Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Book Review | Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

I loved this book when I read it last year and when I reread it last week, I sat in admiration for
Tiny Beautiful Thingsthe words of insight, kindness and advice offered by Cheryl Strayed. She offers advice in a no holds barred sort of way.

The book is a collection of questions and answers sent to Dear Sugar advice column.

The questions ran the gamut of issues – topics include self-esteem, relationships, friendship, death, birth, love, work, fear, happiness and on and on. Some are just musing.

Some replies are pages long. The message in the reply is often quite poignant as Cheryl has a way of speaking to the heart of the person on the other end. Her words hold you accountable. If you are at fault, own it. If the world has been unfair, shout it from the roof tops. If you’ve done wrong, forgive yourself.

With most replies, she relates to something she has experienced. She writes with an openness that makes the reader listen more closely than ever before. As with most issues, the writer probably already knows the answer but can’t see a way out. Some others write because they have a need to unload. Others write with a palpable desperation.

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding and my dear one, you and I have been granted a mighty generous one.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Some questions ask about love. Will we find love? Is this love? The heartfelt questions span
generations.

“I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise you that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. 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.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

To get a good understanding of the genuine questions and replies that fill this book, here is a question and a link to the answer. Find the book and read it. The answers and suggestions spoke to my core. Maybe they will do the same to yours.

Dear Sugar,

I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?

Love,
Seeking Wisdom

Dear Seeking Wisdom…

The Collective Spark

Do you ever wonder if your presence here makes a difference? Like if you left the physical planet tomorrow would it matter? Did you make a contribution, a mark, a difference somehow, someway? Have you made this world a better place?

The reason I am so pensive about this topic is because I met someone who HAS made a difference. She is a high school student who is sure to be missed when it’s time for her to leave this earth. Each step she took made a difference and now she has created jobs, awareness and community. This is a 5 minute video of her and her talk at Ignite Fort Collins.

She was chosen as Student of the Month by the Fort Collins Rotary Breakfast and suggested we watch this video instead of her standing up and talking to us. She brought 3 baskets of her dolls. I am almost certain she sold them all.

I want Olive to be the leader of our tomorrows. Someone with vision, creativity and kindness. Someone that sees a problem and finds a solution. At the young age of 16, she has left a mark, made a difference and offered hope to others.

One thing I do know is we all have a story. The classy lady down the street that looks like a million bucks has a story that may shock us all. The sweet couple in the grocery store, the new mother, the cranky boss. The hidden stories are what make the world go round. This inspirational story lets us see a glimpse into what is possible.

There is a boldness in taking action and creating something that was never there before. Boldness in standing up for a cause, solving a problem or voicing an opinion.

I think we can all point to one thing we’ve done that has made a difference. Whether we’ve mothered a child, painted a picture, shared our love of __________ to someone, we’ve made a mark – even if it’s a small one.

Would you be so bold as to let your own light shine for this brief moment and share something?

Would LOVE to hear from you!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
 
—-from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson