“There’s no ‘should’ or ‘should not’ when it comes to having feelings. They’re part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings.“ -Fred Rogers. From, The World According to Mister Rogers.
So starts F*ck Feelings, by father-daughter team Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist, and Sarah Bennett, a comedy writer.
I rarely recommend books. (Unless I’m at work – I’m a librarian – and am asked for a reading recommendation, in which case I will ask a series of questions about what the person likes to read and why, so I can make a proper recommendation. That’s totally a thing. Check it out.)
However, I find myself recommending this book to friends. I found it helpful. And hilarious.
There’s a reason why self-help books are so popular. We suffer. We want to feel better. We do things we know are bad for us. People hurt us and we can’t let it go. Change seems slow and we wonder what’s wrong with us. We need help.
Only F*ck Feelings is more of an anti-self-help book. For starters, it promises it will most definitely not help you find true happiness. Because true happiness doesn’t exist. At least not in the sense that it is a destination at which one arrives and stays.
At the root of many things that drive us crazy is the belief that there is a solution to our problems and if we could only pinpoint those solutions our problems will go away. We want acknowledgement about our suffering. We want to be heard. We want to be right.
Sometimes things just suck. This does not mean we stop trying to do our best. It just means that we cannot change some things – or people – that drive us crazy.
Once we accept this, we can shift our focus to the real work at hand: trying to be a decent person.
Of course some problems require professional help, of the kind that Dr. Bennett has over 40 years experience in providing to patients in his clinical practice. But if your problems are of the I-keep-eating-all-the-Halloween-candy-even-though-I-always-feel-regret variety, there is hope for you.
Co-worker a slacker? Don’t dwell on it to the point your own work suffers. Parent an addict? Just because your childhood sucked doesn’t mean your kids’ has to. Gossip mill got you feeling like you want to shout your side of the story from a mountain top so that everybody “gets” it? Nobody cares. Put your head down and focus on your goals instead.
About the swearing: it’s kind of gimmicky, I get it. No doubt this will feel dated in a few years, when we collectively get over the shiny new toy of being able to drop the F-bomb during prime time. I appreciate the authors made this choice in order to make the book accessible.
I think anyone can get something from this book. I mean, the authors were inspired by Mister Rogers for @#$* sake.