‘How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t’ Review – Week 1

Last week, I told you that I am going to read and review Andrea Owen’s latest book HTSFLS. But the kickass thing about this review is, Andrea is running a free book club to teach readers how to utilize the information in the book, How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t: 14 Habits that Are Holding You Back from Happiness,

The study group (kind of like a book club) began on January 22, 2018. So on Monday I got up and downloaded the PDF workbook at goes along with the group…

All 46 pages.

Yikes! I thought, “she is really going to make us out in some work, huh?” Well, I guess that’s the difference between going through this book vs. another personal development book I’ve read that didn’t “work.” So I downloaded the workbook and jumped in.

Chapter 1 – Being an Asshole to Yourself. 

Chapter 1 was revolutionary. Seriously, hear me out here. How many books, podcasts, memos. Instagram posts and Pinterest quotes tell you to just say positive things and you’ll be happy? You know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Do those work? Absolutely not. Andrea points out that these do not work because you can’t just tell yourself you’re awesome and trick your mind into believing it. It doesn’t work that way! Instead, you have to meet yourself on some middle ground. For example, if you screw up at work, you might automatically start calling yourself every ugly name in the book. Reverting that negative habit by saying something like “you are better than unicorns and sparkles combined” isn’t going to help because you don’t actually believe it. Instead, you have to meet yourself half way. Say something like “Yes, Carol, you made a mistake. It sucks. But everyone makes mistakes. Literally everyone. Next time, you will be more careful and show your boss you can do this work efficiently.”

See the difference?!? Sorry, Instagram and Pinterest quote, but many of you aren’t actually helping.

Chapter 2 – Go Away and Leave Me Alone: Isolating and Hiding Out Isn’t Protecting You. 

In the free study group, this is the chapter most people seemed to resonate with. At times, most of us hide in our houses with Netflix and snacks when we’re depressed, right? But do you know WHY you do that? I didn’t. What I learned is that I isolate because one time 3 years ago, I tried to confide in a friend, let’s call her Kat, and she told me that I was negative, depressing, and people had it worse than me so I needed to get over myself.

She told me that I was negative, depressing, and people had it worse than me so I needed to get over myself.

Okay, so maybe there was some truth in her statement. Maybe it was difficult for her to listen to my negativity and she wasn’t sure how to help me. But what did I do? I put what Kat said in my back pocket and used it as motivation to never talk to anyone about my problems again. Well, for awhile anyway. What I learned in this chapter is that it’s important for us to have a “compassionate witness.” Essentially someone who you can talk to when you need them and they are there to listen without judging or trying to offer a solution to your problems. Since that experience, I have luckily found my compassionate witness. However, it’s sure as hell, not Kat. Does that make Kat a bad friend? No. But it does not make her my compassionate witness either and she is no longer a person I turn to for certain needs.

Do you have at least one compassionate witness in your life? If not, is there someone who can be your compassionate witness? Maybe if I were to have told Kat what I need from her, she could have become my compassionate witness. So if you are sitting here thinking “I don’t have ANY compassionate witnesses! I am going to be alone forever and never have anyone to talk to!” Try to think of someone you can ask to be your compassionate witness. Tell them what you need. Tell them you just need someone to hold your hand and listen. You might be surprised at who will be capable of that job. Sometimes people do not help us because we never actually tell them for what we need.

Chapter 3 – Checking Out: Are Your Numbing Mechanisms Still Working For You?

Until I read this chapter, I didn’t think I numbed out. I thought I was pretty darn good at feeling my feelings. Until Andrea explained that we numb out in different ways. Some turn to alcohol, sex, drugs, and obvious unhealthy behaviors to avoid their feelings. Me? I mindlessly scroll on social media or spend HOURS scouring websites for the perfect chair for my living room or the perfect bikini for vacation. Does that sound like you? Are you mindlessly scrolling on social media for a reason? Or because it takes your mind of another stressor in your life? Mind blown!

