Those of you who are younger than me may not remember the ridiculous Stuart Smalley performed by Al Franken on Saturday Night Live in the ’90s. That’s probably a good thing, because it was humor that was tied to its moment and included awkward jokes about ambiguous sexuality in the midst of its constant send-up of the self-help book craze of the time.
Stuart Smalley, however, kind of had a point. Actually, he had several. You have to believe in yourself. Even if it seems absurd to other people. You have to assume other people’s intentions are good (i.e., that they like you) — even if they aren’t. And you can’t do either of those things without work.
Now, look, I’m pretty cynical (I am the most cynical optimist you will ever meet), and the last thing I’m going to tell you to do is stare in the mirror and tell yourself you’re awesome. Because really, who even has time or stomach for that?
But I also know that I have, at times, been at my most powerful when things have been screwed up, when I’ve had to retreat to a bathroom at my office, at an event, at a bar, and when I’ve leaned my hands on the sink and stared into the mirror and told myself I will fucking beat whatever bullshit was coming my way.
So you know, Stuart Smalley has a point. He just curses less than me and has really dubious fashion sense.
Every week, I email Erin going “what are we going to post for Do the Thing!” and every week, we try to come up with something we haven’t talked about before.
But the reality is that all these posts are always about the same thing. You have to choose yourself. You cannot wait for someone else to do something that you feel makes you worthy, because that is a crapshoot and you deserve better.
Give yourself that. Even if it feels ridiculous.