In cookies, in the newspaper, a magic 8 ball, your horoscope—wherever you read them. If it uncannily matches whatever event is occurring in your life, you have the freedom to believe that the stars have aligned to create a cosmic shift that caused whatever event lead you to read said fortune. It is not because it is one of the 100 standardized, vague messages that could apply to the majority of the population. It is because it spoke to something in you.
2. Our hearts over our heads.
We’re submersed in a culture that tells us to be strong, independent people who don’t need anyone else’s approval, acceptance, or bank account. The tides have shifted to inform us that wanting to be loved is a symptom of being desperate, that fighting for the right to love isn’t as important as moving on. We’re supposed to take a baseball bat to their car, we can never ask them to stay. And yet, we’ve all but forgotten how to listen to our hearts. We can give people second chances, third chances, fourth chances. We can send the first text; we can truly believe that no one meant to hurt us. We can call them because we need to hear their voice, even if they are indifferent to ours. We can believe in the truth of our hearts.
3. Soul mates.
You are allowed to believe in soul mates. It may not be the man who holds the subway door for you, or the girl who takes your drink order—but they can still exist. You can make fleeting eye contact with a stranger and whole-heartedly believe you will see them again in 10 years, fall in love, and have children. You may not say these beliefs out loud—but you can still throw your entire being into knowing that some day they will come true.
4. Making coffee is an accomplishment that can last all day.
There are some days where getting out of bed is a feat, and making coffee is practically like winning an Oscar. Believe in the little things, and in the accomplishment of making a good cup of coffee for the one and only you.
5. Calories don’t count sometimes.
If you are the one who went to the trouble to make whatever it is you ate, the calories do not count. If an event is special, the calories don’t count. If you’re going through something really tough and genuinely know a cookie will make you feel better, the calories don’t count. Sometimes, the circumstances matter more than the nutrition facts.
6. Your dog does understand you.
People will think you’re crazy when they don’t understand. Your dog knows when you’re sad, when you need to cuddle—and one time you’re pretty sure he winked at you. Believe it.
7. A beggar will use your dollar to buy food.
Nay-sayers and non believers will tell you they’re going to spend your change on drugs, that dropping a dollar in their cup is continuing the epidemic of homelessness. They will tell you to just keep walking. These people may be right, economically speaking. These people may have a better understanding of the current market, of drug trade, of human nature—but you can still believe that the dollar you give will be an outlier, and that it will give somebody hope. You can believe in the goodness of the man on the street. You can at least try to make a difference.
Science is a phenomenon in itself, but that doesn’t change the fact that some things are inexplicable. Britney Spears circa 2007, anyone? That’s a clear-cut case of someone inhabiting a humans body to gain information about our people.
9. You can mourn after finishing a book.
Reading a book consists of inexplicable connection with people who do not exist in real life. It consists of words that move us, which correlate with our emotions with an eerie appropriateness. You can mourn the loss of these connections.
10. Everyone’s right to happiness.
Sometimes it is hard to decipher between being strong and being stubborn. It is hard to pinpoint the moment when you are not helping someone else but hurting yourself. It will probably feel pathetic, but you can hurt yourself to help someone else. It will happen. It may not be heroic to stand aside and take your own happiness into account, too. It doesn’t mean you’re selfish, because everyone deserves happiness—even you.