Soul Matters – September 2014

By the time you read this, school will be back in session and I will be doing the happy dance, back in my bliss, working on the next book. But today it is early August, and I am trying to write while entertaining/mollifying/feeding my lovely children without benefit of an entertaining trip to an exotic locale—or even a lousy locale like Legoland. (Okay, we did go to the Oregon Caves, but I don’t count that as either exotic or entertaining.)

All this to explain the list. Lists are infinitely easier to cobble together than an essay, or at least this is what I always think before I write one and realize that it takes just as much time, but nevermind. No one reads anything longer than 500 words anymore anyway, or so I’m told. Lists, apparently, are the new books.

So here’s a little light list-reading from my creatively cramped summer: the Best Advice I Ever Heard:

  1. Speak your truth in love. You can’t go wrong if you say what needs to be said in a loving way. No one can argue with your truth, and no one can take exception if you present it lovingly.
  1. Don’t take life personally. If you contract a lousy disease, it’s not personal: it’s life. Life happens. Furthermore, if someone flips you off, is that about you, or about their own unhappiness? Just because someone hands you a turd doesn’t mean that you have to accept it.
  1. Suffer happily. You will suffer; that’s a given. But you get to choose how you handle that suffering. You can do it gracefully, or you can whine and moan and be a victim.
  1. Make the good count for more than the bad. My friend Pattie (the bright light of the Mustard Seed) told me this. I think about it all the time. Thank you dear friend.
  1. When people show you who they are, believe them. Ah, Maya Angelou! My mama liked to say that character doesn’t change. Accept others as they are without making excuses for them or imagining they will change and act accordingly.
  1. Don’t chase people. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t be the only one pursuing the friendship. Don’t waste yourself on somone who does not value you.
  1. To thine own self be true. Don’t fear others not likingyou.Your only concern should be whether you like yourself. Be true to who you are and the right people will be drawn to you for the right reasons.
  1. Treat others as you would be treated. Best advice ever. It’s so simple. If you do nothing else but live this Golden Rule, you will make the word a better place.

KATE INGRAM, M.A., is a therapist and award-winning author. She gives a lot of advice all the time, mostly to her children, some of which is pretty good. Find out more at