1. Better out than in
Equally applicable to both awkward conversations AND throwing up, this piece of advice has helped me get over so many anxiety-inducing situations I have literally lost count. I had someone thank me today for being the brave one, and addressing the elephant in the room, but the truth is that I was too scared to hold it in for any longer. And honestly – being scared got old when I was a teenager. By the time I hit 20, I was ready to change.
2. Treat others the way you want to be treated
Seems pretty straightforward, except not so much so when you’re full of self-loathing and you don’t think you really deserve all that much to begin with. The beauty of the Golden Rule is that it applies both ways – you would never treat someone with the same disrespect you show yourself, right? So… maybe it’s a good idea to stop.
3. If you’re not sure it would work, try anyway
Very few things have certain outcomes in life. So maybe you don’t know how a venture will turn out. There is a chance it will go up in flames if you try, there is a chance you will muddy along until you get bored, and there is a chance you will succeed. Guess what? If you don’t try it, the chances of it not happening are 100%.
4. Trust is hard to gain and impossible to retrieve
Shit happens in life, but don’t be that flaky bitch that promises to be there and then fucks off because it didn’t suit her anymore. Life’s hard, that’s too sad. Being untrustworthy is the biggest cliche in this paragraph.
5. Don’t get married if you can’t talk about being divorced
This came in a roundabout way, through all my well-meaning relatives who simply couldn’t wait for the day I was barefoot, pregnant, and chained to the stove. We romanticize weddings, but we are horrifically, terrifyingly blind to all the hard work and trust that goes into building a relationship. Can you imagine a person getting through an end of a deep partnership with you honestly? No? Then why the hell would you be entering it in the first place?
6. “You’re not like the others” is not a compliment
A person doesn’t disrespect a large group of people because of one bad experience; they disrespect them because they feel entitled to. So why would they make an exception for you? Trust me, you are not that special – and you shouldn’t want to be, either. Eventually, the novelty wears off, and they’ll disrespect you just like the others.
7. “No” is a complete sentence
Thanks, Gavin de Becker. Your book is still victim-blamey. Here’s a link to Captain Awkward if you want a good recap + some important commentary that everyone needs. But especially women.
8. You don’t have to love your colleagues, but you have to treat them with respect
One of the cringiest moments of my life gave birth to this advice, so please, please, please do yourselves a favour and DON’T repeat my mistakes. Of course, the best workplace is one where you and your colleagues get along famously, but that is not always the case, and you need to be able to handle yourself when you do not immediately “click” with someone. Be firm where you have to, but don’t degenerate those who disagree – you never know where life will take you in the future.
9. Financial ignorance is not cute
Knowing your money isn’t an add-on. Some debt is inevitable and difficult; avoiding talking about money altogether is not acceptable adult behaviour. Chalk it up on a childhood during a recession if you want – if I can spare you some pain, so be it. Figure out how to log into your bank account, keep an eye on your statements, try to save a little bit for a rainy day. It’s as good a place to start as any.
10. Strong people know when to walk away
Confrontations are hard, but they hold a chance for a resolution. Walking away doesn’t feel good. You are full of doubts and what ifs, and a desire to have the last word, just this one time! But the truth is, withstanding all the doubt and fear and anxiety and sticking to your guns takes energy and strength of character. Knowing when a battle will be worse than a retreat saved me from destroying myself.
11. No contact is golden
Chump Lady has a whole section on that, so I’ll let you read up in your time. But trust me when I say – my life got about one billion times better when I cut contact with some of the worse people in my past. You can do it too – trust me when I say that picking that wound won’t make it heal.
12. It’s okay not to please everybody
Disappointment is character-building. Other people would be well-served to remember that.