I won't go into the long and tedious details of how my life was falling apart a few months back: if you are going through a similar experience, I am sure you could do without the replay. And like me, I hope these amazing Cheryl Strayed quotes will give you the encouragement to lift yourself and keep going.
My friend sent them over during this trying moment in my life and it was a huge favor, and now I'm paying it forward.
1. Don't be strategic or coy. Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word 'love' to the people you love so when it matters the most to say it. You will.
2. Be brave enough to break your own heart.
3. Go, even though you love him. Go, even though you can't imagine your life without him. Go, even though you're afraid of being alone. Go, even though you don't know exactly why you can't stay. Go, because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough. Get a pen. Write that last sentence on your palm. Then read it over and over again until your tears have washed it away.
4. Of this, I am absolutely sure: Do not reach the era of child-rearing and real jobs with a guitar case full of crushing regret for all the things you wished you'd done in your youth. I know too many people who didn't do those things. They all end up mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions of the people they intended to be.
5. Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.
6. You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.
7. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It's the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It's worthy of all the hullabaloo.
8. Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.
9. Forgiveness doesn't sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill.
10. Stop worrying about whether you're fat. You're not fat. Or rather, you're sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally, the sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this sweet pea.
11. Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.
12. I've written often about how we have to reach hard in the direction of the lives we want, even if it's difficult to do so. I've advised people to set healthy boundaries and communicate mindfully and take risks and work hard on what actually matters and confront contradictory truths and trust the inner voice that speaks with love and shut out the inner voice that speaks with hate. But the thing is—the thing so many of us forget—is that those values and principles don't only apply to our emotional lives. We've got to live them out in our bodies too. Yours. Mine. Droopy and ugly and fat and thin and marred and wretched as they are. We have to be as fearless about our bellies as we are with our hearts.
13. Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.
14. The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that.
15. Just close your eyes and remember everything you already know. Let whatever mysterious starlight that guided you this far guide you onward into whatever crazy beauty awaits.
Feeling better already? Even if you are not, you will; when I read them myself, I was pretty inspired.