Community & Current Events

What was the harshest advice you ever received?

Author: Canadian Living

Community & Current Events

What was the harshest advice you ever received?

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is dole out advice. We've all heard myriad time-tested adages that seem to ring true at one time or another and it's easy to pull them out of your back pocket when a friend or family member is facing a personal crisis. But how well do you take advice, especially when it's a little harsh? We checked in with a handful of Canadian women and posed this question: What's the harshest advice you've ever received but served you well in the end? Here's what they had to say:

"When I graduated from college, I really wanted to go to Thailand for my graduation gift. I wanted to go really badly! But my dad talked me into getting a laptop instead. He said I'd be able to make money right off the bat, instead of coming back with a sunburn, a hangover and fewer job prospects than when I left. He was right! I immediately went to work freelancing and ended up with a newspaper job. I still haven't been to Thailand, but if I go, I'm bringing my laptop … I've had four since then!"
– Jessica Ferracane

"Coming from an Asian family, there was plenty of fodder from my mom. Japanese mothers do not sugarcoat things – including 'You look like a homeless person in that outfit.' Without dwelling on the self-esteem issues this may have engendered, on the plus side, I'm less likely than most to make any huge fashion mistakes, since before leaving the house each day, I do a fast 'sex-trade worker,' 'muffin-top or flab' and 'grunge circa-1992' check before going out the door."
– Yuki Hayashi

"The harshest advice I ever received was actually an old adage. 'If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you it's yours to keep. If it doesn't, it was never yours to begin with.' This advice came after a particularly difficult break-up and it was really hard to hear and accept at the time. In the end, my love never came back to me but it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. And I needed to learn the difficult lesson that sometimes you need to let things happen (or not happen) in their own time."
Candace McDonald

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"I was 25 and was working with a feminist documentary producer, but also tending bar and my attitude toward work was, 'Well I'm making lots of money, not loving my job, not sure what I want to do, but that's okay I'm young.' I really thought I was living the life, being a free spirit and having a good time. I had been a good student, was president of my high school and valedictorian and always felt that I had to justify my life at 25 by saying things like, 'I've travelled, I own my own car, I'm not sure what I really want to do, but I have time to figure it out.' I was explaining this to the documentary producer, but before I could finish, she said this: Don't be foolish. You're closer to 30 than you are to 20 so figure out what you want to do and just start doing it. It felt like a slap in the face and I was really upset with her and hurt and couldn't figure out why it bothered me so much. Why was she making me feel old before my time? Plus, I felt that she didn't have the right to say something like that to me; it was my life. Fortunately, it was advice that never left my head or heart and I'm glad that it bothered me and made me think so much that I actually took it."
– Samantha Pynn

"A former GM once told me that while my managers expect me to be the best at my job, it isn't realistic for me to expect the same of them. Sadly, that has proven to be true with more than a few managers."
– Colleen Seto

"When I was younger, I wanted to become an actress. My mother was always supportive of my dreams but this one caused her some angst. She told me not to get my hopes up. She said that becoming a successful Hollywood actress was not a realistic goal. I was crushed because at the time, I thought it was really what I wanted. But as they say, mother knows best and because of her advice, I focused hard on my school work, graduated top of my class and got a job that was far better suited to me. I'm happy and fulfilled now and am thankful that my mom knew enough to guide me in the right direction, rather than humouring my pie-in-the-sky childhood whims."
– Kate Van Os

"I used to work at a store in a mall and I showed up to work one day visibly upset about a personal crisis. My manager took me outside the store and said that when I come into work, I need to leave my personal problems on the other side of the door. I thought it was so inconsiderate of him to show such a lack of compassion but I have since learned that there's a time and place for everything."
– Michelle Burns

"This advice is particularly harsh when I'm pondering the price tag of expensive, but beautiful, shoes. Don't buy it if you can't afford it. In other words, if you don't have the money in your savings, you can't have it. It's harsh, but it serves me well by keeping me out of debt. I guess I have to thank my dad for his advice."
– Jennifer Melo

Read more:
10 embarrassing things you might say
Treating people right
Why kids and teens overreact to your questions

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What was the harshest advice you ever received?