As drag icon RuPaul Charles launches GuRu, his new self-help book, Calvin Holbrook looks at how the entertainer is increasingly showcasing his spiritual side and the life lessons that can help you create your best, happiest and most joyful life. Amen! 


At the age of 59, original drag superstar RuPaul Charles is at the pinnacle of his long career following the runaway success of his VH1 reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, snatching a handful of Emmys, and bagging a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in the process. But he’s becoming just as well known for his spiritual advice too, recently launching GuRu, his self-help book cum memoir.

After living with depression and addiction issues, therapy-loving RuPaul hasn't only cultivated a thick skin but a unique spiritual style too, mixing up some Eckhart Tolle teachings with the no-nonsense advice of Judge Judy (his favorite TV show). So, here are eight essential life lessons we can learn from RuPaul at any age. 


1. Don't take life too seriously

RuPaul (full name RuPaul Andre Charles) says that this piece of advice is the most important he's ever been given, and he follows the life lesson to this very day. Our time on our little green and blue planet is small – and for about one third of it we’re snoozing – so it’s important to remember this and learn to enjoy our lives, whatever our emotional or financial situation.

By learning to laugh at life’s ups and downs, you can loosen the existential dread that often washes over us and grips us with fear. Let it all go, laugh out loud, and live in the present moment. If you struggle with being in the now, here are some mindfulness tips to help pin this down.

Fierce and fun: Ru says don't take life so seriously. © Facebook/RuPaul


2. “If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

“Can I get an amen?” As ends RuPaul Charles' most memorable – and significant – catchphrase. Indeed, the inward projection of love is an essential first step towards being able to love others. And science agrees with Ru: there’s evidence that feelings of self-hatred and worthlessness can cause problems in relationships, and those with low self-esteem often underestimate their partner's real love for them, as they feel they’re not worthy of real love. So, make sure you understand yourself: accept yourself and your body, perceived flaws and all. We’re all unique and deserving of love. 


3. Don't be held back by a limited perception of yourself

RuPaul often talks of the ‘inner saboteur’: the other side of us that does things to deny ourself growth, because we’re scared or think we’re not worthy of success. All so often in life, ‘I can’t’ holds supreme in our minds and we fail to even try, but as Ru’s life lesson suggests, if you stop listening to those self-sabotaging thoughts and focus, you can work towards your goals.

RELATED: How to stop self-sabotage – 5 techniques to try

Indeed, on Drag Race, Ru sets the drag queen contestants challenges that tests their fears and abilities, often helping them to uncover talents that were previously hiding within.  

Star power: Ru on the Hollywood Hall of Fame © Kathy Hutchins/

4. Don’t become bitter

Carrying on from that, sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to reach your life goals or dreams. With determination, self-belief and hard work, you can get there, but sometimes 'life' just gets in the way. Life lesson number four: if at first you don’t succeed, don’t get bitter, dust yourself off and try again.

“For RuPaul Charles, finding his ‘tribe’ – peers that share the same interests and passions – was the start of his journey into drag.”

Indeed, a 2011 study shows that persistent bitterness can make you physically unwell, so avoid it at all costs. As Ru Paul said in a 2015 interview for L/Studio: “You have every right to become bitter, and your mind will tell you, ‘F*** this, f*** all of this. Don’t take the bait. Continue to love yourself, because that’s where your power is.” Amen! 


 5. Find your tribe

Growing up – and even in adult life – many of us feel like we don’t quite fit in: we’re either too geeky, too feminine, too gay, too tomboyish, too tall, too short, too shy, too damn whatever. Many of us felt and still feel alone, but as recent science shows, loneliness can be a bigger health risk than smoking or obesity. 


RELATED: Understanding the power of friendship

For RuPaul, finding his ‘tribe’ – peers that share the same interests and passions – was the start of his journey into drag, success and discovering a whole new family. Know what turns you on in life and then seek out and surround yourself with people that share your passions and hobbies: with the help of like-minded friends, you can find inspiration, support, a beautiful sense of belonging and, hopefully, a whole lot of fun and laughter along the way. 

Two tribes: Ru with best buddy and colleague Michelle Visage © Kathy Hutchins/


6. “If they ain't paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind!”

Likewise, once you’ve found your tribe, learn to ignore anyone that criticizes you or your life – the ‘haters’ – what they think about you is none of your business. This life lesson also includes cutting out negative friends from your life: you know, the ones that are always having a huge life drama, moaning about everything or just eternally pessimistic. Science shows that negative people are toxic to our well-being, so leave them behind as you soar. 

RELATED: When to end a friendship... and how

GuRu: The self-help book from RuPaul Charles


7. Know your rhythm

In the L/studio interview, RuPaul says, “Know thyself. Know what it is that makes you, you.” This is perfect advice for those among us that feel lost or unsure of what direction to take with our work life. Sit down and take time out to be still and really think about who you are: your passions, what you're good at, and what you love to do (or would like to do).

Knowing yourself is a great way to find a career where you can blossom: Ikigai is a useful tool to help you discover what will make you happiest when you get out of bed each morning.

Some of the stars of Drag Race © Ron Adar/


8. “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag”

A key RuPaul catchphrase, the entertainer has been telling us for decades that we’re all born naked and the rest is drag, but we’re not literally talking hip pads and wigs here. This life lesson is a strong reminder of identity, and that drag is whatever guise we choose to adopt visually, whether that’s to stand out from the crowd or to fit in with it.

Maybe you’re a London banker donning a €2,000 sharp suit to look the part at work, a Herschel bag-wearing hipster, or a punk with a mohawk and Doc Martens. What we wear is a expression of our personality, but underneath all the façade, we’re all the same: beautiful flesh and bones on our own unique spiritual journey: basically, we are one!  ●

RuPaul's book GuRu is available now from Amazon and all great bookstores.

Main image: © Kathy Hutchins/ | The fine art of being: learn, practise, share

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LGBTQ | Self care | Mindfulness | Resilience


Written by Calvin Holbrook

Calvin edits the happiness magazine, makes gay artworkand loves swimming, yoga, dancing to house/techno, and all things vintage! Find out more.




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