Episode #133: Cliche Advice We Swear By (and Reject)

This week, we collected all sorts of cliche advice. This is your chance to play along with us and decide which cliches you defend and which you think should just go away forever!

We also are answering a hilarious question about how our business functions.


You can stream the episode here, on the blog, or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

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Show notes:

Elsie’s biggest pet peeve cliche: 

“They grow up so fast, don’t blink. You’re going to miss this when it’s over.”

Cliches:

“Everything happens for a reason” – thumbs down

“Life is short” – neutral

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – thumbs up

“Never go to bed angry” – neutral

“God never gives you more than you can handle” – thumbs down

“Everything is going to be OK” – thumbs down

“If you love your job you will never work a day in your life” – thumbs down

“Sleep when the baby is sleeping” – thumbs down

“The grass is always greener on the other side” – thumbs up

“Trust your gut or follow your instincts” – thumbs up

“This too shall pass” – thumbs down

“Go big or go home” – thumbs down

“Money is the root of all evil” – thumbs down

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” – thumbs down

“You only live once” – thumbs down

“The things meant for you will find you or if it’s meant to be, it will be” – thumbs down

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – thumbs down

“Sleep on it” – thumbs up 

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” – thumbs up

“Live, laugh, love” – neutral

“Bloom where you’re planted” – thumbs down (Elsie), thumbs up (Emma)

“Fake it till you make it” – depends on the meaning

“You will find it when you least expect it” – thumbs down

“Ask for forgiveness rather than permission” – thumbs up

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” – neutral

“Treat people the way you want to be treated” – thumbs up

“Don’t give up on your dream” – maybe, maybe not

“It is what it is” –  thumbs down (Elsie), thumbs up (Emma)

-Check out McKay’s Used Book Store in Nashville

xo, E+E

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Episode 133 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This week we’ve collected all sorts of cliche advice, think everything happens for a reason, type of advice. So this is your chance to play along with us and decide which cliches you defend and which you think should just go away forever. Okay, let’s jump in. So years ago, this is like such a funny transformation in the mind of Elsie Larsen. Are you ready for this? So years ago, I made a rainbow book display in my old house, it’s immortalized. I know you guys are all like we know about the rainbow. We’ve seen it 500 times. So it was almost all from this one used bookstore in Nashville, McKay’s used bookstore, if you know, you know. It’s my personal favorite place to be that and my plant store are my two heavens. I love them so much.  Anyway, I’ve been collecting books for the last six months and it is the number one joy in my life for sure.  The thing that’s different about me from four or five years ago when I bought all the rainbow books, is that now you’re like reading. 

Emma: I was gonna say is that that you read now? 

Elsie: Yes. It’s just so different. Now I’m like in this huge reading phase.  All I do is buy used books. That is all I do and it is so fun and so fulfilling. Yeah, I can’t wait for you to see all the crazy books I’m buying in the dining room.

Emma: I love it. Also, maybe there’s a lesson in there of like, if you just surround yourself with the thing you want to get into, all of a sudden it happens, you know any mean? Like maybe because you got all these books, you became a reader rather than everyone’s like you don’t read you shouldn’t collect books. Well, maybe it’s so the other way around.

Elsie: It’s true and maybe they were right. I don’t think it’s bad to collect books for decoration if that’s something you want to do. Okay, so this episode is about cliche advice. So I thought before we start because a lot of the when I was collecting the cliches, I got all these from Instagram by the way, every single one of these came through Instagram. A lot of them were accompanied by like, barf emojis or eye rolls. A lot of people were bringing up the idea of toxic positivity. I wanted to define that before we get into it because I think it’s interesting and something that’s gonna come up a lot throughout this. So toxic positivity, I think is like a little bit of an overused term. How I wish it would be defined, this is my opinion, but I wish it would be defined as like toxic positivity is harmful positivity. Where like, you’re telling someone you should just try harder, but they have a mental health issue and they can’t or something like that, that’s toxic, that’s harmful.

Emma: It’s almost like tearing them down a little bit with the positivity like that type of thing. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’s destructive. A lot of these cliches and I would more define as useless. I don’t think that they’re toxic, because I don’t think that they’re harmful. I think they’re pointless and useless. That’s why they’re cliches. I think that people say them without thinking.  Then there’s a couple for me, I think I counted six, where I will actually like thumbs up and straight-up defend them. They’re cliche, but I think that they’re actually kind of good. Maybe like, you should be careful saying anything on this list but I don’t think that they’re all bad at all. It’s definitely a journey. So I think it’s kind of fun to think about, just because it’s like the most thoughtless phrases that none of us think about ever. And today, we’re just gonna focus down and analyze each one which is so different from usual. 

Emma: Yeah. Then there were quite a few I saw that were either bible quotes or kind of misquotes from the Bible. They’re half a Bible verse and half not. That’s kind of interesting. 

