This Woman Who is a Modern 2020 Hero
Rachel Hollis has been my 2020 role model. I found her while trying to find inspiration to chase my dreams. I wanted to go into business, I just didn’t know the first steps. I had recently gotten married and didn’t know what the next big step for me was.
I wanted a challenge that could bring me joy. I wanted to know what was next for me.
I was fishing through some podcasts when I stumbled upon her station, Rise. Short and catchy name, so I decided to listen to one about motivation, because that’s what I really needed. I felt jazzed afterwards and went ahead and picked another one… before I knew it I had listened to about five of her podcasts and was feeling ready to conquer the world!
I started to do more research on her, found her Instagram, checked out her website and also her husbands, because he was just as cool! I learned about her family and became very invested in this random woman’s life.
She is the CEO of a multi-million-dollar company, who inspires women and men to chase their dreams and how to develop good habits. She didn’t go to college, and everything she learned was from a Google Search bar and some YouTube videos!
I also learned that she had written two books that made it on the New-York Times Best Sellers list. I was impressed by this woman and everything she had accomplished, I wanted to know all her business secrets and more about who she is as a person, because so far, she is almost everything I wanted to be.
So, I downloaded those two best sellers and listened intently to them. Both had amazing personal stories and experiences that were both hard and growth stimulating. She talked a lot about two experiences in particular a lot. First, when she was 14 years old, she was the only one home when her older brother committed suicide. She was the one who found him in his room… Second, she and her husband navigated through foster care programs and adoption agencies for years, just trying to adopt one baby girl. When they had finally matched to foster a pair of twins, they were ecstatic, only to find out three months later the birth father wanted them back. So they had to give them up.
These two challenging experiences were the worst that she’s been through. Until this year.
How this Hero has Been Handling 2020
I remember scrolling through Instagram and seeing a post from Rachel Hollis, a selfie with her and her husband Dave. I love seeing her posts come up and so I read the caption and I was surprised to read her announcement concerning her and Dave’s decision to get a divorce. I was shocked!
This was what I thought was the definition of a power couple, a family who was so ideal in my brain, and they were splitting up. My heart hurt for this woman that I have never met in person, but respected and looked up to so much. I knew this was hard for her, and I didn’t see her on Instagram for a few weeks.
When she finally jumped back on, she apologized for going MIA, but that in her absence, she has been working on another book. She had all this new-found time in quarantine, she just decided to whip out a book.
It would be released on September 26, 2020. That was automatically the next big holiday I was looking forward to! Another book by Rachel Hollis! I was so excited. And then I put it together that this book was probably going to be a lot different than a lot of her other books, and that this was going to be the real deal.
What She Taught Me, Indirectly
In this book, Didn’t See that Coming, Rachel talks about the process of grief and heartache she’s currently going through and how she just keeps on going. She covered a lot of interesting topics, but the one that wasn’t talked about exactly, but was impressed upon my mind, was how to help our loved ones and friends deal with grief.
In her introduction she admitted that she was tired of people saying “I’m so sorry for your loss” when her brother died, “I’m sorry for what you’re going through,” during the adoption phase of her life, and now, “I’m sorry for your divorce…” now that she and her husband are no longer together after 17 years.
While I was on a run, in early October this year, I was listening to this introduction of her book. My mind began to wonder and ponder. She never said what she would rather have heard from these people, if she didn’t want them apologizing to her anymore…
I wanted to know what I could say to my loved ones who go through grief, because personally in my life, I haven’t been through things like this. However, this year has been excruciatingly painful for my husband’s family.
Early this past summer, I got a call from my husband saying that his cousin, aunt and uncle, were in a horrific plane crash, and there were no survivors. That day was the first time I saw him cry. My mother-in-law was a wreck, losing her brother, his wife, and her nephew. The following weeks were painful, restless, and a little bit awkward. What do you say to these people who just had their hearts ripped out?
I knew I couldn’t fix anything, and most of the time all I could say was a sincere “I’m so sorry.” That’s how I felt, but I knew I was helpless. Time has passed and my husband is doing good, but the family is still a little fragile.
After hearing Rachel Hollis admit that she was sick of hearing “I’m sorry” when she was in her darkest times, I wanted to do some research, and figure out what do people want to hear? So I conducted a survey on Instagram.
I posted on my story a video of me explaining what I was wondering, and posed the question, “when you’re going through a dark and hard place, what are some comforting words or actions you want to hear/receive?” I got over 30 responses, and they were all relatively similar. A lot of these people I know have gone through so much pain and sorrow, that I knew this was important to them.
I organized the responses on a sticky note and shared the common ones in another video on my story. These are the responses, in no particular order.
- Be physically by their side
- Showing up for them
- Saying things like “ I’m here for you” “I don’t understand what you’re going through, but I love you.”
- Listen. Listen. Listen. Don’t talk over them or try to make the situation about you.
- Validation. Validation. Validation. Remind them that what they’re feeling is real, and its okay to be sad/upset.
- If a loved one has passed, some people would love to talk about them.
- Acts of service (doing the dishes, laundry, tidying up, babysitting children…).
- Reminding them “you won’t be a burden if you open up to me about what you’re feeling.”
- Be ready to listen when they are ready.
- Bring meals, snacks, drinks….
- A get together or adventure to take their mind off of things.
This is what I got most out of this amazing piece of work by Rachel Hollis. Even though this isn’t what she wrote about, this was the application and take away I got from it, and will honestly cherish.
My whole life I will have people I love go through things they don’t deserve and didn’t see coming, and I want to be there for them in a way that matters. A lot of people reached out to me and said that the responses I shared really helped them know how to comfort certain people in their life right now.
Grief is a strong emotion, and makes you feel not understood, seen, or loved. So if we can be there for those people in a way that reminds them of who they are and why we’re here for them, then that makes this painful experience a little easier for them to bear.