Sound Advice

For what it’s worth, the following is a list of pearls – advice I’ve received over the last so many years.

Some was delivered by a caring family member or a dear friend.

Some was gleaned from a magazine article or a self-help book.

Some was uncovered while searching the internet in the wee hours.

Some was initially ignored.

These are the most useful words that I turn to when I don’t know where else to turn.  These aren’t direct quotes, but paraphrases of helpful bits that have gotten us through.

  • If it’s hard to get, it’s hard to keep.
  • If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, run screaming in the other direction.
  • Your gut always tells the truth.
  • If you have to ask him to listen, he’s not interested.
  • If she says she doesn’t have time, what she’s really saying is that she doesn’t want to.
  • Respect is not a given, it should be earned.
  • Respect has nothing to do with age.
  • It doesn’t need to be this hard.
  • If you want mail, you’ve got to send mail.
  • If you want friends, you have to be a friend.
  • It’s okay if everyone doesn’t like you.
  • It’s okay to not like everyone.
  • If you aren’t feeling good about yourself, it might be that you are surrounded by assholes.
  • Good sleep is better than all the makeup in the world.
  • Humor can be found in almost every situation; find the funny part and quit dwelling on the negative.
  • They can treat me whatever way they choose; I can choose to accept that treatment or not.
  • Keep talking until you find someone who understands and believes you – they are out there.
  • Kids are wise old souls in new bodies – treat them accordingly.
  • There’s no point in talking the talk if you aren’t planning to take some action.
  • There’s nothing wrong with going to bed early.  (See above on sleep and makeup.)
  • Many things can be fixed with a hug and good music.
  • We cross paths for a reason – it’s okay if we don’t stay on the same path forever.

*Share your favorite advice in the comments below.  Let’s compile a fabulous list.

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  1. From the wall at my yoga studio (where I belly dance, not go to yoga classes):

    It always works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end.

    Great group of quotes! Fabulous!

  2. I carried a wrinkled old piece of paper in my purse for years. I needed the reminder… Needing approval is tantamount to saying, your opinion of me is more important than my opinion of myself. Spot on.

  3. Teresa,

    Good one! I have heard that one, too.

    Thanks for sharing. ;)

  4. Mom,

    Excellent! Wish you’d shared that with me, oh… 40 some years ago. ;)

  5. I did. Remember, you weren’t listening 40 years ago. You sighed and rolled your eyes a lot. Maybe I deserved it, hey?

  6. I love this post Jesse. These are such great lessons to remember and reflect on. I am not sure if you have ever read Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. I carry a copy of this poem with me always. These words ring loudly to me. I think it, too, carries sound advice we should always remind ourselves. I posted below:

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

    Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

    You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive God to be; and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

  7. Mom,

    Well, I don’t know if you deserved it, but I do remember being really good at the eye rolling.

    Don’t tell Jen, K?

  8. Kira,

    I got chills reading that. That has been on my list of things to read one day.

    Thank you SO much for taking the time to share it here.


  9. Glad you found truth in its words. I get chills every time I read it as well. It was given to me by a former teacher of mine years ago. She gave each member of the class a different poem, haiku, or excerpt of a story. It has been with me ever since. I tend to read it over, in moments where I need sound advice. Its words speak volumes. I am glad you have finally gotten to read it. I think every person should, especially women.

  10. Just do your best; that’s all anyone can ask of you. (From Dad. It used to bother me as a kid. I was never sure if I knew what my best was. Now that I am older, with some experience behind me, and my Dad gone, I find that coaching very reassuring.)

  11. Hi Jesse–
    I especially like the one about treating children as old souls in new bodies. I wish more people did that.

    My list changes over time. Here are my current mantras.
    Fear not!
    I don’t have to live my life the way other people expect me to.
    My feelings are important, too.
    When you are vulnerable, your true beauty comes through.
    You have everything you need. (Right now).
    Breathe. Watch. Wait. Love. Learn.
    Become your own revolution.

  12. Kira,

    Thank you. ;)

  13. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for sharing your sound advice. Your dad was a wise man.

    My gut knows when I’m doing my best. That’s always how I can tell, but I didn’t realize that until recently.

  14. Alyson,

    Oh, I knew you’d have some wise words to share.


    I especially liked, “My feelings are important, too.”

  15. Oh, how I love lists!

    ~People communicate through their behaviors. Words often don’t mean much.

    ~Denial can be as deadly as a herd of charging elephants.

    ~Children are little versions of their parents. An issue with the child is an issue with the parent.

    ~When you find yourself complaining or feeling sorry for yourself, go pick up the day’s newspaper and be grateful that it’s not your life story on the front page.

    I could go on and on…:).

  16. Linda,

    These are wonderful!

    I especially like the one about people communicating through their behaviors.

    Oh, and the one about kids being little versions of their parents. SO true!

    Thanks for contributing to our list. ;)

  17. I LOVE this list and everyone’s input!!!

    Here a few favorites by which I try to live:

    “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Churchill

    “He will cover you with His feathers,
    and under His wings you shall find refuge;
    His faithfulness shall be your rampart.” Psalm 91:4

    “Leap and the net will appear.” Zen

    “Keep trying to do what is necessary, then what’s possible and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”
    ― St. Francis of Assisi

  18. Lynn,

    Oh girl!

    You set the bar high – in a very good way!!

    My favorite of yours is “Leap and the net will appear.” It always has for us.

    Thank you. ;)

  19. I love the beautiful M. Ehrmann poem too along with all the advice/insights. I have to add one of my favorite ways of telling my kids my limits.

    When they start to tell me too much at once, I tell them “only so many penguins will fit on my iceberg, and then they start to fall off.” The credit for that fabulous word picture goes to a very dear friend of mine! Thanks R!!!

    All the best to all of you . . .

  20. This is awesome, Jesse! I recently saw Oprahs top 20 “What i know for sure” Here’s a link…

    My very fave (and one I wish I woulda learned a LOT earlier in life!) is: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” -Maya Angelou

    Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! :)



  21. Lynn,

    That’s great about the penguins. I think most kids – at least mine – love a visual. That really gets the point across.

  22. NM,

    That’s a great one. I wish I’d heard it – and listened – a long time ago, too.

    Thanks for including the link.

    Hope you have a fine weekend, too. ;)

  23. One of my favourites that convinced me to leave was – ‘If you do not change direction, you will end up where you are going.’

    It was on a book mark I received from buying the kids a Goose Bumps book from the Book Depository…

  24. Lisa,

    That quote is a favorite of mine as well. It’s a bit like a slap in the face or a much-needed wake up call.

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