Just like most people, I’ve received my share of “deconstructive” advice over the years. You know what I mean. The two cents worth that a busybody must impart with great sincerity and greater hypocrisy. You smile and nod your head with a vague look in your eyes. You bite your cheek to prevent spewing your desired response, and instead you politely say, “Thank you so much for your advice.” Then you go on ahead and ignore it all because you doubt the motivations of this “well meaning” advisor.
However, I do know that some people in my life bestowed wonderful tidbits of guidance and philosophy that carried me through rough times. Many of these pieces of advice came from unexpected sources when I least foresaw the impact of their wise words. I’ve grown to cherish these principles and thought I’d pass them along today. I don’t want to present these canons in any particular order because at different points in my life, they’ve taken on different degrees of importance.
1. Don’t have a television set in your bedroom. Couples don’t need that distraction. (This came from my mother right before I got married.)
2. Try everything twice because you may not like it the first time around. (My father’s marital advice. So many different levels to this tidbit . . .)
3. Never stay in a relationship if there’s physical or emotional abuse. (Both of my parents were very firm on this.)
4. You have your entire life to reach for goals and dreams. (My father finished college at the age of 48 and started a new career at 50.)
5. Enjoy each and every stage of childrearing and parenthood. (Remember, your relationship with your children lasts your entire lifetime.)
6. Sometimes, you just have to put your head down and plow through the bullshit by sticking out a bad situation until you get to the “good stuff.” (Delayed gratification leads to such tremendous rewards.)
7. Choice becomes a part of every day. We cannot often control what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to those events. (I’ve always had trouble with this because I want to try to control situations/events/people. You know, trouble shoot and prevent; but somehow that rarely works.)
8. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best. (These words guide my daily life now more than ever.)
9. You can spend your life miserable looking at what you don’t have, or you can spend your life happy with what you do have. (I can never understand why some people choose to be unhappy, but they do.)
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman