The 20 Girl, Wash Your Face Lies: Stop Believing Them

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you wondering what the 20 Girl, Wash Your Face lies are? Do you want to know how to overcome those lies?

By dissecting these 20 Girl, Wash Your Face lies and shedding light on the truth, Hollis hopes to inspire women to reach their full potential. She also shares the strategies she used to overcome them,

Continue reading to learn what the 20 Girl, Wash Your Face lies are and how you can work to overcome them.

The 20 Girl, Wash Your Face Lies

Girl, Wash Your Face drives home an important truth for women: you are in control of your own life. You are responsible for your own happiness and the person you ultimately become. But too many women can’t embrace this truth because a slew of painful lies gets in their way, destroying their self-worth. These 20 Girl, Wash Your Face lies, which are thrown at women by society, the media, and even their families, can be disarmed by the following ideas:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • You are in control of your life.
  • You’re better than you think.
  • Be unapologetic about your ambitions and goals.

By dissecting these 20 Girl, Wash Your Face lies, shedding light on the truth, and sharing the strategies she used to overcome them, Hollis hopes to inspire women to reach their full potential.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Below are the 20 Girl, Wash Your Face lies. Stop believing the lies and become who you’re supposed to be.

The Lie: Outside Factors Are Making Me Unhappy. From the outside, other people’s lives can look perfect — home, children, jobs, relationships. This can make you feel like a failure. 

The Truth: We’re all falling short. If you’re unhappy, it’s on you. You are responsible for your happiness, and life doesn’t have to be perfect or like anyone else’s for you to be happy.

The Lie: I’ll Never Be Good Enough. Women are often conditioned from childhood to believe nothing they do or become will ever be good enough. This can lead to a drive for achievement that leads to self-neglect and even illness.

The Truth: You are loved, worthy, and good enough just as you are. It’s critical to take care of yourself, listen to your body, and put yourself on your own priority list.

The Lie: I’m Superior to You. Women all too often tear each other down, gossiping and talking behind each others’ backs. We compete with each other out of insecurity. 

The Truth: This behavior hurts all of us and destroys the ability to make friendships. True friendship comes with keeping an open mind, looking for commonality instead of differences.

The Lie: I’m Not Far Enough Along in My Career and Personal Life: Women often beat themselves up about all the things they haven’t yet accomplished, fearing that the life they wanted has passed them by.

The Truth: Goals don’t have an expiration date; you can continue to strive to reach them. Not being where you thought you should be may be the best thing to happen to you.

The Lie: Other People’s Home Lives Are Perfect: Many women are struggling to keep up with the demands of parenthood, home life and work. Other people’s lives look calmer and more organized; this can lead to a sense that you’re failing.

The Truth: We all are living in a state of chaos, no matter how things appear. When we learn to embrace and even love the chaos, we can find joy in our daily lives, no matter how messy.

The Lie: Only My Way of Life Is Correct: We can find ourselves surrounded entirely by people who look, think, and act like we do. But when everything looks like us, we start seeing the world as “us” and the “others.”

The Truth: When we stay in our own lane, we miss out on the richness and beauty of a diverse world with amazing people of all races, religions, political affiliations, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations and any other category. 

The Lie: I Have No Idea How to Be a New Mom: When you feel like you’re not succeeding as a new mom caring for an infant — something women think they should innately know how to do — it’s easy to feel like a failure. Other moms seem to be handling it better.

The Truth: It’s hard being a new mom. A new mother should have two goals only: take care of the baby, and take care of yourself. Nothing else — laundry, losing weight — matters.

The Lie: I’m a Bad School Mom. Being a mom during the school-age years is demanding. No matter how much you give, other moms seem to be giving more and doing better.

The Truth: Comparing yourself to other moms and families is a recipe for feelings of guilt and inadequacy. There is no one best way to parent; there is no one best way to be a mother. 

You Are in Control of Your Life

The Lie: Flaking on Myself Is OK. Many women freely make and break promises to themselves. They talk about going to the gym, walking a mile in the morning, training for a marathon, or whatever their goal is, but then don’t follow through.

The Truth: When you become intentional with your promises to yourself, you set a standard for the type of person you really are and who you will practice being every day.

