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Life can be great, but it can also be messy... and hard. Activist Glennon Doyle thinks that's actually a GOOD thing. Wait, what?
"I think sometimes we think if we're doing life right, it's easy," Glennon says, "and so when life gets hard we think we're failing. But what I've noticed is life is often hard for the people who are doing it right," she explains.
With 1.9 million followers on Instagram, and almost one million followers on Facebook, Glennon Doyle's truth telling is heard across the world. The two-time No. 1 New York Times bestseller began sharing her life story over the course of her three memoirs: Carry on Warrior, Love Warrior, and Glennon's latest memoir Untamed, exploded in popularity. Including rave reviews from Reese Witherspoon, Adele, Kristin Bell, and Mandy Moore. Most recently, Glennon released a new book Get Untamed: The Journal and her podcast "We Can Do Hard Things." Glennon began sharing her thoughts as a wife and stay at home mom of three kids in 2009: "When I was 10 years old, I looked out at the scary world and I decided that I was too weak for it. So I dropped out of life, and into bulimia and then alcoholism."
After sharing her truth, Glennon developed a massive following. In each memoir, she has drawn back the curtain on her addictions and relationships, including the end of her first marriage. And the beginning of her second marriage to retired soccer star Abby Womack. The core of Glennon's story has always been the truth, but it wasn't until her late 20's that she got honest with herself:
"It took me till I was maybe 27 to figure out that telling the truth about our lives can help us live with a little more freedom, I guess. And I didn't really learn it until I started going to recovery meetings for my addiction. I found out that I was pregnant when I was 26, and I had been lost to addiction for 15 years at that point. Addiction is kind of, for a lot of us, it can be just kind of a hiding place for really sensitive people. We just think that there's something weak or broken about us, and we feel so much. So we start to numb with whatever it is that we use. When I found out I was pregnant, my sister came and picked me up off the bathroom floor, and took me to my first recovery meeting. And Rachael, I just sat in that circle and listened to people tell the truth about their lives for the first time. I had never heard people really tell the truth, because we're all out there trying to act like everything's so perfect and easy. Right? And I just remember thinking, oh this is where they keep the honest people, in these basements in churches. This is amazing."
On the topic of bravery, anger, and strength (something Rachael feels is very important to discuss right now, based on what's going on in our country), here's what Glennon has to say:
"I think it's an interesting process to go through, right? Because I think especially for women, we are very afraid of our own anger and own heartbreak, and actually any uncomfortable feelings. I mean, I know so many people who try to avoid heartbreak. But actually what you just said, Rachael, the thing that makes me the most heartbroken, which would be children who don't have a place to be safe, is what led me to my greatest purpose. I think heartbreak often leads us to purpose. Every world changer I know is somebody who it started with a broken heart. All of us know what breaks our heart, whether it's animals or war or hunger, you go to that place that breaks your heart and you find your purpose in your people. Anger can do that, I think anger can do that. I think anger can be a sign that, most women think if I'm angry, it means I need to change myself. Because we've been taught that anger is bad, but actually anger can sometimes be a signal that there's something outside in the world that we need to change. What angers us can be a sign of a boundary we need to fix outside of us, or an injustice in the world that we need to be a part of. So it's good, anger is good information, but for me, it's not a good like direction giver. Because anger usually tells me to like burn it all down or say the thing, or just something that gives me immediate gratification, but isn't healing in any way. So I just think that brave is a little bit wiser than anger. It's like anger fires you up, but there's always this voice inside of us. And actually, I don't know if it's a voice, it's just a knowing that kind of knows what is the next right thing."
That's what's so beautiful about Glennon's work. It's about being brave enough to take that next step, and not just have the quick fix, but to go for the long game.
"I actually come from a family of hot heads," says Glennon. "Like my first initial reaction is to get mad. I love quick fixes. I have just learned that they don't work in the long run. I think the power is in the rage and the ego, but there's no power there. It's all lower and deeper. And when we can just take those seconds, then everything we do comes with more healing and power."
Now, Doyle wants to help guide her readers through their own journeys of transparency and healing in her newest book, Get Untamed: The Journal, (which Rachael says would be a great gift, especially for young women):
"The concept of Untamed was just that there's this point that some of us wake up in our lives and we're like, 'Wait, did I want any of this? Like did I make this life for myself? Or did I just start doing what everybody else wanted me to do?' And I ended up in this life. And that's kind of a beautiful thing, because then we start to ask ourselves questions. Not like, 'What does the world want from me,' but, 'What do I really want from my world?' And I think we get to this place where we realize, I forgot how to know what I want when I learned how to please. When I started just doing what everybody else told me would make me happy. And it's like, you get a menu, like the world gives you a menu. And it's like, here's your choices. Here are your possibilities for religion, career, gender, sexuality, whatever it is. And you just pick from the menu, and hope for the best. And I have figured out that every part of my life, in which I feel comfortable in my own skin has been off the menu."
And making your own recipe for life is certainly something Rach agrees with (pun intended!):
"What I want people to do is to do it when they're young, before anything happens to them. And make the choices ahead of time, that will make them their fullest human, their brightest star, their most full self. And I think that you are just such a beacon to that. Let's talk about the podcast. First of all, 'We Can Do Hard Things', the most perfect name ever. I just love that. It's says there is honor and grace in just the work you must do to make yourself feel better. Speak to that."
"'We Can do Hard Things' was a sign that my teacher friend Josie had in her second grade classroom next door to my classroom when I was getting sober," explains Glennon. "So I used to walk with my class with my kids, you know how they follow the teacher like little ducks. I used to just make my kids walk by that classroom every day. So I could see that sign. That was my mantra when I was getting sober, because it just reminded me... I think sometimes we think if we're doing life right it's easy, and so when life gets hard, we think we're failing. But what I have noticed is that life is often hardest for the people who are doing it right. Who are making themselves vulnerable and risking, and relationships, faith, work. All of these things are super hard for people who are really engaged. So it just reminded me that when life gets hard, it's not because I'm doing it wrong. It's often because I'm doing it right. And then the we part was so important to me, it doesn't say I can do hard things, right. It's like, that's what I love about the podcast, because my writing is so lonely Rachael, sometimes. I mean, when I'm writing a book, I'm like going into the deepest recesses of my mind, which is not always... It's like a haunted house in there. It's like not a great place for me. Oh.... But the podcast I'm doing with my sister and my wife. And so we're talking about all the things that we wish people would talk about when they're making small talk in the world."