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Bad Advice That Is Not Really Bad Advice If You Think About It

Aloha again friends and non-friends. Before I develop this remarkable yet hollow headline, I’d like to emphasize that everything I write is based on personal, maybe limited, opinions. With that being said, I recently had the questionable idea of writing down some of the controversial practices I use in my daily life, and thought they might become useful at some points in your lives.

The devil works hard but this Belgian infant terrible works harder ;) The following advice may come across as counterintuitive and slightly problematic, but it has worked miracles for me!

[Disclaimer: I am against lying. Additionally, biblical sins (excluding premarital intercourse, LGBTQ+ marriage, abortion, swearing, errrr there’s so many, oops…..) are definitely a no-go. Live and let live. If you know your actions are harmful to anyone, then always choose the high road.]


1.       Manipulate yourself into believing that everything is fine

When things are going south. When you feel like you’re going to stop breathing for longer than humans can go without breathing. When sh*t really hits the fan… We have all been there. We have dealt with broken hearts, disappointments, unexpected and unpleasant surprises (UAUS). I have found that, sometimes, it can be really helpful to ignore your feelings for a little bit. Maybe it’s for an hour, until you can go home and process whatever you’re going through in a more private setting. Maybe it is a day or two, until that deadline for something school or work related has passed. Regardless, ignoring your initial visceral wave of emotions can help mitigate damages from the UAUS. That way you can deal with pre-UAUS things before UAUS related reactions can get in the way of it.

DISCLAIMER: This does not apply to politics. Climate change is real. So is institutionalized discrimination. We need your action or everything won’t ever be fine.


2.       Spend that money

Besides from priorities, such as living (comfortably), familial circumstances, financial security, saving for college, donating to charity, etc., do you really need all that money? The reality is that working hard to have a lot of money sitting in your bank account is anticlimactic and pretty unfulfilling. You don’t have to spend it on material things or yourself at all, but just make sure that the money in your bank account has a purpose (of which “for unpredictable occurrences” is a very necessary and valid one!). The value of money is in the things it can bring you, but not in the act of having a lot of it.


3.       Tell yourself: “It’s not me, it’s you”.

This especially applies to dating/love. Disregard this advice if you are in conflict with someone you love – in that case, I think you should make it work by being aware of your flaws and room for improvements. Nevertheless, when you see potential in a relationship, and the other person does not see it, it can hurt. It may seem like you are the problem. The truth is that you probably are in this specific case. You aren’t what they are looking for. But how many times have you come across people that aren’t what you are looking for? What I am trying to say is that acknowledging that you are the problem is not going to help. You can’t change yourself to be liked by someone. Your combination of genes, the particular egg and seed duo that came together to be you was very unlikely to happen, but it still did. Show some respect to the miracle you are. Walk away.


4.       Along those lines: no one is worth suffering over.

Take it from someone who is diagnosed with the pseudo-medical disorder of Sensory Processing Sensitivity and also suffers from self-diagnosed autophobia. I don’t think someone can be the love of your life if they put you through unseen amounts of hardship. It may come across as stoic, but in my personal experience, everyone is replaceable. Even your loved ones, even the people you are related to. I value people based on what they add to my life, not memories or biological relation, and I urge them to expect the same from me. The “fight for the ones you love” or “what does not kill you makes you stronger” narratives are tempting and addictive, but I believe they’re also fallacious. Sometimes obstacles can help you grow, but other times it is just a waste of time to try to understand them. Unfortunately, making the distinction when you run into one, is a skill few master.


5.       Sometimes you don’t have to try.

Screw the heroic “you have to give everything a shot”. You definitely don’t. You don’t owe anyone anything inherently, although I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. No one in history has ever regretted being kind. That said, respect yourself enough to know when to say no. It’s fine if you’re opposed to doing something even if you haven’t given it a chance.


6.       Never forget.

Memory is your body’s best defense mechanism. That’s why usually, the first time you stumble upon something that hurts, you’ll be careful to avoid it the next times. I have heard the “forgive and forget” nonsense too many times. Yes, you should always forgive. Don’t carry those negative feelings with you for longer than necessary. They can be the end of you. But you should never forget. Don’t miss out on the valuable lessons mistakes come with. If you forget about previous bad experiences, you may be at a disadvantage if you come across another one. Forgive, don’t forget, but do process and let go of traumas before they eat you. Not to say that this is easy.


7.       If the choice is between sleep and something fun, choose fun.

You do need around 6 hours of sleep every night, but that’s what naps are for?! I can tell you that weeks with less than 45 hours of sleep aren’t as much of a health hazard as parents worldwide want you to believe. At least not short term…?  Behold my pseudoscientific explanation: during your sleep, your body regenerates and rejuvenates (which is why sleeping feels so good) yay! That being said, when you do something fun (including working out!) your body releases all these hormones (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins which are basically just endemic morphine) that make you feel amazing too. I guess sleep is more important and essential to healthy functioning; however, I prefer the natural high one can get from fun activities.

This was all the savoir-vivre I have for you, for now.

Best regards from one pretty dysfunctional homo sapien to another (don’t be insulted if this does not apply to you). Until we meet again!

I go by one or more of the following: Belgian whitehead activist, word vomiter (credit E. Sanders), animal lover, rugby rookie, plant killer, Amber
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