Advice is often thrown around like confetti at a wedding; some of it sticks and some doesn’t. As someone who considers herself a relatively good advice giver but also often minorly hysterical about one thing or another, I have rather a lot of titbits stored away in my mind. Of course I don’t always live by it (does anyone?) but I thought I’d share some of the best things people have told me.
Don't Drown In A Glass Of Water: This particular phrase was told to me by my boyfriend, on one of the many occasions that I started to freak out over a little thing that didn’t really matter. Whenever you find yourself getting worked up over a matter that doesn’t deserve your attention, say this to yourself and it will really put things into perspective. Plus I always imagine a mini me floating in a cup and the thought makes me giggle, pulling me completely out of the menial worries that had been crowding my mind. In the words of my favourite disney princess: let it go.
Disconnect To Reconnect: Another one from Mr. Liza, I think when he grew fed up of me posting a picture of every meal we ate out together on Instagram. I, like most bloggers, love social media and I want to make a career out of it in the non-profit sector. But sometimes it’s good to put the phone away and really talk to someone. I am guilty of chatting to people whilst scrolling through Twitter and not really paying attention, so I often have to remind myself to do this, but I feel better every time I do. And why not use this to make a difference to others as well as yourself? With UNICEF’s new app you can give people in the developing world water. For every fifteen minutes you don’t use social media, one of their sponsors will donate a whole day’s worth of water. In class? That could be anywhere from four to twelve days of water, and you’ll learn more. Out for dinner? Have even more fun and play the bill-game: place everyone’s phone on the table in a stack and the first to remove their’s pays the bill! Between you you’ll rack up a whole heap of water for someone who really needs it, and you’ll have a better time together.
This one comes up for me time and time again. How often are we downright mean to ourselves, yet despair when we see a friend doing the same? Whenever I get into a self-hatey mood, where I berate myself for everything, I think of someone I love and how I’d treat them if they had done or were the same. Time and time again I realise how insignificant what I think is wrong is, and I start to love myself more. So what if you don’t have a flat stomach? I bet you don’t think any worse of your bestie if she doesn’t.
"Only Compete With Yourself"
I am the worst for comparing myself to those around me, feeling inferior and insignificant because of all their amazing achievements. The thing I have come to realise, after a year and a half of being surrounded by some of the most ridiculous and incredible overachievers you could possibly imagine, is that I’m usually doing the best with who I am. And if I’m not, then that’s what I want to change. I don’t use this as an excuse to be lazy, or to not aim to be the best I can, but rather to be proud of myself and recognise my strengths and my limits. Last semester I completely overcommitted and I suffered for it – other people may have been able to handle all that I had taken on but I couldn’t and no amount of success or admiration was worth the exhaustion and suffering of my mental health. Compete with yourself, but accept your limitations and don’t beat yourself up about it (see above).
"Invest In People Who Invest In You"
Friendships are so important to me, but I have had more than one toxic friendship in my time. Learning who to invest in can be incredibly hard, but it makes for a happier life. I have some incredible people on multiple continents that I count as very dear friends and they make me a better person for being in my life, and I hope I do the same for them. Surrounding yourself with people who build you up and support you is the best thing you can do. No matter how hard it is, let go of people who bring you down.
I hope some of this is helpful to you. It’s taken me a long time to understand the value in these, and I still have a lot to learn. But I’m going to keep trying, and I hope you do too.