The Worst Advice I Ever Received
BY M.A. TARPINIAN
Advice: “guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent future action.”
Hmm…such a short definition for such an impactful action that can have a ripple effect for years to come.
Good, Bad, Unsolicited, Unwarranted, Unwelcome, Welcome, Requested. Advice comes in all forms. And over the years, I have been given an ample dose of all of the above. Everyone seems to think THEY know what is best for YOU.
You know the type. We all have those people in our lives. The well-meaning friend who “as a friend” wants you to know the guy you like is a cheater. And then winds up dating him. The family member who “doesn’t want to be critical but if you want to make REALLY good sauce…?” A polite way of saying yours is not so great. The co-worker who offers to help you with YOUR project. Then tells your boss she/he did most of it. I guess the new word for them is “frenemies.”
The worst advice I ever received was not given to me to be hurtful. It was meant to prevent me from being hurt (in romantic relationships specifically). “Play hard to get. Don’t let him know how much you like/care/love him.” To be fair, my friend did have the best of intentions.
And I followed that advice. And as I watched him date others over the years, I remained in the friend zone. Looking back, I can’t really blame her for my own insecurity. Had I been a bit (no, A LOT) braver, I would have spoken up.
But here’s the thing…. Over the years, when I was up for a job, promotion, or acting role… I could hear her voice saying “don’t let them know how much you want it.” Weird, I know. You would think I would have figured out that didn’t bode well for me in my personal life earlier on in my life. I didn’t want to appear desperate. Or needy. Or pathetic. So many times, I bit my tongue to keep from saying, “YES! I WANT this job!” I naturally assumed everyone could read my mind, so there was no need to say anything. They would KNOW.
Uhhhhh..no. That’s not how the real world works. Never has. Never will.
To be clear, I have never had any problem talking to anyone about anything, except when it came to me and what I wanted. I clammed up. I convinced myself it was arrogant. More importantly, the REAL reason … I didn’t think I deserved it.
So…. Over the years, I learned to use my voice. I realized that if I was to be true to the person I really was deep down inside, I had to let people know EXACTLY what I wanted. I have also learned that making my intentions and feelings clear to those in various aspects of my life makes for less conflict, more clarity, and a deeper appreciation for my own abilities.
I no longer feel like I don’t deserve the good things.
I worked hard to be ME.
I earned them all.