The Voices in Our Heads

I hear voices in my head. I’m guessing you do too. Advice different people have given me over the year returns at various times. For instance, when I think things like I wish it was summer, advice from a coworker twenty years ago haunts me. I had commented on how I was looking forward to the weekend and she gently replied, “Amy, don’t wish your life away.” In other words, don't forget to enjoy spring!

When I’m tempted to complain about some minor ache and pain, I hear my dad scoff, “You’ll live.” Similarly, I hear my mom quoting the old saying, “I complained I had no shoes, till I met a man who had no feet.” Those simple sayings have affected the way I think and act.

How about you? What advice have you remembered? I polled family and friends and got remarks that are humorous, simple but memorable, familiar but important to hear again, profound, poetic, and one I wish my husband had never heard. (I needed to edit many in order to fit them all. I also changed a few words, mainly advice given to my siblings and me from our saucy mother and grandmother, since they weren’t appropriate for a G-rated column.)

See which resonate with you.

  • Advice given to a daughter: don’t drink when you’re out on a date. I got pregnant twice doing that.
  • The only person you need to control is yourself.
  • A doctor who gave a woman advice that we always need to keep in mind: "Go home and be good to yourself." 
  • Courtesy costs you nothing, but can bring you large rewards.
  • Stop comparing your success to others.
  • Never forget who you are, what you do, and where you came from.
  • Live life like you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall. Try many things and see what sticks.
  • When one door closes, another one opens. 
  • Marriage is hard work, so be willing to put the effort in to get the relationship you want.  
  • If you’re bored, that means you’re a boring person. 
  • Research a dog before you get one. Some require a lot of exercise, expensive grooming, and may not be hypoallergenic or kid-friendly.
  • Learn something new every day.
  • You are responsible for your own happiness. 
  • Tomorrow will be a better day.
  • Don't get 'hung-by-your-tongue'; filter what you say 'through-a-brain cell' before you open your mouth.  
  • Stop looking for fly s*%* in the pepper.
  • One to mull around in your head: never forget to listen for the whispers and look in the shadows.
  • The familiar adage that sums up many of these others: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Advice my husband got from my dad when they were trimming trees. Frank said, “I should check with Amy and see if she wants these branches trimmed.” Dad, who never elaborated, replied with two words. “Don’t ask.”
  • And finally, my favorite, shared by a friend whose father had carried it in his billfold for many years. He gave it to her before she left for nursing school. She had it framed, and it sits on her desk. It’s by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. and was first published in 1934. Now that she shared it, I know it’s going to be another wise voice in my head.

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

and the world makes you king for a day

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself

and see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife

whose judgment upon you must pass

The fellow whose verdict counts the most in your life

is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people may think you a straight-shooting chum

and call you a wonderful guy

But the guy in the glass says you're only a bum

if you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please never mind all the rest

for he's with you clear up to the end

And you've passed your most dangerous difficult test

if the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway

of life and get pats on the back as you pass.

But your final reward will be heartaches and

tears if you've cheated the man in the glass.

This column has been so much fun to put together, I’d love to do a sequel. What is the worst, craziest, or funniest advice you’ve ever gotten? Send me your short answer by May 1, and I’ll try to squeeze in as many as I can.

One Reply to “The Voices in Our Heads”

Debbie Gille

Loved this column Amy. Several of the “Words of Wisdom” hit home with me.
“Always remember to take time to Sit and Listen. Be with yourself. You may be surprised as to what you hear”

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