Chapter 4 – Compare and Despair: The Never-Ending Mind F*ck

This chapter I didn’t even want to read because I know it’s my biggest hurdle. I have been focusing on my negative self-talk, now I know when I am numbing out, and I have my compassionate witness. But, I did NOT want to face my issues with the constant comparison. But, I did learn that I do not have to STOP comparing myself to others, I simply have to manage it. For me, this looks like learning to take pride in the stuff I have accomplished and really owning the fact that I accomplished things and didn’t just “get lucky.” For example, I got promoted because I am good at my job and I deserved the promotion. Not because no one else was up for the job. My long-distance relationship is successful because of the work I put into it. Not because I got “lucky” and found a good guy. It’s going to take some time, I am going to use this chapter to own my sh*t and try to stop believing that everyone else’s successes are “better” than mine.

The Study Group

Now that you have a brief overview of each chapter and my take on the information, as promised, I’ll tell you about how the study group helps dive implement these tools. After week 1, I am not entirely impressed with the study group, however, it’s “free” (with the purchase of her book) so I guess I can’t complain too much. The study group works in 2 parts. The first being an online portal that you log into. The second, being a private facebook group. What bums me out about the portal is that Andrea provided the workbook and nicely broke it out into each chapter within the portal. The bummer, the questions int he workbook are the same questions that are in her book… The workbook is an AWESOME tool to write down all of the answers to your questions. But, I don’t see a huge benefit to having the workbook in the portal. She could have just emailed the link to the workbook to everyone who purchased the book. Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t see a benefit to having the workbook in that place because you cannot even type in it. You still have to download and print it.

Moving on.

The facebook group is more helpful. People are able to interact with one another and share experiences. Each week, Andrea does a live video for a Q&A. Week one, someone asked a brilliant question that seemed to help a lot of people. The person’s question basically asked how to implement ALL of the tools when she couldn’t even master one. In the live video, Andrea explained that you can take “turtle steps,” which are even smaller than baby steps. She explained that it’s okay to focus on the chapters you need to and the areas you need to one at a time, rather than taking on the whole load. The way she has written the book, you can jump around from chapter to chapter without missing crucial information. She also tells you in each section stuff like “(see Chapter 9)” for more information and if I click that link on my Kindle, it’ll take me to Chapter 9! So that is an AWESOME feature because I truly go through the book feeling like I can skip around to sections I want to focus on.

So overall, I am loving the book, I am learning a lot about how to change my habits, and Andrea making herself available to answer reader questions on Facebook Live is a very helpful way to answer questions I didn’t even realize I had. I am hoping she switching things up a little from week to week in the facebook group, I’ll let you know what week 2 has in store.

If there is something specific you want to know about the book or her study group, please comment below and I will be sure to answer any questions I can. Also, I would LOVE your feedback on your experience with her book or the study group as well! Comment below or email me: jemejak@gmail.com.

Thanks for following along and I hope to chat with you some more!

Until next week,

XO – J

But First, Me

When I decided to move from NY to SC, I was called selfish by many people. More likely than not, those were the people who were trying to drag me down into the pit of their despair. But, I can see why they may have thought it was a little selfish. I leaned on my family to help with the logistics, I uprooted my boyfriend’s home and life, and put my eight-year-old dog through a new transition. It’s been a difficult few months for everyone.

But first, me.

I moved to Charleston, SC. A city I always loved to take a job at a school I wish I would have been brave enough to attend myself. For my first few months here, I am pretty much alone. I have a couple amazing friends here and my grandparents. But otherwise, I am living by myself for the first time in my life. There are things I miss about home and I miss seeing my three nephews grow up. It’s definitely a difficult transition, but for all the things I miss, there are new experiences to gain.

After moving, I had a falling out with two of the most important people in my life. Since we now lived 850 miles apart, it was difficult to simply kiss and make up. I felt extremely hurt and betrayed. I felt more alone than I ever have in my entire life and I knew it was time to stop worrying about everyone else and do something huge for me.

So this week, I am going on a 4 day beach-side yoga retreat with 10 other ladies! I have always wanted to do something like this and never invested in it because I was worried about the cost. But I know I need this weekend for a few reasons:

  1. Help me enjoy the gorgeous beach and ocean that I longed to live near.
  2. Kickstart my yoga practice that I have veered from.
  3. Meet new women and hopefully make friends with similar values.
  4. Disconnect from work, the stress of life, and all adult responsibilities.
  5. Try something new.
  6. Clear my mind and reconnect with myself.

Committing to this yoga retreat is a very big deal for me and I cannot wait to share all about my experience at the end of the week! Stay tuned!

XO – J