…you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself. I don’t say this as a condemnation – I need regular reminders to stop feeling sorry for myself too. I’m going to address you bluntly, but it’s a directness that rises from my compassion for you, not my judgment of you. Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of a ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.
I haven’t been able to put down Cheryl Strayed’s book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. The book is a compilation of Cheryl’s Dear Sugar advice columns and I’ve literally bookmarked almost every one of her responses to her lost, confused, upset and hurt readers. My favorite part is that she doesn’t sugarcoat her answers and she doesn’t beat around the bush with her solutions. She offers practical advice – sprinkled with compassion and often a much-needed dose of reality. The above excerpt is from one response she wrote to a reader who was frustrated and feeling the weight of student loan debt. I thought the advice applied to much more than that – and was a refreshing reminder to me to take control of my own life. To step up to the plate and do life, fully.