The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a book that was released in February 1999 but still stands the test of time 25 years later. Chbosky wrote from Charlie’s perspective, a young teenager starting high school and going through the turmoil of growing up and coping with trauma. The book follows Charlie as he navigates the inevitable ups and downs of being young, and he gives the reader valuable lessons as he goes. For a glimpse of some of these relevant lessons learned, keep reading!
So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
This first lesson is just the reality of growing up and going through life. Sometimes we are both happy and sad without understanding why, but that’s okay. We experience mixed emotions often and don’t always know how to process them. When we are going through something challenging, we can get lost in trying to figure out our emotions. Sometimes we just need to let go and accept our jumbled feelings.
Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
The world spins madly on, doesn’t it? This one especially is for anyone who is feeling like the earth keeps spinning without them. The reality is that we are constantly changing, and life keeps on happening no matter what. Growing up, you learn that friends disappear and everything changes nonstop. It is up to us to keep moving with the flow of life.
We accept the love we think we deserve.”
And now, my personal favorite quote from the book that changed my life at such a young age. This one is for those who are navigating love and what it may look like. Love looks different to us all, and we accept the versions that we think we deserve, whether it be good or bad. Unfortunately, some may truly believe they deserve the type of love that does not nurture them, and so that is what they welcome. Others learn that we all deserve the best kind of love because we do deserve to be nurtured.
So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
This lesson is important for absolutely anyone. Whether or not you’re grappling with life and decision-making, this one can help people realize that we can still try to move forward and make better choices in the future. We have no control over the past, but we can dictate where we go from here. We still have the opportunity to make better calls for the future that make us feel better about what we can’t control.
Enjoy it. Because it’s happening.”
To put it simply, just enjoy life. It is happening to us all and we must learn to embrace it as it is occurring. Often we get caught up in the past or the future and we don’t stop to enjoy life as it is happening. Charlie teaches us to delight in the present and participate in the now. If there’s anything we must learn, it is this.
We didn’t talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough.”
Sometimes we just need somebody’s company. You don’t have to discuss the serious stuff nor engage in the small talk, you just want their presence. This can be enough to make someone feel less alone. We should always keep this in mind. We often get caught up in trying to make situations less awkward or too serious by initiating small talk or a therapy session, respectively. People just need your company most times.
And all the books you’ve read have been read by other people. And all the songs you’ve loved have been heard by other people. And that girl that’s pretty to you is pretty to other people. and that if you looked at these facts when you were happy, you would feel great because you are describing ‘unity’.”
This is exactly how we feel about books: unity. Humans are all very distinct, but we stay connected in the books that we read, the music we share, and the movies we love. This is a beautiful sentiment because it describes the feeling we each share without realizing it. It’s a valuable lesson to see unity in the little everyday things.
There is an abundance of lessons learned from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it was difficult to pick just seven. However, these seven lessons are powerful enough on their own. We can learn plenty from the main protagonist, Charlie. His young age gives him a raw wisdom that we can all learn from. Teenagers do maintain a certain kind of wisdom that we don’t see as adults, and it’s important to hear them, especially when they are struggling. We can learn much by simply listening to each others’ stories.
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