F*ck Feelings by Michael and Sarah Bennett: A Quick Summary

A brief, practical summary of F*ck Feelings by Michael and Sarah Bennett.

The Big Idea

Feeling good should never be the motivating factor in our decision making or goals because how we feel is not under our direct control.

The Tiny Summary

Whether we know it or not, most of us orient our thinking, behavior, decision making, and really our whole lives around trying to feel a certain way—happy, content, amused, calm, etc.

But because we don’t actually have direct control over how we feel, this is a set up for staying stuck in our lives and, ironically, miserable in how we feel.

The solution is to get in the habit of re-orienting our decision making process and goals around the clarification of our values and identification of reasonable steps we can take to move toward those values, regardless of how we feel.

Core Ideas and Techniques

  • Why “getting to the root” of your problem is often unhelpful and even counter-productive
  • Why the best way to feel better is to stop focusing on feeling good and work on being a better person.
  • How to accept negative feelings rather than trying to fight them.
  • Good vs bad sources of self-esteem
  • Reconsidering Fairness and the Just World Hypothesis
  • The wrong way to be helpful
  • How to stop trying to change other people
  • The crucial difference between Loving and Rescuing
  • Why venting your anger is counter-productive
  • A rational way to deal with negative people
  • The right way to seek out mental health treatment
  • How to get someone you care about to try therapy

Selected Quotes

  • Accept that there are some losses that never stop hurting, so you can stop delving into them, get used to living with a heavy heart, and try to build a better life.
  • Knowing when you can’t make people happy, even when you want to with your whole heart, is essential to changing your goal to one that’s constructive and achievable instead of dangerous and exhausting.
  • Eventually, striving to improve yourself brings diminishing returns and prevents you from accepting yourself and living with what you’ve got.
  • You should never hold yourself accountable for results you don’t control, but always for the strength of trying.
  • Whatever good or focused thoughts, wishes, or prayers you put out there, shit happens and it won’t be fair.
  • You can like what you do with your choices, even if you don’t love yourself.
  • Living with a broken heart is hard, but it can never doom you to being a broken person.
  • Don’t get distracted by Assholes and their bad behavior in your home or workplace. Look instead at how they’re dealt with by the powers that be and decide what you need to do to protect yourself and find a better place to live and work.
  • Feeling bad is sometimes good for you.
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