You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself. I don’t say this as a condemnation—I need regular reminders to stop feeling sorry for myself too. I’m going to address you bluntly, but it’s a directness that rises from my compassion for you, not my judgment of you. You must separate the global injustice (why should some be shackled by student loan debt when others aren’t?) from the individual reality (I’ll be paying this damn bill forever).
As you and other long-time readers of this column may know, I’m a socialist at heart, but when it comes to the actual, individual way we live our lives, I adhere to an entirely pull-oneself-up-by-one’s-bootstraps creed. Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self-pity is a dead end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.
—Dear Sugar Advice Column #91

TUESDAY! CHERYL STRAYED in conversation with Paul Holdengräber. Get tickets here… (p.s. enter code “DEARSUGAR” at checkout for $10 off each General Admission ticket)
Artwork by Jaeil Cho

You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself. I don’t say this as a condemnation—I need regular reminders to stop feeling sorry for myself too. I’m going to address you bluntly, but it’s a directness that rises from my compassion for you, not my judgment of you. You must separate the global injustice (why should some be shackled by student loan debt when others aren’t?) from the individual reality (I’ll be paying this damn bill forever).

As you and other long-time readers of this column may know, I’m a socialist at heart, but when it comes to the actual, individual way we live our lives, I adhere to an entirely pull-oneself-up-by-one’s-bootstraps creed. Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self-pity is a dead end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.

Dear Sugar Advice Column #91

TUESDAY! CHERYL STRAYED in conversation with Paul Holdengräber. Get tickets here… (p.s. enter code “DEARSUGAR” at checkout for $10 off each General Admission ticket)

Artwork by Jaeil Cho