We all need a little help and a little inspiration sometimes and some pieces of advice we are given can stay with us and reverberate in our lives long after they have been offered to us. Parks and Recreation is not only an amazing source of laughs but it is also packed with heartfelt moments and wise words that are in tune with many of the struggles we all go through. Some of these words have helped me in the past so it’s only right that I pass them on. In no particular order, here is some of the best advice given in the show and a brief description of what it means to me:
Donna Meagle- ‘I know that you can fix your attitude. Do you wanna go home and feel sorry for yourself about a man you didn’t wanna marry or do you wanna go talk to that cute boy that’s been looking at you and give him your number?’
Moral of the story: We are all dealt shit cards from time to time. That’s life. Dating is hard and rejection is oftentimes what we get instead of love and affection. The thing is, although we can’t control what happens to us sometimes, we can always choose what attitude to have in face of those situations. And there is massive power in that. Donna reminded me that sometimes, all you need is a change of attitude, not because it will change your situation but by acting in a way that makes yourself proud you can make yourself feel super strong, independent and awesome. All we have to ask is ‘What kind of person do I want to be?’. The idea is that we can either make a problem of the problem with our negative thinking or we can fix our attitude and get back in the game stronger than ever. After all, out of all the struggles you’ve ever gone through, you survived 100% of them, that has to feel good! Also, when we are so busy focusing on whats wrong with our lives, we run the risk of becoming blind to great opportunities around us. If we stop chasing the wrong things, we allow the right things to catch up with us and we end up having a lot more fun.
Leslie Knope– ‘In times of stress or moments of transition, sometimes it can feel like the whole world is closing in on you. When that happens, you should close your eyes, take a deep breath, listen to the people who love you when they give you advice, and remember what really matters.’
Moral of the story: It’s easy to let life get the best of you. Often we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and it all feels like too much to handle. Leslie rightfully reminds us that its ok to stop. Once in a while it is necessary for our mental health to stop and ask ourselves if we are happy, if we like where we are and what we do and the people we surround ourselves with. If your house is unclean, you clean it, it’s that simple. The same goes in terms of our minds. We need to do ‘cleaning’ and ‘organising’ there too in order to help us get back on track, to help us focus on whats important to us, to help us to feel centred. Its a vital but often overlooked fact.
Chris Traegar- ‘How we deal with tragedy defines who we are. You are not going to let this deflate you. You are going to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and we will figure out what the next step is’.
Moral of the story: How long you stay down is completely up to you. You can either let tragedy define you or you can rise and stand proud on your own two feet. These are the most important character building moments and the moments we will remember the most. So when that grade doesn’t go as planned or you don’t get that internship you wanted or any other disappointment that leaves you feeling shit, its important to shake it all off. There is plan B and plan C and plan Z. Baby steps are allowed, even encouraged, you just can’t remain down.
Ron Swanson- ‘Live your life as you want, but don’t confuse drama with happiness’.
Moral of the story: In this day and age it’s becoming more and more normal for things and relationships to be very superfluous. We get sidetracked trying to get the most likes or post the perfect picture. We want more and more things and when we get them we just want something else: we can never be satisfied. People try to replace people with other people because they are bored. Everything is disposable. Kindness, authenticity, honesty and genuine connections are overl
ooked in place of these things, but at the end of the day if we chase the latter we end up with nothing to show for. Ron alerts us that although it’s easy to make this mistake, we really really shouldn’t.
‘Don’t start chasing applause and acclaim. That way lies madness.’
Moral of the story: You gotta do what’s right even when no one is doing it, even when you don’t get anything to show for it but your own peace of mind. After all, the only approval you ever need is from yourself.
‘You know what makes a good person good? When a good person does something bad, they own up to it. They try to learn something from it and they move on.’
Moral of the story: We all make mistakes, we hurt people unintentionally, we all disappoint others. We can choose to be better and set the bar higher for ourselves. It is ok to err, to err is human. However, we also need to be able to recognise and own up to those mistakes and try to be better- that is the whole point of living. If we believe we are unable to change, that will become our reality, not because we can’t change but precisely because we believe that we can’t.
April Ludgate- ‘I’m going to tell you a secret about everyone else’s job: No one knows what they’re doing. Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out. And you will, too, because you are awesome and everyone else sucks.’
Moral of the story: Most people are faking it. Maybe we all are. We don’t have it all figured out and although it might be easy to look at someone’s life and think they have it all together and to feel bad about ourselves, the thing is, we never know what’s just underneath the surface, carefully hidden from our vision. You gotta believe in yourself just as much as the people who love you do and if necessary, fake it ’till you make it.
Donna and Tom- ‘Treat yo’self’
Moral of the story: You deserve to be spoiled sometimes. That is not to say that we gotta spend all our student loans on clothes and alcohol (do as you please but I wouldn’t recommend it) but we all need a little care and a little love and who better to do that than the person who knows all your innermost desires and wishes: you. Don’t wait for a romantic partner, your parents or your friends to spoil you and treat you like a queen or king, you have the power to treat yo’self, so do so.
All images courtesy of NBC