Most of the time people throw advice around without being responsible enough. When you are down, they tell you to “buck up.” When you’re in the throes of grief, they tell you to “Get over it." A lot of times they give you advice about things that they haven’t learned to do themselves.
I call that being insensitive. All that energy to point out your flaws and make you better temporarily makes them feel good about themselves. It is much easier to shift the spotlight on you than to shine the light on their own flaws and misgivings.
Having said that, I can’t completely disregard every single word of advice I’ve been given. A few have been surprisingly helpful, getting me through some of the very tough times that I have had so far in life.
What wise words changed my life? In this article I’ve put together the advice for those who are looking for ways to bring a bit more hope and happiness in their lives. And here they are;
Learn New Things
In middle school, I had to create a project about myself. It was a 10-page book covered with colorful origami flowers I made and filled with old photos and little tidbits of information about me. It was the perfect project for that stage of life-a great excuse to self-explore without feeling self-absorbed. I learned a lot as I compiled that book. I found out how many pounds I was when I was born-6 (the one time you don’t mind sharing your weight). And one piece of advice that stuck with me since then.
My teacher said, “Never pass up an opportunity to try new things.” This motivated me to try out for my high school play, start writing for this magazine, attend a college away from home and family, travel to places, try skydiving, and more. It wasn’t my only motivation to venture out and try new things, but whenever I was on the fence and doubted whether or not I should do something, I couldn’t help but remember what my teacher said. And I always end up feeling grateful that I followed it.
Make Time to Laugh
One of my really good friends also taught me an invaluable lesson. While we were laughing at dinner, she grabbed me and said, “I’m so glad you are here and we are laughing. It’s not good to just have long faces all the time. It’s so good to laugh, yeah.” She was in that difficult stage of Leukemia where she was beginning to realize that she didn’t have long until she was gone. Her words taught me how vital laughter is, even in the midst of an insidious disease and a seemingly hopeless future, she reminded us of that.
A Little Fear is Good
This one came to me in a book. I don’t recall the exact title or quote. But I do remember what it said about fear. Instead of perceiving fear as something that should be avoidable, the book talked about seeing in it an opportunity. Whenever you’re afraid, expect that you’re going to learn something new. I remember that every time I have to give a speech or travel outside of my comfort zone, or even start a conversation with someone that I have just met. Instead of wanting to crawl under a rock and hide, it lures out my inner warrior and reconnects me with my sole and soul purpose for being here-to learn, to grow and to fully live my life.
I am sure all of us need something different to motivate us because we are all different people, and I am sure there are a lot more advices that I have gotten through these years however; the three that I just talked about have made a lasting impression, and have helped me be who I am today.