helped me acknowledge was the way I felt my grief. If you're a non-fiction buff, you may have felt this way before. But this was the book which called out to me with a warm and tight hug in a way, no non-fiction book has before. As an exhibit, I would like to share this cute, little talk Rachel has with her husband when they're returning from a funeral.
"I mean that someday at my funeral or your funeral, someone is going to make us a video like that, right?"
"I'm sure they will."
"And in it, they'll choose the best pictures, the ones that represent who we are and the kind of life we lived, right?"
"Well, I want to live the kind of life that's worthy of the memorial video. I want to make sure I don't forget that there are people who don't get to take pictures anymore. I better not waste the opportunity."
Rachel Hollis' Didn't See That Coming is for anyone who has ever experienced a traumatic event be it a break-up, the death of a loved one or a quarrel with a friend. No grief is small or big. Life makes us go through trials keeping our capabilities in mind. What you are feeling is absolutely valid and you deserve to grow out of it and come through stronger. But first, you need to process your feelings patiently and choose the lessons you need to hold on to and the mistakes you need to leave behind.