Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking to people about what advice they wish they could have given their younger selves. Below is a distillation of some of their wisdom:
- Don’t worry about whether people like you. Just be yourself with good intentions and strive to live an ethical life.
- Align yourself with the truth. People and relationships will come and go, but your integrity is permanent.
- Be honest with yourself, especially when it hurts.
- Cultivate courage. Being brave doesn’t mean you won’t be afraid; it means you’ll try to do the right thing in spite of fear.
- Ask for what you want and need, in personal relationships and business.
- When you are grown, insist that your relationship with your parents is an adult one in which you accept and respect each other as you are. If this is not possible, the relationship is destined to cause pain, and you must decide the degree to which you will allow it to be part of your life.
- Be kind as often as possible, including to yourself. Being kind to yourself will require you to face the person in the mirror and to make some changes from time to time!
- When someone has hurt your feelings, choose the right moment, then tell them so.
- When you do something wrong, don’t defend yourself. There is no “but” in an apology.
- Be kind without expectation of receiving kindness in return. Do it for its own sake.
- Don’t gossip and be wary of people who do. If you meet someone who speaks ill of others, it is only a matter of time until they speak ill of you.
- Keep confidences. If someone confides in you, don’t repeat it or allude to it to anyone else, ever.
- Don’t tell anyone anything that you want to be kept secret.
- Beware of flatterers and name-droppers. They nearly always have ulterior motives.
- Be as self sufficient as you can possibly be.
- Learn to enjoy solitude and how to calm yourself.
- Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement. Each party has to give 100%.
- You can either be “right” and “win” arguments, or you can actually love someone. Love is non-judgmental and has no need for dominance.
To be continued…