- Always say yes to seeing friends
- Eat breakfast every day
- Recognize that positive change rarely happens overnight
- Accept the fuck-ups, but try not to let them happen again
- There is a song to remedy every situation on the planet
- Appreciate the people in your life
- Look for the good in everything
- Try new things and try them often
- Treat yourself as well as you treat others
I’m somewhere right between “No.” and “Fuck no.” right now. First, why are these kinds of lists always so prescriptive, and why do they always have so damned little respect for different people’s needs and lived experiences?
One of the most important and hardest lessons for many people to learn is that taking time for yourself and for self-care is not only important but totally okay. If always saying yes to seeing friends works for you, do it. Great! But if you need time to yourself, THEN THAT IS PERFECTLY OKAY AND VALUABLE TOO.
Eating breakfast most days is good, but sometimes sleeping in until lunch is just as good.
THERE IS NOT A SONG TO REMEDY EVERY SITUATION ON THE PLANET. Fuck you. There is no song that will make your cancer or your loved one’s cancer go away. You could not have prevented your husband’s suicide if you’d just sent him the right fucking mixed tape. Who makes this stuff? Is the point of this list just to guilt trip people who are having serious problems in their life? Life is not a made-for-TV movie. Some things do not have simple, marketable solutions. In fact, if there were a song to remedy every situation on the planet, then “positive change rarely happens overnight” would be false — you could enact positive change just by playing a song.
As usual, there are morsels of decent, or at least harmless advice in this. And I don’t want to pretend that this is the only list like this. This is one of those posts that’s been bubbling up for ages.
It’s great that the OP had a personal epiphany. I mean that honestly. It’s awesome. Learning self-care is fantastic. I just wish people would stop before they move on to “and because this was powerful and important to me, the exact same things must be true for everyone”. We’re all different. Learning what helps you is great and valuable and important. What helps you won’t be what helps someone else. Some people swear by putting on shoes every morning. For a lot (most?) people that not only wouldn’t make a difference at all, but would violate their culture. For some people, singing out loud on the bus would be the most liberating thing in the world (everyone else be damned). For some other people, they would not only gain anything, but they’d come home and curl in a ball under their desk for days — and not in a “learning experience” way. For some people doing something scary every day is empowering, for other people it makes their anxiety spike through the roof and causes them serious health issues.
But lists that push a one-true-way path to happiness, while well-meaning, primarily function to make people who don’t fit that mold feel worse about themselves.
So. Just. Don’t.