Give a F*ck, Actually: A book review by Bob Morris

Give a F*ck, Actually: Reclaim Yourself with the 5 Steps of Radical Emotional Acceptance
Alex Wills
Skyhorse Publishing (January 2023)

How to make a commitment to whatever is REALLY most important to you 

I had no idea why Alex Wills formulated or agreed to this book’s title when I began to read it. Then I read the book and now I think I understand.

The best way to explain the importance of his concept of f*ck is to answer this question: What do you care about — REALLY care about? That is, something you care so much about that you refuse to admit it or even thinking about it…but you do so frequently, albeit sometimes unconsciously. It could be a dream that will not go away, a vision that cannot be ignored, an itch you feel compelled to scratch…pick your metaphor.

Wills suggests five steps when beginning the process to develop the mindset required to achieve the given “f*ck,” whatever its nature and extent may be. Here are the steps:

1. Recognize and acknowledge “the go-to emotions you immediately turn to when you don’t want to feel [the pain of] your deeper f*cks.”
2. “Observe all your f*cks, big or small, and validate the reality of what you are feeling.”
3. “Hear your f*cks out. What do they have to tell you about your basic values and assumptions?”
4. “With your newfound f*ck wisdom, what choices can you now make” that you could not make before?
5. Accept the new reality that “your f*cks are [or at least could be] your friends.”

With regard to the term “radical emotional acceptance” to which this book’s subtitle refers, Wills explains that it REA is “the practice of accepting each and every emotion, as they come, in real time. If you think of emotions as colors in the rainbow, you cannot choose only blue, or ignore red entirely. Emotions are a package deal…Our emotions are signposts  for what we truly give a f*ck about in this world, and guide us towards a life of integrity.”

Those who purchase this book would be well-advised to view Alex Wills as a personal mentor they have retained to help them to engage in a never-ending journey of rigorous self-discovery in a world today that is more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can recall.

As I read and then re-read this book, I was again reminded of my favorite passage in T.S. Eliot’s classic, Four Quartets (Chapter 2, “Little Gidding”):

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all of our exploring
Will be to arrive at where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

Do you want to achieve personal growth or do you HAVE TO achieve it?  The longer it takes for you to answer that question, the less likely that you will succeed.


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