Seeing the title, my mind wandered to Eminem:
“You said you was king, You lied through your teeth, for that fuck your feelings…” –Not Afraid
So I picked it up and read it.
F*ck Feelings is an anti-self-help self-help book. It provides a framework for understanding how we are in control of very little in life. But that we feel we should be in control of things is the recipe for shame, doubt, despair, hopelessness, poor relationships, and a host of other dysfunctions.
Accepting that much of what we experience in life is “OOC” (as we call it in our house) – Out Of Control, puts us in a better position to deal with it and move forward trying our best with what we have to be a decent person.
If this is your first journey into self-help books, this is witty, quick-moving read. Written by Michael Bennett, M.D. & Sarah Bennett, it’s obvious the authors have significant experience and insight to be able to comment directly on dysfunction and self-help.
First, the worthwhileness could be quantified alone by the humor. It’s a funny book (but I guess that depends on your taste in humor); it may be too vulgar or in-your-face for certain tastes, but whatever. I had many LOL moments…usually thinking, “where the hell did that come from?!” (Maybe out of context these aren’t knee-slappers, but it’s a witty read). Just to give you some flavor…and yes, all of these apply to our diet/fitness goals:
- Each chapter is titled, “F*ck X.” For example, F*ck Self Esteem. F*ck Helpfulness. And who doesn’t immediately peek at the chapter, F*ck Assholes.
- “If people could control the way they feel…nobody would cheat on their spouses, enjoy scary movies, or eat their weight in frosting, but that’s neither here nor there.”
- “Your friends, kids, and pets have made it clear that the subject of your past/problem/bullshit is closed.”
- “You often use the phrase ‘I’m just being honest’ then say something that just makes you sound like an asshole.”
- “Trying to nurture a tortured, misunderstood, drunk Shrek who loves you into a confident prince is appealing as a fairy tale, but dangerous as an actual game plan.”
- “Distractibility is not so hot, however, when you’re staring at a monitor, or really anywhere but in sales, the jungle, politics, the jungle, etc.”
- “If you can tolerate the humiliation and helplessness and admit that you’re an out-of-control fuckup…”
- “If you had a problem with, say, constant barfing…”
- “…wherein the one wonky egg or gas-huffing sperm won the day…”
- “The ability to just ignore people who should definitely shut the fuck up.”
Then, there are topics that prompt serious thinking, like the Chapter F*ck Assholes. Considering how difficult other people can be, how their dysfunction can draw us in and wrap its claws around our neck, it’s worth a read. Especially when our day-to-day efforts to live fit, vibrant, healthy lives can be consistently undermined by Assholes. We all know the people who eat non-stop and bring food to work like it’s a buffet every day and then act like it’s our problem. Or continually make insecure comments about body image. Or use guilt and shame to manipulate others either into exercising or not exercising. And on, and on, and on.
Bennett & Bennett use Assholes as a “technical term” for “someone who behaves like a jerk and doesn’t see it.” And share that “There’s every good reason to give them wide berth, for they are as the lord made them, just like rattlesnakes, tsunamis, and acne.” And “If you’re asking yourself whether you’re an Asshole, don’t; Assholes don’t ask themselves, whether they’re Assholes. They know the problem is other people.”
The Zen effort is to “learn that all attempts to change Assholes are futile” to minimize damage and be able to function with these people in our lives.
Further, each section has hands-on guided thinking prompts: “How do you know if X is true of you” and a Quick Diagnostic (“What I wish but can’t have”, “What I can aim for and actually achieve”, “Here’s how to do it”). I found this to be easy-to-wrap-your-brain-around practical guidance.
Though, the ideas appear to be a re-statement of general “Cognitive Therapy” – changing the way we think about issues. And the matter-of-fact style has been done before by Albert Ellis and, yes, even Dr. Phil, so it’s not necessarily new or unconventional in the “self-help” realm. But the delivery is engaging enough to get through some of the repetitiveness. And you have to go in with the right perspective…the title is F*ck Feelings…you know what you are getting!
No doubt, reading the chapter most relevant to you and following the exercises, F*ck Feelings will give you new insights and skills.
Overall, F*ck Feelings gets Dragonslayer rating for enhancing self-growth, intimate relationships, and my absolute favorite phrase, “wrangling Assholes.”