That was the question asked to Glamour readers in a competition to take over Dawn O’Porter’s column for a month. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but thought I would share my column with you, my loyal blog readers. Hope you enjoy it.
“Before embarking on the journey of life, always read the manual”
Life doesn’t come with a manual and if it did, we probably wouldn’t consult it until all else failed. Through their own experiences, our elders try to guide us, but we have all been young, with the mentality ‘I know best’.
When I was nine years old my uncle wrote in my autograph book ‘love all, trust but few and learn to paddle your own canoe’. At the time I didn’t really understand what it meant, let alone its significance. Now in my 30’s I finally realise just what a good piece of advice this was.
I strive to ‘love all’, putting others first and being thoughtful. A birthday card, a thank you note – little things that don’t cost a lot, but can really brighten someone’s day. There is so much hate in the world today and we could all do our bit and spread a little love. But I often forget to include myself in the ‘love all’. We all make mistakes in life; learn from them and then forgive yourself. Love the body you are in; if you want to make changes in terms of a healthier lifestyle, do, but you should never be made to feel in anyway inferior because your body doesn’t conform to the latest media ideal. Confidence is far more attractive than any body shape.
‘Trust but few’ has often tripped me up. I always see the best in people, assuming they will share the same values as me and unfortunately that means that I’ve been taken advantage of. At work, a colleague from another location used to regularly pop in for a cuppa and a chat. Unbeknown to me, when I went to put the kettle on, they were helping themselves to my till! I thought the discrepancy was because I was rubbish at my job and it was only when they did it to someone else that the truth came out. That taught me to be careful who I put my trust in; trust needs to be earned.
The final part ‘learn to paddle your own canoe’ I have always found the hardest to follow. I have allowed others to dictate how I feel, when really only you can be responsible for your own happiness. Of course it’s nice to be popular but 1,000 friends on Facebook don’t equal happiness. For the most part they are barely acquaintances! Quality not quantity is what is needed in terms of friendships; otherwise, even with lots of people around you, you can still feel lonely and isolated. I wasted too much of my childhood wishing to be more popular but by the time I got to secondary school, I settled into a nice group and those friends are still my friends today. Never worry what path you should be following in life. I have come to realise that we all do things at different times and you should follow what you feel to be right.
This neatly brings me on to my final point about envy. We have all looked at others and thought ‘I wish that was me’; it’s natural but as my Dad once said ‘be careful what you envy’.
I learned some of these lessons far too late and I hope these small words of supposed wisdom can help you to bring happiness into your own life today; after all as the old saying by Dale Carnegie goes ‘today is the tomorrow I worried about yesterday’.