Actually Useful Advice

October 25th, 2012

Tons of self-help books, thousands of magazines, interfering relatives up the wazoo–and does any of that actually HELP you?  Most advice just makes you feel worse about yourself. Like, “Aim for getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night.” Yeah, screw you. I would if I could.

Luckily for you all, I’m here. And I’m a realist. Here’s some hard-earned advice you can actually follow.

1. When you press someone’s doorbell, press it really hardIf you give it a wimpy half-hearted push and don’t hear anything, you’re going to spend the next thirty seconds agonizing over whether it rang or not. You don’t want to be the kind of person who rings a doorbell more than once–we all hate that person. But if it didn’t ring the first time, you could end up on that doorstep for a long time. Don’t put yourself through this: press that doorbell thoroughly and leave no doubt.

2. That food you’re eyeing and craving? EAT IT. And move on. No guilt, no recrimination, no remorse.  Eating a brownie isn’t a bad act. Eating a salad isn’t a moral one. Figure out what you’re hungry for, eat that, and be done. Bodies are smart. Make friends with yours.

3. If a stranger is unpleasant, assume that person’s having a bad day.  Once you stop taking these things personally, the world seems like a nicer place.

4. At cocktail parties, only take food that’s easy to eat. If it’s messy or too big, you’ll be shoving it into your mouth so desperately you won’t even notice whether or not it tastes good.

5. Have friends you can talk to honestly. I’ve never understood friendships where you try to impress or one-up each other–who needs that? My friends and I dress in old clothing when we get together, throw food out onto the table in the packaging it came in, and share everything. We laugh so hard we cry, and cry so often we laugh about it. Sharing your struggles with people who care is the most healing thing in the world.

6. Put a trashcan near your car. We did that like five years ago and we still turn to each other now and then and say, “I love having this here.” Cars acquire junk. A ready trashcan can solve that problem.

7. There is never a reason to wear pantyhose. Don’t even.

8. Every time you look at a photo in a magazine, remind yourself that that model has been photoshopped. And every time you read an ad, remind yourself that advertising thrives by making customers feel insecure and bad about themselves. Don’t buy into any of it.

9. Be all in with the people you love. You’re on their team; they’re on yours. End of story.

10. Always keep a couple of tissues in your pocket. 

If you have some good advice–major or minor, share it with us!

  • Colin says:

    When possible, make friends with your spouse’s family. They have known them longer than you and can give you excellent perspective. And having an ally who cares about someone you love can change your life.

  • Kim Coleman says:

    Live in the now, the past cannot be changed. Decide to have great day today, it will increase your chances of another great day tomorrow. Always forgive…and SMILE, it feels good!

  • Claire says:

    Thanks for the advice, guys! Excellent.

  • Claudia says:

    I like many of your tips but #2? No. I have learned this over and over. I will think, “Hey Claudia. Just HAVE that cookie. Have one teeny tiny cookie. It’s really not all that many calories. So just have it.”

    But that’s like saying to an alcoholic, “Have a sip of scotch. No harm done!”

  • Anonymous says:

    Make up a language and speak it to your family often. — Dr. Coco Puff, 8 yrs old.

  • E.J.S. says:

    Know why I wear pantyhose? A legit reason, I assure you: I am afflicted with the slightest-breeze-on-bare skin-plight. That is, my stupid leg hair grows back. Pantyhose seems to slow that process down. I don’t need to do it on a hot day, but in my profession they seem to keep court rooms very cold. So…yes.

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