10 Lessons Learned from Anne Lamott’s Small Victories

Anne Lamott's Smal lVictoriesAnne Lamott is one of America’s wisest, most humane, and most quotable writers. In previous books, such as the classic manual for writing and life Bird By Bird and Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, she helped readers make sense of their conflicted relationships to themselves, to their families, and even to a 21st-century God. Her latest collection, Small Victoriesapplies the same insight and humor to becoming a grandmother, dating (relatively) late in life, and more. Here are 10 lessons to take from the book:

1. “The self-destructiveness of not forgiving people, and the reminders that this usually doesn’t hurt other people so much as it hurts you. In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.”

2. “I naturally prefer the company of people who hold grudges, as long as they are not held against me.”

3. “Resentments make even the best of us feel superior. I’ve always found a kind of comfort in them.”

4. “Looking up is the way out.”

5. “Nothing can be delicious when you’re holding your breath. For something to be delicious, you have to be present to savor it, and presence is in attention and in the flow of breath.”

6. “I had to learn that life was not going to be filling if I tried to scrunch myself into someone’s idea of me, i.e., sophisticated enough to prefer dark chocolate. I like milk chocolate, like M&Ms.”

7. “All I ever wanted since I arrived here on earth are the same things I needed as a baby, to go from cold to warm, lonely to held, the vessel to the giver, empty to full.”

8. “Sometimes grace is a ribbon of mountain air that gets in through the cracks.”

9. “The good news is we’re all doomed, and you can give up any sense of control.”

10. “It is so lovely to celebrate the life of a person who is still here, a chance to shine our best light on her as she shone her light on us, before the light goes out.”

Small Victories is available now.

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