5 Things I've Learned from Dolly Parton

5 Things I Learned from Dolly Parton
5 things I learned from Dolly Parton


My husband’s grandmother is friends with Dolly, so I have been fortunate enough to meet her on several occasions, and I can tell you, what you see is what you get.  She is warm, funny, and fabulous.  Between my personal interactions with her and the wisdom I’ve gleaned from her songs, movies, and books, I’ve learned a few things about life.

1.  Make other people a priority

The first time I met Dolly I was nervous.  But she took my hands in hers, introduced herself and talked to me as if I were an old friend.  I’ll never forget how she made me feel that day.  She gave me her undivided attention, asked me questions about myself, and just made me feel… special.  It really made me think about how I treat others.  If this huge celebrity can show genuine interest in what I have to say, surely I can be more present in my interactions with other people.

Our first meeting.  I was so nervous!

Our first meeting.  I was so nervous!

2.  Be Genuine

One of my favorite Dolly quotes is,

"It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world."

A lot of people may seem like they have a shiny and beautiful life, but they’re not the real deal.  It’s not always easy to stay true to yourself, but keeping your integrity is always worth it in the end.

3.  Love and accept everyone

In a world full of sleazy journalism and internet trolls, I’ve never read one bad thing about Dolly Parton.  Everyone loves her, and I believe it’s because she loves everyone.  She’s very outspoken in her faith, and believes that it’s God’s place to judge, not hers.   

Showing some love to Lillian

Showing some love to Lillian

4.  Know your own worth

Many people in my generation are familiar with the song “I Will Always Love You” as Whitney Houston’s hit from the 90s.  But Dolly Parton actually wrote and recorded it way back in 1974 and it was a big hit for her.  So big, that Elvis Presley wanted to record it.  Dolly was ecstatic, but when she found out that he would only record the song if he got half the publishing rights, she turned him down.   

How many of us have stayed in a job that wasn’t rewarding?  A relationship with someone who wasn’t treating us with respect?  How many of us have wanted to do something but thought we weren’t good enough to try?  The example of Dolly turning down Elvis is empowering to me.  I can’t imagine what a tough decision that must have been.  But Dolly recognized her worth and stuck to her guns.  It certainly paid off for her years later, when Whitney Houston’s version of the song topped the charts.

5.  Don’t take yourself too seriously

Dolly is hilarious.  Her self-deprecating humor and witty remarks make her all the more endearing.  Surely you’ve heard her say,

"It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!"

Her attitude is a good reminder to take a step back and just laugh at yourself every once in a while.  Life is better with a happy heart.  

5 Things I Learned from Dolly Parton