Dear Sugar Podcast
Super exciting news, two of my favorite books of all time are now Podcasts! I have recently been introduced to the podcast. I didn’t think it was something that I would really like, but I have actually fallen in love with these. The books had changed my life and now their podcasts are making just as much of an impact. The first podcast I want to discuss with you is the first one I listened to and that is Dear Sugar. I had recently posted on my summer book list one of my favorite books Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. The writer of the best selling novel Wild that was recently made into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon. She now has a podcast with the founder of Dear Sugar Steve Almond and the podcast is appropriately called Dear Sugar. People write in with questions and Cheryl and Steve Almond give their best advice. Some questions are questions I can totally relate to and then some are not, but either way every episode gets you thinking about your life and your certain set of circumstances. They hold each writer accountable for their own actions and emotions. Often times I feel like when people give advice to someone they tend to take the side of the person asking for advice. In the book Tiny Beautiful Things and in this podcast they don’t sugar coat it...see what I did there? :) They get down to the source of the issue and figure out how to take each problem on head on.
The two episodes I have related to the most have been “When Friendships End” and “My Best Friends Wedding.” These two episodes aren’t as deep or complicated as some of the other episodes, but I relate to them because of where I am in my life right now. Each of the people asking for advice are females my age. If you are a female in your late twenties (I think that is the first time I have ever had to use that! I am so used to saying early twenties!) I think you would be able to relate.
“When Friendships End” is about just that, when you lose a friend. I am very passionate about my friendships. I am passionate about any of the relationships in my life, but right now I have a very solid relationship with Mike and my family, and the tricky thing about friendships are they are strictly voluntary. I recently had two of my closest friends go through a de-friending, so this episode hit close to home. I thought more about their situation during this episode than my own. I myself, however, can relate to this episode because I have had friendships in my life that have ended by just drifting apart, or by having to consciously make a decision to end the friendship. It is very hard for me to ever decide to end a friendship, but like the issues discussed in this episodes, friendships are a two way street. I have maintained friendships with people out of guilt because either I was their only friend or they were going through a rough time, and I didn’t want to let them down. I have had friends that I have discussions with and not once has that person asked me about my life. Again, these are all things they touch upon in this episode and it is something I very much can relate to and think anyone could.
The episode “My Best Friends Wedding” is my favorite episode of the podcast so far. When I was listening to “When Friendships End.” It was more about what my friends were going through or something I have been through, but not something I was going through in the moment. This episode I have replayed over and over again because I feel like it pertains to me; how I treat my friends and my relationships. In this episode a woman writes in about her best-friend getting married and how she isn’t sure that she is doing the right thing. Her friend had been in engagements before that have ended and has now rushed into another engagement after 6 months of being with a guy. I don’t relate to this particular situation, but what I do relate to is having a friend or someone in your life that makes a decision that you don’t agree with. You want to talk to them and discuss their decision, but you know their mind is already made up. I don’t find myself to be a very judgmental person by any means, but this episode made me realize that sometimes I do judge certain situations that I have no right to judge. People are going to make mistakes and all you can do is be there for them when they do. They not only discuss friendships but judgment and one thing that they say that I agree with so strongly is that when you judge someone it says much more about you than it does that person. It’s so easy to judge someone based on decisions that they make, but everyone has the right to make their own decisions. Who are we to think that we “know better?”
Right after hearing this episode my younger sister told me that she was breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, quitting her job and moving to California. Of course I was worried and wanted to talk to her about all these choices she was making. I wanted to make it very clear that I wasn’t judging her, but I wanted to understand her process. She didn’t really allow me to be apart of the process and I think it was because she didn’t want me to be. She wanted to make her own decision and lead her own life. Of course, as her older sister I wanted her to save her money before jumping into something like this, because that is what I did and it worked for me. I am a completely different person though and what works for me isn’t necessarily what will work for her. I also treat my relationships completely different than she does. I am an external processor and I like discussing decisions before I make them. I don’t usually make a decision and then tell those closest to me. I like to discuss the process. I also want those closest to me to call me out when they don’t agree with me. Of course I don’t want them to call me out on everything I do, but if someone thought I was making a terrible mistake I would hope that they would comfortable enough to tell me. Like they discuss in this episode, to me that is a sign of intimacy and closeness with the people I truly care about. Does it mean I am going to listen…maybe I will maybe I won't, but I want them to know that they can tell me that they don’t agree with me and I am not going to hold it against them. Cheryl says, “I don’t agree with every choice you’ve made but I do hold you in unconditional positive regard.” That is how I feel about those closest to me. One thing I really struggle with is getting over invested in other people's decisions. I always feel like the stakes are much higher than they actually are.
