7 pieces of advice from Tiny Beautiful Things that shape my life

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who’s Been There by Cheryl Strayed is one of my absolute favourite books. A compilation of the advice she gave during her time as the anonymous advice columnist, Sugar at The Rumpus (now defunct), Strayed, with her perfect combination of wit, wisdom, compassion and no-fucks-given attitude created an advice column like no other. Sugar is nurturing but tough, ever so giving but concrete when it comes to her boundaries. She will get down in the dirt with you when necessary, but more often than not, instead gently points you in the direction of the answer you already knew in your heart when you were writing to her.

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From the gay kid stuck living with his evangelical parents to the woman still in mourning for her miscarried baby over a year later, you will find yourself in these pages. I’ve written about this book before, but in the same way I have recently come back to it in my own reading, I wanted to come back to it here. My copy of this book is littered with underlining and folded down page corners; wisdom I knew I would want to come back to – do come back to – in moments of difficulty. Today I figured I would share some of it here.

“Go! Go! Go! You need it one more time darling? GO. Really. Truly. As soon as you can. 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 ended up mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions of the people they intended to be.”

“Be about ten times more magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of being. Your life will be a hundred times better for it. This is good advice for anyone at any age, but particularly for those in their twenties. Because in your twenties you’re becoming who you’re going to be and so you might as well not be an asshole.”

“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?”

Useless days

“Love her even if she doesn’t do what you hope she does once you point out that her paramour is a scumbag. Wish her the best without getting yourself emotionally tangled up in a situation that has nothing to do with you.”

“No is golden. No is the kind of power the good witch wields. It’s the way whole, healthy, emotionally evolved people manage to have relationships with jackasses while limiting the amount of jackass in their lives.”

You’re going to be all right. And you’re going to be all right not because you majored in English or didn’t and not because you plan to apply to law school or don’t, but because all right is almost always where we land, even if we fuck up entirely along the way.”

Author: Lydia Tewkesbury

27. Loves a good story.

11 thoughts on “7 pieces of advice from Tiny Beautiful Things that shape my life”

  1. Oh my goodness, I actually got a little choked up reading all these quotes in your post — this books seems *exactly* like one that I would adore. It gives me total Siddhartha vibes (a book I read recently & loved) … but in a more modern and relatable context. That quote about majoring in English, and the middle one about the “useless” days adding up to something… OH MY GOSH all the feels! I must have this book!

    Thank you for such an amazing recommendation, Lydia! I’m literally putting a hold on this book @ my library right now 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! I hope you do read it, Zoie – I think it’d really be for you. I love how Cheryl really doesn’t shy away from anything. There are some really difficult columns in here, but she tackles them all in such a beautiful and compassionate way. I love it so much.

      I had the useless days quote stuck on my wall to help keep me sane after I graduated university and was working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week in this awful restaurant thinking my entire life was going to be garbage. I don’t work there any more – things improved, slowly!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a bunch of quotes on my wall, too, and I add new ones and take old ones down according to the flow of my life. Quotes have kept me sane during tough times, and I think it’s amazing that just reading one sentence, over and over again, every day, can motivate and inspire me to keep going. 😊

        And btw, the hold on this book has arrived! I’m picking the book up later today 🙂 Hopefully I can add new quotes to my wall after reading it! 😋


  2. Wahh, thanks for sharing these quotes, they sooo highlight her personality and wisdom! It’s nice to hear that you did end up revisiting it. Sometimes we tend to say we’d do that about some books, but end up forgetting about them in the long run. This is definitely a nice indicator of how great of a book it is!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: October favourites

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