I love to read. My go-to genres are fantasy and thrillers, but I’ve also been known to peruse the bestsellers list at Barnes and Noble then put each of those ebooks on hold at my local library. This is how I came across Untamed by Glennon Doyle.
I wasn’t expecting to love it, as an autobiography about someone I’ve never heard of didn’t exactly fit into my typical genres. (PS – turns out I was living under a rock not having heard of her previously, as this is not her first bestseller and she’s married to Abby Wambach, but I digress.) The format of the book is told in short stories, and I was hooked after reading the very first one.
The premise of the book is that women have been “tamed” into behaving in a way that pleases others, instead of believing in themselves and acting in the way that they feel is correct. Glennon’s stories opened my eyes to the may ways I’ve allowed this to happen in my own life. She’s an excellent writer and articulates thoughts so clearly it’s like they’re being screamed in my face for only me to here. I have never highlighted so much of a book. I highly recommend that all women I know read this book, but if reading’s not your thing, I’ve outlined my biggest takeaways and favorite quotes below.
Biggest Takeaways from Untamed:
- Stop defending myself and explaining everything that I do. This is a huge part of my character, and it really struck me to read that you only defend things when you think the other person has the power to take said thing away from you. I have always looked outward for approval and had a very hard time hearing that people don’t approve of my decisions. After reading this book, I told my husband to hold me accountable and call me out when I am being defensive (fun job for him, right?). I am a grown ass woman, I don’t owe anyone an explanation for living life my way–and I’ll no longer offer any.
- As a mother, it is more beneficial for me to model the life I want my children to have than to sacrifice everything and become a martyr for my children. Of course, motherhood requires a certain level of sacrifice, but we’re taught that mothers should give up everything for their children. In reality, your children are always looking at you for cues on how to live their lives. By accepting less than what you want out of life, your children will see that and can learn to accept less than what they want out of life. If we sacrifice ourselves for our children, and they sacrifice themselves for their children, who actually benefits? What is all this sacrifice and martyrdom for? As I write this, I’m expecting my first daughter (who’s 3 days overdue). I want to raise a strong woman who goes after what she wants and lives a full life. So this is what I will show her.
- The answers are inside me, and I can find them through quiet and stillness. This is why I love journaling and meditation – they help me get my thoughts in order. But I still often find myself Googling for solutions when I could make a decision myself if I take the time to sit in my thoughts and feelings.
Favorite Quotes from Untamed:
This is the most revolutionary thing a woman can do: the next precise thing, one thing at a time, without asking permission or offering explanation. This way of life is thrilling.Glennon Doyle, Untamed
On no longer pleasing others and finding your wild:
- All of the things that make a woman human are a good girl’s dirty secret.
- I’d finally asked myself what I wanted instead of what the world wanted from me.
- The boys looked inside themselves. The girls looked outside themselves. We forgot how to know when we learned how to please. This is why we live hungry.
- Sometimes I wondered if I wasn’t the only one using her skin to contain herself. Maybe we are all fire wrapped in skin, trying to look cool.
- I was wild until I was tamed by shame. Until I started hiding and numbing my feelings for fear of being too much.
- When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.
- Rebellion is as much of a cage as obedience is. They both mean living in reaction to someone else’s way instead of forging your own. Freedom is not being for or against an ideal, but creating your own existence from scratch.
- Why do women find it honorable to dismiss ourselves? Why do we decide that denying our longing is the responsible thing to do? Why do we believe that what will thrill and fulfill us will hurt our people? Why do we mistrust ourselves so completely? Here’s why: Because our culture was built upon and benefits from the control of women. The way power justifies controlling a group is by conditioning the masses to believe that the group cannot be trusted.
- Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.
- I have been conditioned to mistrust and dislike strong, confident, happy girls and women. We all have. Studies prove that the more powerful, successful, and happy a man becomes, the more people trust and like him. But the more powerful and happy a woman becomes, the less people like and trust her. So we proclaim: Women are entitled to take their rightful place! Then, when a woman does take her rightful place, our first reaction is: She’s so…entitled. We become people who say of confident women, “I don’t know, I can’t explain it—it’s just something about her. I just don’t like her. I can’t put my finger on why.”
- I think we are only bitter about other people’s joy in direct proportion to our commitment to keep joy from ourselves.
- I’m happier now. I’m not doubting myself as much, and that is making me confident and stronger, so I’m suffering less. I have noticed that it seems easier for the world to love a suffering woman than it is for the world to love a joyful, confident woman.
On motherhood and family:
- A whole family is one in which each member can bring her full self to the table knowing that she will always be both held and free.
- It’s not hard decisions that mess up kids, it’s indecision. Your kids need to know which way this is going to go.
- Mothers have martyred themselves in their children’s names since the beginning of time. We have lived as if she who disappears the most, loves the most. We have been conditioned to prove our love by slowly ceasing to exist. What a terrible burden for children to bear—to know that they are the reason their mother stopped living.
- I would never again settle for a relationship or life less beautiful than the one I’d want for my child.
- For the first time in my life, I decided to trust myself—even though that meant moving in direct opposition to my parents. I decided to please myself instead of my parents. I decided to become responsible for my own life, my own joy, my own family. And I decided to do it with love. That is when I became an adult.
- When you are ready to come to our island with nothing but wild acceptance and joy and celebration for our true, beautiful family, we’ll lower the drawbridge for you. But not one second sooner.
- A woman becomes a responsible parent when she stops being an obedient daughter. When she finally understands that she is creating something different from what her parents created. When she begins to build her island not to their specifications but to hers. When she finally understands that it is not her duty to convince everyone on her island to accept and respect her and her children. It is her duty to allow onto her island only those who already do and who will walk across the drawbridge as the beloved, respectful guests they are.
On change and feeling it all:
- To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution. Whether I like it or not, pain is the fuel of revolution.
- What scares me more than feeling it all is missing it all.
- The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one. We need to let go of the lie that it’s supposed to be.
- Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.
- The moment after we don’t know what to do with ourselves is the moment we find ourselves. Right after itchy boredom is self-discovery. But we have to hang in there long enough without bailing.
- Hard work is important. So are play and nonproductivity. My worth is tied not to my productivity but to my existence. I am worthy of rest.
- Anger delivers our boundaries to us. Our boundaries deliver our beliefs to us. Our beliefs determine how we experience the world. So even though it can be scary, we’d be wise to answer the door.
On bravery and truth:
- The opposite of sensitive is not brave. It’s not brave to refuse to pay attention, to refuse to notice, to refuse to feel and know and imagine. The opposite of sensitive is insensitive, and that’s no badge of honor.
- Then I built a life of my own. I did it by resurrecting the very parts of myself I was trained to mistrust, hide, and abandon in order to keep others comfortable: My emotions My intuition My imagination My courage Those are the keys to freedom. Those are who we are. Will we be brave enough to unlock ourselves? Will we be brave enough to set ourselves free?
- What is better: uncomfortable truth or comfortable lies? Every truth is a kindness, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Every untruth is an unkindness, even if it makes others comfortable.
- Anything or anyone I could lose by telling the truth was never mine anyway. I’m willing to lose anything that requires me to hide any part of myself.
I’d also feel remiss not to touch on how moved I was by her short story on race and all that she does in the name of social justice with Together Rising. But my words could not do hers justice, I would recommend reading the book or giving her a follow on social to learn more!
Have you read Untamed? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if not, get your copy here!