Is it just us or does it feel like advice is everywhere? Unsolicited, desperately requested, from the shows we watch, the books we read, the people we choose to surround ourselves with, the list goes on. One thing’s for certain: everyone’s got some to give. But, just because it’s there doesn’t mean that it’s always sound, or good for that matter. Right?
At the end of the day, we like to believe that advice is all about experience: one person sharing their pitfalls and big wins (and everything in between) in hopes of someone else’s situation ending differently. And, although advice can often feel like the annoying mosquito you just can’t seem to shoo, there’s often something beautiful and beneficial to be taken away if your heart and mind are in the right place to receive it. So, we asked those here at Bleu HQ to dish on the best piece of advice (or two) they’ve ever received. Could be simple, could be more complex — anything goes, really. Take it or leave it, here’s what they said, and be sure to share the gems you stand by. We’re all ears!
40-something, James Kicinski-McCoy: “Hmmm…I have received a lot of advice over the years: always moisturize, always wash your face before bed, eight hours of sleep a night, eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day, you know the ones. But, in all of the lessons I have been taught and told since I was a small girl up until now, I think there are two that outshine the rest. Two that I just wrote in my recent 40 Things essay, and apologies for repeating myself, but they are ones that I feel are deserving of being said again and again. When it comes to motherhood, speak to your children as you would like to be spoken to. This is one that I have practiced since the day I became a mother nearly 19 years ago, and although it’s sometimes difficult and there are times when tempers flare and emotions take over, it becomes second nature and I have found that it creates open and honest communication, which is a beautiful thing in parenthood. The second was advice given to me from my ex-mother-in-law many moons ago, and that is that changing your mind is the cheapest form of therapy. I have found that it truly IS (in most cases) and I practice this guidance day after day in all different scenarios in life.”
20-something, Meghann Stephenson: “I think something my mom always told me as a kid that stuck with me was that I was too smart to be bored. It really helps when I feel stuck since I’m a freelancer and often have to make my own schedule or even create work for myself.”
40-something, Sarah James: “The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is that when someone shows you who they are, believe them. It doesn’t matter what a person tells you, it’s their actions that prove who they really are. This advice has proven itself time and time again — even if I would much rather believe what the person is telling me! Don’t base your trust and expectations on people’s words.”
30-something, Kelly McIntosh: “So, I’m not sure if this is cheating, but the best advice I’ve ever received was from myself. I was born empathetic; too empathetic. I always had a shoulder, an ear, a heart for anyone and everyone. I listened and didn’t judge (and still don’t-ish), giving without ever expecting anything in return. This worked for decades, and somehow I was this happy, bubbly, everlasting altruist. The thing is: when you accept the role to take on negativity, it takes its toll after a while. And, in moments when I needed peace, others didn’t put me first because they’d been used to me putting myself second. This fueled my anxiety and eventually turned into depression. Me? The formerly happy kid whose goal in life was to laugh. That’s when I taught myself something I will follow for the rest of my life: ‘Protect your peace.’ Sounds simple enough, but it’s my leading mission in life now. I’ve learned the beauty of saying no, of choosing what I let affect me and knowing that it’s my responsibility to put me first because I am the only me I’ll ever have. And, by way of ‘protecting my peace,’ I’ve let go of some friendships, ended relationships, and quit jobs. I am immensely proud of the person I am today because I know what it took to get here.”
20-something, Tiana Lewis: “I’ve received some incredible advice over the years, mostly from my mother, but there’s a few solid nuggets that have shown up by way of friends, colleagues, and random passersby on the street. I think the one that always rings most true for me though — however cliche it may sound — is to trust your gut. That, and be kind to people.”
20-something Emma Geary: “Consistently remind yourself that ‘you’re doing the best you can.’ Sometimes, this small reminder puts things in perspective when I’m being too hard on myself or feel like I could be doing more to change a situation. In reality, I’m doing the best I can in a challenging time. No more, no less.”
40-something, Salomé Jouan: “I’ll share the two pieces of advice that have stuck with me for a long time: 1.) Keep doing the right things and you’ll get the results. This one is so important when you try to achieve something challenging and it takes longer than you expected to get to your goal. Whether it’s building a new business or weight loss, I always come back to it. If I keep doing what works, consistently, eventually I will get the results. 2.) Don’t try to mind read what people think. Very useful both in my personal and professional life. As a sales person I often get out of a meeting thinking: ‘Well, this person obviously did not click with me or what I have to offer’, and often times I am surprised that I would get a call back from the people I thought were the coldest. It also works the other way around when the warmest, most positive response never gets to the finish line or to signing a deal. After years of trying to figure things out, I simply let go now, and do my job the best I can with the most amount of skills and good intentions and then let people think what they will.”
30-something, Brooke Baxter: “Need to make a tough decision? Trust your gut. If you ever find yourself in a place where you can’t hear it then sit in silence and write a list of pros and cons until the answer becomes so obvious that you can’t ignore it. Take time with yourself and make sure that your mind and body are always connected. It’s the most important relationship.”
20-something, Megan Podwysocki: “I could tell you to never drink on an empty stomach, to wear sun protection every single day, and to never go to bed without taking your makeup off (for real though, just don’t do it), but the best advice I’ve learned so far is probably this: you can’t expect anyone to love you the way you deserve, the way you want to be loved, if you cannot love yourself first. I know how corny and obvious this sounds, but I’m amazed at how people (myself included, until fairly recently) try to bypass that very simple, yet essential rule of the universe. Self-love isn’t something you can fake with diets, expensive shopping habits, and a few face masks a week — let alone a relationship. Whatever blocks and resistances you refuse to face, whatever beliefs you have come to develop about yourself, will without a doubt manifest themselves into your current relationships, for better or worse. Get to know yourself independently of the people in your life. Accept and forgive whatever invisible grudges on yourself you may have accumulated over the years and understand that you are whole, all on your own.”