Girl, Wash Your Face Lie 5: Loving Him Is Enough

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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Do you want to know more about lie 5 from Girl, Wash Your Face? Do you want to learn how to recognize the early warning signs of a bad relationship?

Lie 5 in the list of 20 lies we tell ourselves from Girl, Wash Your Face, is the belief that loving someone is enough, even if it comes at a cost. The truth is, people will treat you with as much or as little respect as you permit. If you don’t value yourself, no one else will value you.

Keep reading to learn more about lie 5 and how you can learn to put more value in yourself.

Lie 5: The Way He’s Treating Me Is Fine Because I Love Him

In relationships, many women become versions of themselves they don’t recognize, sacrificing their self-worth to keep the love of a man. If a woman isn’t taught to love herself, she may go to great lengths to keep the love of a man and ignore the early warning signs of a bad relationship. 

Dysfunction begins the first time a woman allows herself to be treated badly, sending the message that this is an acceptable way to treat her; sometimes the blinders of love let this behavior continue.

The truth is, people will treat you with as much or as little respect as you permit. As long as you allow someone to treat you badly, they will keep doing so. If you don’t value yourself, no one else will value you.

Dysfunction Disguised as Love

The author illustrates the concept of lie 5,“allowing someone to treat you badly” with the story of the beginning of her relationship with her now-husband (Hollis wrote this before her divorce). 

She met Dave through work when she was 19 years old. While he was older and, she thought, “out of her league,” she fell in love. She had no dating experience but gave out a mature, responsible vibe in the professional world. Dave didn’t realize how young she was and they began seeing each other. When she finally told him her age, he was wary — she was too inexperienced and he didn’t want to be the guy who hurt her. In her naivete, she was baffled: How could he hurt her? This was love! 

A month into the relationship, she introduced him as her boyfriend at a party. He was angry — he didn’t even think they were “dating”! In hindsight, she realized that to him, she was only a “booty call.” She was so deeply in love she couldn’t see the reality of their relationship. She ignored the early warning signs of a bad relationship and believed lie 5.

When they were together, he was sweet and loving, so she made excuses for the fact that he didn’t call, didn’t acknowledge her during the day, and allowed his friends to mock her. She still drove over and spent the night whenever he asked. She took whatever scraps of attention he threw at her, and she was thrilled to get them.

Learn Your Value and Beat Lie 5

In hindsight she understood that she was never taught to love herself, so she was desperate to receive love from a man. The relationship went on for a year like this, with her trying to be everything he wanted. After his company transferred him, she desperately clung to a long-distance relationship, but he flew home after two months to break up with her, saying it wasn’t going to work out, but they’d always be friends.

Hollis had an epiphany after he left a casual voicemail after Thanksgiving just checking in. She finally saw the relationship clearly and didn’t like the person she’d allowed herself to become.

She understood that she allowed him to treat her this way; the dysfunction in their relationship began the first time he treated her badly and she let him.  She had ignored the early warning signs of a bad relationship and allowed lie 5 to let her believe that loving him was enough.

She called and calmly told him she was done and not to ever call again — not in a bid for attention, but really meaning it. Hollis told him she didn’t deserve to be treated like this and didn’t like what she’d become. She didn’t want to be “friends” if this was how he treated people he cared about. 

In the author’s case, the story has a fairytale ending. He flew home a changed man and became the loving partner she wanted. But for most women, the story doesn’t end this way. Choosing to walk away from a bad relationship, even if it breaks your heart, may be the greatest act of self-love.

Tips on Not Sacrificing Yourself to a Bad Relationship

Try these strategies to keep from believing lie 5 and sacrificing yourself to a bad relationship:

  • Find sounding boards and mentors. When yours is the only voice of advice in your head, your judgement is clouded by love.
  • Learn self-respect. When you go into a relationship with self-respect, you don’t allow someone to treat you badly.
  • Look at the relationship objectively. Imagine someone else describing your relationship to you. Does it sound healthy? If not, take a deeper look.
Girl, Wash Your Face Lie 5: Loving Him Is Enough

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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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