Home > Life Is Messy > The #1 Best Advice I Was Ever Given

The #1 Best Advice I Was Ever Given


You would think that the best advice you’d ever received would change over the years. But I received my best advice as an adult many years ago, and it remains true and valuable today.

I have certainly received my share of advice over the years, whether requested or not. People just seem to want to tell me what to do, whether I’ve asked for advice or not. I’ve had strangers in parking lots walk up to me and make suggestions! But I’ve tried to live my life freely and openly, and there is sometimes a price for that.

It didn’t help my case that I was a member of a generation with little respect for authority figures (which, as it turns out looking at those in charge today, was very intuitive of us). I also, despite a party-girl reputation, have a tendency toward reclusive behavior, especially when hurt or rejected by others. And yet, I have a core group that has stayed with me over the years. One of them gave me this advice. Ready?

People always come first.

Surprised? Certainly not something you’d put on your front door plaque, though you might go to war for it. And we have. That simple phrase has grown and changed in my head so many times. It has stopped me from many angry words and slammed doors. It has caused me to think 5 years down the road and ponder where I’d be without the person currently frustrating me, and to consider how I’d feel in their shoes.

Those who know me are probably laughing. I have slammed doors and thrown things in frustration – thankfully not at people, but because of people. I am known to be a bit of a hot-head. I am very vocal in my opinions, and often offer my advice to others. I’ve even been know to say the hated words “I told you so,” but equally accept those words back when appropriate.

I cherish these words of advice because of what it has allowed me to experience and accomplish. You can’t feel uncomfortable once you realize it empowers empathy. I have shared with individuals the deepest levels of their sadness and grief. I have exchanged with friends our most embarrassing or heart-rending experiences. I have learned the skill of taking a break from distraught friends’ unending complaints and repetitive stories without breaking the friendship itself. And when necessary, I have learned to end unhealthy friendships without insulting the offenders.

I jumped at the chance to tell a long-ago enemy (when he called me as part of a 12-step recovery) exactly what his actions had caused in my life, my emotions, my career and my self-confidence. I had needed that more than he needed my acceptance. People always come first, and that sometimes includes me.

You and I are people too, and sometimes we have to come first in order to continue our good work and deeds. Trust me, you’ll know the difference.

What was your best advice? I could probably use it, unless it was ‘eat more fish.’ I’m allergic to fish.

Thanks for your advice!

Thanks for your advice!

Categories: Life Is Messy
  1. July 30, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    I’m with you on the eat more fish and for the same reason. Possibly my best received advice was, Be Nice, people usually repay like with like.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 30, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      LOL the fish allergy! So we have that in common, too David! Thanks for responding. Your best advice was about people too. Were you also an adult when you received it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 30, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        I was an adult-just.. I’ve always wondered if I was perceived to be not very nice to receive that particular advice? But, the woman who gave it was being nice so I’m taking it that I was being nice too.
        xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. August 9, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    You always make me smile. I don’t eat because I’m afraid of it (accumulates heavy metals, etc.) My best advice to my children – safety first. They’ve survived. Best advice given to me? Love your work. If you don’t love it, why do it? I go through life loving rather than hating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Cinemabon — Both great advice! I sorta had to figure out the safety first because I started taking care of kids at 12. But I love your result of loving your work … going through life loving rather than hating. I had convinced myself I loved my work over the years, mostly because I knew where I wanted to go and it was just the journey toward that result. But face a few bad bosses or top management and all bets are off. I changed jobs quite a bit, until I discovered manipulation, LOL. Also, I was usually in a position with direct reports, and I believed part of my responsibility was to have their backs while making my boss look good. Wow work is complicated!


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