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Amy Poehler’s Best Advice for Girls

Amy Poehler turns 41 today, and while it would be easy to celebrate her achievements as one of television’s most delightful people or comedy’s shining stars, how’s about a doff of the cap to Amy Poehler, dispenser of sage wisdom to teenage girls? Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is a YouTube channel featuring interviews, profiles, and advice; much of the latter is dispensed on the regular “Ask Amy” feature, informal webcam videos in which Poehler answers questions posed by the channel’s viewers. The “Ask Amy” videos are charming glimpses into her life, often shot in her Parks & Rec trailer or home after a hard day’s work (as evidenced by the low light, hushed voice to keep from waking her kids, and even, occasionally, her pajamas), and they’re frequently very funny (“It is Alfred Lord Tennyson who said it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, and if you’re not familiar with Alfred Lord Tennyson, he is a very famous, um, hip-hop producer, you should check out his work”). But the advice offered is heartfelt and genuine, so we combed through the 28 “Ask Amy” videos thus far and selected the best bit of advice from each.

Love

“Vulnerability is the key to happiness. Vulnerable people are powerful people. Opening up your heart and sharing it means that you’re going to get so much love in your life — and it’s the way to true connection and real purpose and meaning in your life, in my opinion… Celebrate the idea that you’re in love, or you love the idea of being in love, and you’re not afraid of the idea of being in love… The alternative is just too sad. The idea of not reaching out, and swinging big.” [via]

Expressing your love

“Opening your heart and being courageous and telling people that you care about them or like them or that you think they’re special only makes you a better, bigger, kinder, softer, more loving person, and only attracts more love into your life.” [via]

Loving yourself

“You become more attractive when you love yourself. You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are.” [via]

News and debate

“Education is power, it changes your whole life, it can create a life for yourself. So the more educated you are, the more you learn about what you care about, you become a more caring person. And if you can speak about what you care about to a person you disagree with, without denigrating or insulting them, then you may actually be heard. And you may even change their mind, or they may change yours.” [via]

Quiet and solitude

“Take quiet moments when you need them. Tell your friends that you need them and not to read so much into them. And if your friends don’t understand, that’s okay. The way that they deal with things and feel things is different than the way you do, and that is what makes you all so special.” [via]

Struggling

“We like to do things that we’re good at. When we’re younger, we’re drawn to things that we do well because it helps us figure out what kind of person we want to be.” [via]

Apologizing

“Apology is not defeat. It’s not admitting that someone else is right. It’s just actually quite powerful. It’s showing that you’re vulnerable, and that you’re a supple person who can admit when they’ve made a mistake and therefore can also be trusted when they say, ‘I’m not sorry about that’ or ‘I don’t want to apologize for that.’” [via]

Courage and confidence

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right—because I think there’s something inside of you and inside all of us, when we see something, and we think, ‘I think I can do that. I think I can do it. But I’m afraid to.’ Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zones, taking risks like that… that is what life is.” [via]

Being vulnerable

“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there. It’s very hard to be vulnerable. But those people that do that are the dreamers and thinkers and creators and they’re the magic people of the world.” [via]

Protecting yourself

“I wonder if we could soften our hearts and minds and our eyes, and I wonder if we could give our eyes a break, and maybe try to see things in a different way — try to see things by reading about them or talking about them or listening. I don’t know, I kind of feel like my eyes need a break, don’t you? And if you do, then I guess my encouragement to you and to myself is to take it — that’s okay not to be looking at what everyone else is looking at, all of the time.” [via]

Decisions

“Most decisions aren’t final. Feelings change all the time; you can always change your mind. And taking risks and taking chances is what makes life so exciting because we never know what’s gonna happen. Every day something new comes our way. Isn’t that amazing?” [via]

Making mistakes

“When you do something wrong, the best thing you can do is just fix it. Just admit to it, and move on.” [via]

Talking to your parents

“A lot of parents get threatened when they hear their kids wanting something they don’t want or something that’s different from them. They feel like they’re being rejected, like their feelings are hurt. So you want to make sure that you don’t hurt their feelings when you tell them how you feel. You don’t want to make their views sound silly or stupid. You just want to talk about what you like, and you believe, and you want.” [via]

Growing up

“[Your father] doesn’t want you to grow up because you’re his little girl. And suddenly you’re turning from being his baby to being a young woman and it’s hard for him. So he might need you to go a little slow, and take it one step at a time.” [via]

Goodbyes

“Goodbyes are temporary, ecause no one ever really leaves, and nothing lasts forever. And if you can remember those two things—that people are always with us, because they’re in our hearts and in our memory, and the only thing we can depend on is change. If you can carry those two very different and opposite ideas in your heart and in your head, then you can treat yourself to allowing chapters to end.” [via]

Making new friends

“Any time there’s transition, or a new beginning, or a new start, it’s always a nice time to take a moment and take stock of what you need — what kind of people you want to attract in your life. You don’t have to reinvent yourself. You always want to be yourself. But now might be a special time where you want certain people in your life to nourish you in certain ways, so there’s a big wide opportunity in your life to try to attract those people in your life.” [via]

Tests and exams

“Don’t give up and don’t panic. Try your best on the tests, and that’s all you can do. Just kind of give it what you’ve got, and if something’s not working, just move on. Which I guess is good advice for life too.” [via]

Stress and productivity

“Just figure out what you can do today, and go to bed knowing that you’ve done everything you can.” [via]

Dealing with anxiety

“Breathe. Which I know sounds silly, but sometimes you’re only a few breaths away from feeling better. ” [via]

Body image

“There’s only like five perfectly symmetrical people and they’re all movie stars — and they should be, because their faces are very pleasing to look at. But the rest of us are just a jangle of stuff, and the earlier you learn that you should focus on what you have and not obsess about what you don’t have, the happier you will be.” [via]

Fighting

“Try to choose your words a little bit more carefully. I know it’s hard, sometimes we lose control. But if you can try to think about a way to be kind with your words, it may make a difference.” [via]

Crying

“Crying gets the sadness out, as they used to say on Free to Be, You and Me, which is an old lady reference that you should Google.” [via]

Empowerment (and fathers)

“Fathers do such a good job when they make their daughters feel like they can do anything. That’s what fathers are supposed to do: make their daughters feel loved and safe and strong.” [via]

Volunteering

What’s cool about volunteering is, once you become passionate about things, passion is what teaches us who we are and what we want our world to look like and the kind of people we want to have in our lives. So start figuring out what excites you, or what angers you, and fight for or against those things.” [via]

Standing your ground

“It’s never overreacting to ask for what you want and need.” [via]

Importance of sleep

“Sleep can be really magical because sometimes balance is only a day away. A good night’s sleep can suddenly change everything. You know, it can reframe how we feel about things and can open up our perspectives and make us feel like everything’s going to be okay.” [via]

Jealousy

“Sometimes jealousy masks itself as anger or resentment, and it’s good to just straight-up admit sometimes, ‘Man, I’m jealous of that.'” [via]

Embarrassment

“Everybody gets embarrassed, everybody has silly moments. And it’s in those moments that you kind of find out what you can stand, and what kind of person you are.” [via]

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