Posts Tagged ‘How to be a person in the world’

Life Advice from Ask Polly’s Heather Havrilesky

July 18th, 2017

There’s nothing better than an advice columnist who really gets it. From Miss Manners to The Rumpus’s Sugar, there is a rich history of wise and worldly women doling out advice to those of us who might not have it all figured out yet. We love when a writer acknowledges that she doesn’t know it all either, though she still manages to give killer guidance. That’s just what you get from Heather Havrilesky’s book How to Be a Person in the World. To show you what we mean, we’re sharing a few of our favorite bits of all-weather advice from Ask Polly.

On Being a Woman:

“You are a nice person, and you’re also full of anger. You’re a walking tangle of contradictions. That’s okay. Most of us are like that. Women, most of all. How could we not be? People want us to be sexy warriors who roll over and play dead on command. They want us to be flirty burlesque dancers in burkas, aggressive conquistadors with cookies in the oven, Dorothy Parker meets Dorothy Gale, Sandra Bernhard meets Sandra Dee, Kristen Stewart meets Martha Stewart.”

On Conversation:

“Even though people are shallow and lots of people prefer scripted fictional heroes to real human beings, they can still be shaken out of it in the presence of someone who is REAL. Your problem is not that you haven’t mastered the conversational skills necessary to maintain someone’s interest. Your problem is that you’ve never forced yourself to define exactly who you are and what you love and how you want to live. You’ve never had to talk about these things passionately. You’ve never dared to lay yourself bare, without apology. Once you can look someone in the eyes and say, ‘Here’s what really matters to me’? That’s what people find attractive, trust me. They want to be with someone who knows himself and gives a shit. That’s what’s alluring and attractive and irreplaceable, even in this age of smooth make-believe.”

On Self-Worth:

“But here is what I tell my own daughters, when they start to place all of the magic outside of themselves, when they start to feel like some random dude owns the sun and the moon and the stars:

The world has told you lies about how small you are.”

On Living a Full Life:

“Stop trying to make sense of things. You can’t think your way through this. Open your heart and drink in this glorious day. You are young, and you will find little things that will make you grateful to be alive. Believe in what you love now, with all of your heart, and you will love more and more until everything around you is love. Love yourself now, exactly as sad and scared and flawed as you are, and you will grow up and live a rich life and show up for other people, and you’ll know exactly how big that is.”

On Owning Your Feelings:

“I used to admire people who could hang with anything. Now the women I admire the most are women who never pretend to be different than they are. Women like that express their anger. They admit when they’re down. They don’t beat themselves up over their bad moods. They allow themselves to be grumpy sometimes. They grant themselves the right to be grouchy, or to say nothing, or to decline your offer without a lengthy explanation.”

On Life:

“It’s not easy to do the things you dream of doing. Sometimes it’s not that easy just to get up in the morning. That’s how it is for everyone.”