We’ve all got our go-to avoidance strategy — that thing we do to avoid dealing with big emotions in difficult situations.
It may be humor, anger, or workaholism, but we all do something. And it’s making things worse, according to Dr. Alex Wills, founder of Perma Mental Health and author of Give a F*ck, Actually.
While that’s not groundbreaking news, Wills’ method for facing those difficult moments is.
He gives you permission to feel all the feels and to actually give a f*ck, no matter how big, small, insignificant, or silly the issue might be. Because your feelings are valid and hold a deep truth that will help you grow.
Give a F*ck, Actually is the blueprint for handling the emotional baggage that’s keeping you from living your best life. You’ve been told to suck it up, get over it, or forgive. You may even think you’re doing a good job of dealing with your emotions because you keep stuffing them down and ignoring them.
But emotions can’t be man-handled. To truly get over them, you need to go through them — and this book gives you a brilliantly simple way to do that.
About the Author
Alex Wills, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist who has racked up more than 15,000 hours working with patients.
His method, Radical Emotional Acceptance, flies in the face of mainstream advice. But it works, and it’s definitely worth learning, because it helps you acknowledge, accept, interpret, and act on your emotions instead of lashing out or withdrawing.
You can’t tell a book by its cover, but this book caught me at first sight. I mean, who isn’t intrigued by the title.
And it doesn’t disappoint. Give a F*ck, Actually is a light-hearted, fun dive into a relatively serious topic.
If you’re offended by the title, be aware, “f*ck” is sprinkled liberally throughout the book. After all, “giving a f*ck” is what it’s about. As Wills says in the introduction, “Your f*cks, in aggregate, give you insight into the desires, preferences, and values that form your sense of self.”
I like that the objective of this book is to help you find your true self. He wants you to get in touch with your inner Yoda, stop feeling like a victim, and stop putting up with everyone’s B.S.
I agree with Wills that we lose touch with ourselves as we navigate life, relationships, and disappointments. By not dealing with emotions, we deny our own sense of reality, making it harder and harder to manage them in the future.
But he makes it clear there are no shortcuts. The only way to let go of our emotional baggage is to lean into it. You must honor your feelings and let yourself experience them.
“Since there’s no such thing as controlling your f*ucks, isn’t it better — dare I say, more efficient — to feel the f*ck fully and move on, rather than get stuck in a fuck-denying cycle?”
Luckily, Wills doesn’t just tell you to feel your emotions, he gives you some practical exercises for doing so. My favorite: replay the situation as a movie. (Cue the light bulb over my head!)
This is incredibly freeing, because a movie isn’t worth watching if there’s no conflict. The hero must experience an epic struggle. And watching your life story from the outside-in, you gain some objectivity. You can interpret your actions, gather emotional data, and decide what your next steps should be.
According to Wills, when you do that, you’ll stop battling with reality. You can be grateful for life’s difficult moments because they helped you grow. You’ll also be empowered to stand up for yourself, say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done.
That makes you the hero of your own life. And that’s what it’s all about.
Read This. Period.
As I read this book, I kept visualizing scenes from my own life. It all made sense. Wills’ advice and stories rang true.
Then, after finishing the book, when I was talking with friends, I could feel the emotional undercurrent in our conversation. I held up the book and said simply, “Read this.”
That’s my advice to you too. Whoever you are, whatever you’ve gone through or will go through, this little book can help. Don’t pass go, and don’t collect $200 until you read it. You’ll have a few laughs and learn a few things. And it could change your life.