Another thing they discuss that I think we all can relate to as well is when you feel competitive or jealous of a friend. There is a fine line, I find, in relationships to being happy for your friends and feeling envious and sometimes resentful. I have been on both sides of that for sure, and have found that as you get older you realize that everyone’s circumstances are different. I also took anytime I felt envious of someone as a learning experience.(Which they talk about in the podcast Happier that will be another blog post) Again, who am I to judge someone based on their circumstances in relation to my own. When you are envious of someone you can ask yourself why are you envious of that person? What is it that they have that you want? Is it something that you can get or achieve? How can you use this as an opportunity to grow?
This episode was also very special to me because another one of my favorite books is by Lucy Grealy called “Autobiography of a Face.” It is an autobiography she wrote while she was going through jaw cancer. It completely changed her appearance and she wrote about how others treated her because of how she now looked. It’s an incredible book and I highly recommend it. The sad thing about this (beware spoiler alert) is that after reading the book I found out that Lucy had actually passed away. Not due to her cancer but her addiction to painkillers. On this episode of Dear Sugar they have Lucy’s best friend and writer Ann Patchett on the show and she speaks to her relationship to Lucy. She mentions that there are very few cases where we can change the courses of someone's life. One thing she says that I really think we can all relate to is that we bare witness to eachothers lives. We have to decide if we can bare witness to someone's life and love them through it. Friendship is about being loving, kind and honest as we can bare to be at any given moment.
As you can see I really love this podcast! So check it out! Enough rambling about my top 2 favorite episodes! The next rambling will be about the podcast Happier. It's an incredible podcast based on the book The Happiness Project. More to come! What are your favoriet podcasts?
Some of my favorite Dear Sugar Quotes
“Living in the ghost of my mother’s anxiety”
“There is movement forward in seeking.”
“Forgiveness is the only way out.”
“The hard thing is that you have to do all the work and the beautiful thing is that you get to do all the work.”
“Forgive him without his cooperation or permission.”
“You have to listen to your truth.”
“Step into your truth and then come what may.”
“Your heart gets bored with your mind and it changes you” John Prine
“Welcome to the muddled middle, where we all live.”
“When we really love with a deep generosity of spirit what we can do is love all the people who made us the people we are,and love who they are.”
“Thank you I love you and I release you into your real life.”
“We had to let them go so we could step into real life.”
“She feels like a dress that I’ve outgrown.”
“Its not your fault you have it more together.”
"Don’t let people make you feel guilty for what you have accomplished."
“Maybe they don't have the burden of introspection”
“When we judge people it tells us about ourselves.”
“We all have judgmental feelings about the people we love, put those aside, those aren’t about your friends they are about you.”
"Separate your own judgment from that conversation. I don’t agree with every choice you’ve made. I don’t agree with all your opinions of the world and your life and my life. But I do hold you in unconditional positive regard."
“Don’t get too freaked out about people making mistakes.”
“You can’t call off someone’s personality.”
“Tone is everything.”
“We can get over invested in the mistakes our friends make.”
“Divest herself of the idea that she is going to be a prime player in her friend's decisions.”
“There are very few cases that we can change the courses of someone’s life.”
“Sometimes they are right and you are wrong.”
“Friendship is not possession.”
“Sometimes friendships in your 20s are hard.” “They are intense.” You are learning to be friends as an adult. Sometimes you have to step back.
Ann Patchett-On Lucy Grealy
“In a sense it was written. She was on her journey."
“The Question wasn’t whether I could effect it or change it. The question was whether or not I could bare witness to it.”
“I can’t change it but I can love you through it.”
“People aren’t tapestries and you can’t pull out the threads you don’t like. If you do everything falls apart.”