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F*ck Feelings

One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems

By Michael Bennett MD, Sarah Bennett
15-minute read
Audio available
F*ck Feelings by Michael Bennett MD, Sarah Bennett

F*ck Feelings (2015) attempts to pop the positive-thinking and self-improvement bubble and offer realistic guidance that you can actually work with instead. Sometimes we have to accept that we have unsolvable problems, that life is hard, and that we don’t possess a particular talent. In F*ck Feelings, Michael and Sarah Bennett advise us to work on what we can change and value what we do have.

  • People who’ve tried self-help and found it lacking
  • Anyone who needs to receive some tough love
  • Therapists looking for inspiration

Dr. Michael Bennett is a board-certified psychiatrist who studied at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He’s a Red Sox fan and the father of Sarah Bennett. Sarah Bennett is a comedy writer who spent two years writing for a monthly sketch comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City. She has written for television, and is also a Red Sox fan. As well as the best-selling F*ck Feelings, the father-and-daughter team has also written F*ck Love.

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F*ck Feelings

One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems

By Michael Bennett MD, Sarah Bennett
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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F*ck Feelings by Michael Bennett MD, Sarah Bennett
Synopsis

F*ck Feelings (2015) attempts to pop the positive-thinking and self-improvement bubble and offer realistic guidance that you can actually work with instead. Sometimes we have to accept that we have unsolvable problems, that life is hard, and that we don’t possess a particular talent. In F*ck Feelings, Michael and Sarah Bennett advise us to work on what we can change and value what we do have.

Key idea 1 of 9

Self-improvement can only take us so far.

Sadly, unless you’re willing to wear stilts, you won’t get any taller once you’ve stopped growing. And it doesn’t matter how hard you train or how many books you read – there are limits to your physical strength and intellectual ability. At some point, we all come up against a wall within ourselves. 

The truth is that we all have limits. The sooner we realize this, the more prepared we’ll be to deal with life’s problems.

Some of our problems are genetic, and no matter how hard we try, we’ll only be able to improve so much. Indeed, the more we study dysfunctional behavior, the more we realize that we all have weird, unique brains. 

For instance, take those people who are terminal procrastinators, who’ll always leave urgent tasks until the last minute and let bills and papers pile up on their desks. No amount of self-correction seems to work for long – the old habit returns like a curse. Why is this? Well, modern neuroscience appears to tell us that many behavioral problems that we previously thought were caused by upbringing or environment are just hardwired into us. This means that self-improvement can be difficult or even impossible for some of us.

And, well, sometimes life just deals us a bad hand, and no amount of Deepak Chopra will help us here. Sometimes, for instance, the economy tanks and you might fall on hard times, like many other blameless people who weren’t born rich. Or perhaps you’ll get seriously ill and all of those focused thoughts and meditations will crumble before you.

So you should learn to work with what you’ve got and set realistic targets for yourself, ones that take into account your limitations. For instance, perhaps you’re someone who turns too easily to alcohol after any kind of turbulence in life. Well, if you know this about yourself, then maybe it’s time to accept that you can’t kick the habit through willpower alone. Take concrete steps to deal with it, with this knowledge in mind. Find a rehab program that will bring control to your life in a way that you can’t enforce yourself.  

When you meet your own standards – rather than those that are always out of reach – award yourself some respect. Bit by bit, day by day, you’ll build a person you can be (quietly) proud of.

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