10 things I learned the hard way, AKA Don’t be a dick

1. Generosity is always better than being selfish and greedy.

This is not about just money, I’m talking about generosity of spirit. Time warp! In second grade I was super jealous when 2 kids I was friends with separately became close (leaving me out). The green-eyed monster took over and I actively tried to keep them a part. My plan completely backfired and I lost both friends. What was the point of trying to keep 2 friends from enjoying new friendship? We could have all been friends. My behavior was shameful and I learned a hard lesson.  I was being a dick.

Don’t be a dick, it doesn’t help anyone.


2. People are ever-evolving.

What I believed as a kid, teenager, and young adult has changed significantly. My political views, spirituality, personal values, and just about everything has been turned on its head.  Over time, things morph in ways I could never anticipate. If I cannot say I know everything about myself, I cannot say I know everything about others.

I cannot pigeonhole people.

3. We are all just trying to do the best we can.

No one starts their day thinking, “I’m just going to totally crap this up.” Parents are trying to do the best for their kids (despite everyone judging their every move). No one has the answers for us, so we’re just trying to figure life out as we go along with the tools we have.

4. I’ll never know the whole story.

When I see someone being snarky, I don’t jump to thinking they are just an asshole or bitch at their core. I don’t know what they are going through in life. Maybe they just got terrible news about a loved one and their mind is elsewhere, or maybe they are just hangry and need to eat something ASAP (hungry + angry is a BAD combo for me). Regardless, I try to go back to #3, we’re all just trying to do the best we can, but bad days happen and we’re allowed to get upset and emotional. I try to give others the benefit of the doubt and I really try not to take my bad mood out on others. It’s never 100%, so this is where meditation helps me.

5. Know who you are and follow your gut, you’ll never go wrong.

One of my best friends often tells me I do “Michelle ” the best. I struggle understanding what this actually means, but I think it just means I know who I am and I live my life guided by what feels right to me. I’ve never looked to others to make big decisions for me (like my career, who I should date/marry, or how to raise my kids). I know me better than anyone else. Whenever I do something that just doesn’t feel right, I immediately learn it wasn’t the right choice. So I live by my own code and it works.

6. Nobody will advocate for me as well as me and if I want something badly enough, I’ll find a way to make it happen.

Caveat: this only works if it’s something within my sphere of power, control and influence. For example, I just cannot will a $1,000,000 into my bank account out of thin air.

7. There’s no point in being embarrassed, a shared experience just brings you closer to others.

I pooped while giving birth to my first twin and I still pee a little when I sneeze really hard, or jump on a trampoline (I plan ahead with a pad or panty liner if I know bouncing is on the agenda for the day). I feel like women in particular are hung up on being prim and proper, but let’s face it ladies, you deal with pee and poop A LOT when you have little kids or pets. Just share, you’ll feel better.

8. Be honest, but have tact.

I have learned to speak from my heart.  I can share the “hard truth” without intentionally hurting someone’s feelings. Share your truth without malice.

9. Friendship and the human connection is what it’s all about for me.

I named this blog after my best friends because I cannot express enough the impact they have had on my life. Finding people I can connect with on a deeper level gives me the greatest joy. I find this in all areas of my life (friends, family and acquaintances). It’s the moment when something clicks and you feel like someone totally “gets you” (see #7, don’t be shy about sharing your life experience. Learning someone else understands exactly what you’re talking about is incredibly gratifying and validating).

10. Be nice, it just makes sense (and you’ll be rewarded for it).

Has anyone ever felt good after bitching someone out? To me, it doesn’t feel good. I’m not getting high fives for assholery. So, even if I’m in the worst mood, I try to give myself perspective and remember it’s no one’s fault and I shouldn’t take it out on an innocent bystander. Most often we treat the people closest to us the worst. How many times have you lashed out at your partner at the end of the day because something completely unrelated happened to you during the day? It’s not fair to punish someone else because you’re in a sh*tty mood. (See #1, don’t be a dick.)

Take this a step further – people will be nicer to you if you are nice too. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten free coffee, free upgrades, free treats or a special deal on something because I was just being nice. This goes a long way with customer service reps too. The TV cable person or airline rep is not in control of what happens in the company.  But being genuinely nice, especially when everyone else is yelling, is like a breath of fresh air.  If they can go the extra mile to help you, they will because you are nice. Try it out for yourself.

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