I’ve been heavily absorbing this book of advice from the author Cheryl Strayed. Saying that I’ve read it doesn’t quite do it justice, as it’s practically a balm for every open emotional cut I’ve ever had. This is, of course, news to me because I didn’t know I had any healing to do at all. That’s how mind-numbingly good it is.
At the same time, I am left with a grand feeling of gratitude. Hearing the difficult problems people ask for help with makes me thankful that many of my challenges have been minuscule. I also come away feeling that many of our troubles all have similar roots: wanting love, inner strength, belief in one’s self, a desire to do good – essentially a path through life that will take us where we want to go. And Dear Sugar delivers all of those things. Somehow, this one woman makes me ache for her advice even though I don’t have a question to ask.
While I’ve still got under 100 pages to go, I’ve been thinking deeply about who I turn to for advice. I never thought of writing a letter to an anonymous online advice guru. I also can’t say I have a sage in my life, an all-knowing individual who I can count on to push me in the right direction. Like most, I turn to old friends to discuss problems but rarely do I seek true counsel with them. Often I ask my father for help. His advice is usually the most timeless and sound, though always on the feather-light side of dolling out hard truths (he is, after all, a loving parent). And then there is my husband, whose advice is often fearless, though drastically different than a course of action I would take. I cherish his guidance, even though I don’t always know how to make it work for me.
With a gut feeling that shouts at me what to do in most situations, at the core I’ve always sought my own truth. I’ve honed that inner voice in the last few years, trusting that it knows best. However, it doesn’t know everything. So I’m beginning to think I need to take stock of those whose advice I seek, accept that their life experience may likely be more significant than mine, and listen to what they have to say with more weight than I’ve given before. This book has made clear there’s a lot I do not know about life, and there’s a lot I have yet to be advised on.
Who do you ask for advice?
Share your answers in the comments below! And though Cheryl Strayed no longer writes advice, you can read my favorite pieces online: one asking about whether or not to have children, two about dealing with jealousy and the success of others, and three about wanting out of a perfectly good relationship. Or you could also check out her book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. You won’t be disappointed.
Image by Pauline Suzor Photography courtesy of Goldie.