Simpson tells PEOPLE she chose not to watch the Framing Britney Spears documentary, but shares that she's happy Spears is receiving support
Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears
Credit: David Livingston/Getty; Steve Granitz/WireImage

Jessica Simpson has a strong admiration for fellow songstress Britney Spears.

As she speaks to PEOPLE following the release of the paperback edition of her memoir Open Book in this week's issue, Simpson, 40, says she had a similar "coming of age" story as Spears, 39, and shares why she admires her.

"I honestly choose not to watch the documentary," she tells PEOPLE referring to the Framing Britney Spears unauthorized documentary. "I didn't want to watch and bring back any of the dark pieces of my personal coming of age in the music business. I have worked through a lot and want to keep moving forward in my own story on my own path."

"I admire her ambition, strength and the capability to live unapologetically and authentically," she adds saying she's "happy that people are supporting Britney."

Talking to PEOPLE about some of the journal entries she included with her memoir's new version, the singer opened up about the scrutiny she endured surrounding her weight.

"There is a wonderful movement for body positivity now and the response to that portion of my story has been overwhelmingly supportive," she says. "I don't think people always realized that there was a human being, a beating heart and working eyes with actual feelings behind those headlines and that words can hurt and stay with you for a lifetime."

"I spent so many years beating myself up for an unrealistic body standard that made me feel like a failure all of the time," she added. "I am still a work in progress when it comes to self-criticism but now I have the tools to quiet those voices in my head when they speak up."

In her book, the singer also speaks on the sexual abuse she faced as a child, but now reflects on the "overwhelming" feeling of connecting with other survivors like herself.

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"The feeling is overwhelming, beautiful and humbling all at once," she said. "I decided to write the book hoping I could help someone who feels overwhelmed by life, needing to read a way through all the hidden places and not feel alone with their pain. It was written to the someone who knows there is more for them in this life, but just needs encouragement to get through it with compassion for the hard stuff."

"The personal offerings of courage, resilience and hope that people have entrusted me with over the past year have meant more to me than they will ever know," she continued. "The stories have reintroduced me to my ambition as a leader. The hearts and faces behind those stories will stick with me for the rest of my life."

For more on Jessica Simpson, and what she's learned by sharing her life story, pick up the latest issue of this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.