Author: Allie Beth Stuckey
In a world attempting to cover up our guilt, shame, self-centeredness, and longing with the phrase “love thyself,” Allie Beth Stuckey provides a frank and loving insight into why that is not true, and how to find real answers, in her book You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay).
I have only recently become aware of Allie and her work. I have listened to her podcast maybe a handful of times, and so far, I have enjoyed most of what she’s had to say. In a couple of those episodes, she spoke strongly against the culture, and cult, of self-love that currently pervades our society. I had never heard such a response before, and it was refreshing. It not only helped with some selfish thoughts but also the degrading ones. You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay) is not a self-help book, at least not in the traditional sense. This isn’t a book about helping yourself or “being the best you.” It’s a book about facing reality, coming to grips with what the world is really like, and how to be okay with all that those facts mean.
This is first and foremost a book for women (if the cover’s color didn’t already give that away!). But if it didn’t, perhaps the subject matter should. The topic of self-love is largely aimed at women, and young women in particular. You’ve probably heard many of the slogans, most of which probably made you feel good. “You just need to learn to love yourself first.” “Find the way to be the best you.” “You’re enough!” “Just be yourself.” “You can have it all.” “You will be happy once you accept everything about yourself.” “You’re perfect just the way you are.”
There are many more similar phrases that could go right up there with the rest, but you get the picture. In hyper reaction to what was seen as a culture that degraded women, society tried to find the best way to make us women feel adequate, like goddesses, able to have it all, and be just enough for everyone and ourselves (or, maybe just ourselves). It is all about you and loving yourself. Once you can do that, you will realize how perfect you are, and you’ll be happy. It’s all about you and on you. Unfortunately, and perhaps even fortunately, that is simply not true. Believing those things will not make you happy because you are not perfect. In fact, you are the problem. Thankfully, you are not the solution either!
When Allie says, “that’s okay,” she doesn’t mean that you should just accept your depraved state and do nothing to lead a better life. Rather, she is trying to say that self-love isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Also, she points out that following the advice of people who push the idea of self-love will only make you miserable, and perhaps even harm you. Throughout her book, she digs through the history of such ideas. She shows how following such ideas to their ultimate conclusion is unsatisfying and destructive. But there is hope. There is one person who can help us, make us whole, make us right: God. It’s not about us and what we can or cannot do. We can’t do everything or be anything we set our mind to. We cannot love ourselves perfectly, nor should we. Doing so will leave us wanting. There is a lot wrong with us that we cannot fix, and no self-love book disguised as help can change that. Only God can. And that is what makes not being able to love ourselves, and realizing how unloveable we are, okay.
The book is filled with stories from Allie herself and other women. For a nonfiction book, I have never been brought to tears more. It was truly moving. In some cases, I was moved because I could say, “That was me” or even “That IS me!” But regardless, it is easy to empathize with most of the stories. We know them. We are them. And when they don’t line up perfectly, they match people we know and love. They match the hurt and unfulfilled lives we see all around us every day. The book was beautifully written. Like other such nonfiction books, the stories help make the practical application relatable. These are real lives deeply affected by our culture’s lies. That is really not okay, but there are answers, some of which can be found in this book.
This book will not be before everyone. Though I think all women highschool and up should read it, some will be put off by Allie’s religious, conservative stance. I don’t think that makes her views and solutions any less a part of reality or any less helpful, but I can see why some people would struggle to accept all of her conclusions. There are also a couple of points I felt like she went a little off on a tangent and I was unsure where she was going. However, her advice and warnings are much needed in today’s culture. I certainly wish I would have considered some of society’s messages in light of the information I have now back in high school. It would have saved me a lot of grief and guilt. And yet, for who I am now, I still need such reminders and encouragement today.
The book is fairly brief, making for a quick read (or listen). If you’re looking for more satisfying answers than the one’s society has to offer (which most often leave people feeling selfish, guilty, or victimized), read this book. If you like nonfiction mixed in with real-life stories, read this book. And if you like self-help books (but find them rather unhelpful), this is the book for you. You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay) will help you look at the world and yourself through a new lens, and hopefully one for the better.
Blessings to you and yours,
~Madelyn Rose Craig