The Lie: Being Told No Means You Should Stop. When pursuing their dreams and coming up against a roadblock or rejection, many women give up. 

The Truth: Being told no doesn’t mean it’s time to stop. It means you have to change course to make it to your destination.

The Lie: Daydreams Are Just Daydreams. Women may think daydreaming about their lives and goals is useless.

The Truth: Visualizing your goals in intricate detail is actually a powerful tool on the road to achieving your dreams. 

The Lie: I Will Never Get Over a Trauma: Many people have been through something traumatic and the idea of moving past it and thriving seems impossible.

The Truth: Living, and even thriving, after experiencing something awful is possible if you find the good that came from the experience. When you make it through a trauma, you take back your power and know you can rely on your own strength.

The Lie: I Can’t Be Truly Honest About What I’m Going Through: Sometimes sharing the whole truth about a painful experience can be difficult. You feel as though hiding the truth will somehow make it less painful. 

The Truth: When you share you own painful truth, you show others that you are someone who keeps showing up and trying, with courage and honesty, even when things get difficult. 

The Lie: Alcohol Can Help You Cope: Many women use alcohol as a coping mechanism for the challenges of life. Drinking is an easy fix;  just a few sips can dull the edges of anxiety. 

The Truth: If you mute your feelings with alcohol, you don’t learn the coping skills to deal with future problems. Fighting through hard times is how you get tougher.

The Lie: My Weight Is an Important Part of Who I Am: Many women have a difficult relationship with food, weight, and body image, often turning to food as a coping mechanism.

The Truth: You don’t need to be thin, but you do need to be healthy. If you truly want to love yourself, do the work to figure out what’s causing your weight/body issues in the first place.

You’re Better Than You Think

The Lie: I’m Not Talented Enough: Sometimes women tend to hold other people’s opinions ahead of their own, especially when it comes to something they are creating.

The Truth: While you can’t make people like or understand what you’ve created, you still have to put it out there because your ability to create is a God-given gift.

The Lie: The Way He’s Treating Me Is Fine — I Love Him. In relationships, many women become versions of themselves they don’t recognize, sacrificing their self-worth for love.

The Truth: People will treat you with as much or little respect as you permit. If you let them treat you badly, they’ll keep doing so. If you don’t value yourself, no one else will value you.

The Lie: I’m Failing at My Sex Life: Many women feel insecure about their sexuality, going through the motions to please their partners but not fully enjoying the experience. 

The Truth: By changing how you view sex, embracing your body and exploring what turns you on, you can conquer your insecurities and work to create a great sex life.

Be Unapologetic About Your Ambitions and Goals

The Lie: I Need to Diminish Myself to Make Others More Comfortable: Many women make themselves smaller to make others feel more comfortable. Becoming smaller means they downplay accomplishments and goals to be better liked and accepted. 

The Truth: You can’t be big and small at the same time. Big dreams and goals require audacity and courage. When women mute themselves to make others more comfortable, they deny who they are truly meant to be.

The Lie: I Need to Be Rescued. Women can fall into the trap of waiting for someone else to fix their lives, or they simply exist, assuming that life will magically improve on its own.

The Truth: Only you have the power to change your life. Others can’t make you into something without your help; you can experience the pride and joy of being your own hero.

Choose Your Own Happiness

Women too often absorb these Girl, Wash Your Face lies as truth, leading to self-destructive behavior. They let others treat them badly and accept less than they deserve. They buy things they can’t afford to impress others and self-medicate with alcohol, food or other distractions. They even buy their kids’ love instead of parenting.

But it doesn’t have to be this way; women can change their trajectory and improve their lives. The first step toward gaining back power and strength is identifying and acknowledging these Girl, Wash Your Face lies.


The journey to a new life is a long process and it won’t be easy. Change doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll try out different tools and techniques; some will work and some won’t. You’ll fall short at times on your journey. But when you grasp that you are truly in control, you’ll get up and keep trying until being in control feels natural.

The 20 Girl, Wash Your Face Lies: Stop Believing Them

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Rachel Hollis's "Girl, Wash Your Face" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Girl, Wash Your Face summary:

  • Why you should accept that life can be messy
  • How seeing that you're in control of your life can help you live more joyfully
  • The 20 lies you might be telling yourself

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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