I'm always flattered, if baffled, when some sweet stranger reads my blog and then writes to me for advice. Usually the advice seeking revolves around being happy. I'm baffled because I am not a teacher, and I don't have any answers. In fact, I don't actually think you should believe people who claim they can give you the answers. I can tell you what helps me feel happy and content, but I have no idea if it would work for you.
Please stop talking shit about your body. Don't do it in public. Don't do it in private. Just don't.
Seek out the music of Joe Pug. He is pure brilliance.
Oh, and a little song called Fool's Gold, by The Middle East.
Seek out the reasons it is good to be alive.
Do things you enjoy, even if you're not good at them.
Let yourself be loved.
This means you are going to have to let yourself be known.
Remember that you are going to die.
Act like you're alive.
Find a way to be of service.
But don't be a martyr. Blech.
Happiness is a choice, but so is misery.
Don't make others pay for your choices.
Move your body.
Then sit down.
Sit down and be still every. single. day.
Don't tell pregnant women horror stories. Really. Knock it the hell off.
If you talk shit about a writer, your words will probably come back to haunt you.
Lay off the judgments.
Not just of others. Stop being so hard on yourself.
Never speak negatively about your children in front of them.
Even better, don't do it at all.
Same of your partner. If it would piss you off to hear someone else say it about them, don't say it yourself.
Don't be nice to people in public and then come home and kick the dog and yell at your spouse.
Give your best to those closest to you. They deserve it more than anyone.
When someone is brave enough to be vulnerable with you, treat it like the gift it is.
Look at the people you love through a soft lense.
Don't act like you know it all. Because you don't.
Honor your teachers.
Remember how little you actually know.
People over things. I can't stress it enough.
Forgive your parents.
Apologize with sincerity.
Put down the self-help books.
Don't think for a minute that you can buy enlightenment.
You don't need a Secret, a wand with feathers, a mind map, a tutorial, or a crystal to be ok.
Get over yourself.
Laugh. Laugh every single chance you get.
Never miss an opportunity to say, "I love you."
Love people for who they are, not who you think they can be.
Do things for people who can never, ever repay you.
Strike the words, "You owe me," from your vocabulary.
Don't expect little people to act like grown-ups, then get angry with them when they are nearly grown-ups and refusing to act like children.
Don't be mean. Please.
Remember that when you read someone's blog, you are seeing tiny, hand-picked fragments of their life. You may not know that in that gorgeous home a marriage is falling apart, the really funny chick is crying herself to sleep because her brother is dying, the poetic mommy blogger lost it and smacked her kid an hour ago. It doesn't make anyone lesser. It just makes them human. You aren't failing if your life doesn't look like the beautiful moments you see online. This includes mine. You have no idea what 99% of my life is like. In my day to day life I am mostly content, often happy, and very, very flawed. I'm not happy because nothing big and stressful is happening. I am happy because I choose to be... in spite of the big and stressful stuff.
While I welcome your letters, the best advice I can give you is this: Don't take my advice. And sit. I do stand by the sitting.