As graduations begin to sprout up all over the country, we’ll hear about wisdom given to young people about to start on the new journey in their post-college life. Most of the advice they’ll probably get is something we can all benefit from. But there are some other things they (and we) need to remember as well.
No one sat me down and gave me the “reach for the stars” advice I probably needed as a 20-something. My family worked hard. They talked about their lives as farmers, in factories, and raising kids. Somewhere along the line, I learned to figure out my own way.
But if I could have given myself advice back then, this is what I would have said.
Listen More Than You Talk
You know the old adage about having two ears and one mouth, but it’s true. Learning to hone the skill of listening will help you with misunderstandings with your coworkers, hurt feelings with loved ones, and problem solving with just about everyone.
Being a good listener always makes you likable. It’s a rare quality today. People fear that they won’t be heard, when perhaps more of us should fear that we won’t fully hear and understand what those closest to us are trying to say.
Show Up for Things You Agree To
There seems to be this new trend of people signing up for things, even volunteer-type fun things, and then not showing up. They claim they are honoring their body and their feelings when they’re tired and busy and can’t make it, but what they’re really doing is putting pressure on others.
If you agree to do something, do it. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to follow through, don’t.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness
I’ve always tried to be kind and do nice things, but it’s only recently that I was really intentional about it. I’ve been hearing people do random acts of kindness for a variety of reasons ranging from “just because” to a desire to add more gratitude to your life.
When you do a random acts of kindness, pay attention to the way you feel doing the act, not to how the person reacts. If you do something nice and they don’t appreciate it, shake it off. Move on and do something else and keep it up.
Then, forget about what you’re doing, because the only way to really develop a “kindness mindset” is to have it be part of your subconscious. Practice doing this and you’ll get there.
Take Ownership for Your Part in Things
Even if you grow up in a horrible situation and as a result do stupid things, you need to take ownership of it. Only you can change your situation, and that’s true no matter what you’ve been through. Taking ownership means that you’re aware of your own behavior, your own patterns, and the big and small things you do to provoke or continue a bad situation.
It’s also liberating. Taking ownership means that someone can’t throw something back in your face because you are already aware of it.
Tell Your Story But Don’t Be a Victim
There is power in sharing the lessons you’ve learned in life. There is power in telling the truth. But there is also a way to do this without making yourself a victim for your entire life. Even if you’ve been treated poorly or worse, you can tell your story in a way that shows you are a survivor.
Doing this helps you and anyone else who is experiencing the very thing you went through. You’ll show them it’s possible to live a healthy, beautiful life despite the actions of others.
Think Twice Before You Buy Things
This isn’t about budget per se (although thinking through your purchases does help you manage your money) but rather about intention. Why do you want this thing? Is it filling up some part of your life that can’t be filled with… food, bling, toys, etc.
It isn’t a bad thing to buy stuff. What’s bad is when you’re so reactionary to purchases that you begin to lose sight of what you really want. When you pause (even taking a day or more to think about it) you’ll see what you really desire versus what you thought you desired. (Big difference.)
Ask for and Accept Help
When you take ownership for your part in things (see the advice above) you can then ask for help when you see that you really need it. You will also not be whiny but truly ask for and accept help gracefully when you are stuck.
Be Careful of Labels
Both the kind you give to others (she’s stupid, he’s an idiot) and the ones people try and stick on you. There are some folks that want to put you in a neat little box that they can understand and perhaps even control. You don’t need to be a part of it.
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