Elsie: Which I got that because okay, like the Bible, it’s the most quoted religious texts or the most quoted book of all time so I think that’s why.

Emma: Yes, I would recommend reading the Bible just because of the cultural relevance and it just shows up in lots of stories. Same thing though with a lot of Greek tragedies and things of that nature too. Shakespeare, I think a lot of his work shows up. Anyway, you get it. There’s some very famous text, the Bible is one of them. Whatever your belief system that is true, it is famous,

Elsie: We’ll start off by if you have one that’s your personal like because a lot of people were saying their number one personal pet peeve. Do you have one that’s like your number one, like, oh my God, will people please stop saying that?

Emma: Honestly, I think I felt like you like most of them I’m like, thumbs down. But there’s a few that I was like, oh, I like this if you add a little bit more. Don’t make it so simple, add the second part and then I love it. There’s a couple that I just straight-up love. I was like, yeah, this was great advice. One of them in particular, I think people will be surprised because I think it’s the most cliche, like the most cheesy one, I actually think is the best advice on the list. 

Elsie: I can’t wait to find out what it is. So, okay, well my pet peeve one, it’s not on the list and I don’t know how, Mine is, it’s a parenting one is that when people say they grow up so fast or don’t blink, you’ll miss it, pretty soon there’ll be teenagers. You’re gonna miss this when it’s over. I think that that is all good advice. The people who are saying it to me are usually people with children who have grown and I get that. But I won’t say it, whenever my children are grown, I won’t say it to someone, because it bothers me. I am a hyper-aware person of everything like that my children are growing, I’m gonna cry again. I hate it because I think about that every day already. So I don’t need people to remind me of it like it’s something I’ve never thought of it kind of grates on me. Because I’m an internet personality, I’m like, my kids and whatever, it happens kind of a lot.

Emma: I get that advice a lot, too and I totally agree. It’s not that it’s bad advice. I actually think is completely accurate. It’s just that I’m already really, really aware of that. Every little milestone, that Oscar, he’s only seven months old, almost eight months and I already like, I can see it. I’m not all the way there yet because again, I’m a pretty new parent. But I see it. This parenting thing is just a series of heartbreaks because it’s just them growing up and growing their independence. That’s your job is to teach them to not need you anymore. What a heartbreaking job! So it’s like, I don’t need to be reminded of the heartbreak of parenting like I’m in it every day. I see what you’re saying, good advice but if I never heard it again, that would really lighten my load a little. 

Elsie: Same. Okay, so on the cliches, let’s just give a thumbs up or thumbs down initially, and then we can elaborate which ones we think are, you know if you think it’s toxic. If you think it’s useless, or you think it’s helpful, or you think it’s oversimplified to the point where it’s like, you could have had a point, but you f*cked up?

Emma: Almost, but no. 

Elsie: Without further ado, here are the cliches. The first one is everything happens for a reason. 

Emma: Thumbs down, right? 

Elsie: Yeah, I think I would say thumbs down. I think that this one is considered an insensitive cliche because a lot of times people say it during tragedies and that is rude. 

Emma: Yeah, that’s really not the time but also aside from like, you know, think about when you’re saying this, and who you’re saying it to, and like, does that actually help them? If not, maybe don’t say it. But also, not everyone believes this. I would put this under the classification of like, a belief system, maybe spiritual, maybe religious, but generally, a belief system and not everyone believes this. Some people believe in chaos. This is not something that everyone thinks so I wouldn’t necessarily go around putting your worldview on everyone. I don’t know if that’s helpful either. So I just generally think this one’s kind of useless.

Elsie: Yeah, I vote useless as well or maybe toxic. I think it’s definitely not a thing to say to someone who’s going through a painful situation. Okay, that the next one is Life is short.

Emma: I don’t know. I guess I’d give it a thumbs in the middle, kind of a thumbs down, kind of a thumbs up. I don’t know. What would you give it?

Elsie: I’m gonna give it a thumbs down because, well Emma’s always saying life is long. There’s a very good case to be made either way.

Emma: I think you can say both in the same sentence.

Elsie: Life can be both short and long. I can see how it feels short looking back. But I don’t think that that’s helpful in the middle of very many situations. I don’t think that life feels short when you’re going through a struggle. What’s the point of why you’re saying life is short? If like the point is, you should try something, live without regrets whatever. I guess you could maybe say that instead. Okay, the next one is, I don’t even know how this got on the list, but I love it, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Emma: Wayne Gretzky, Michael Scott. 

Elsie: Yes. I am going to give this one a thumbs up. 

Emma: Me too. 

Elsie: It’s solidly cliche. I’d say it’s good advice. I think that a lot of times in life, people don’t try to get something because they’re afraid they won’t and they could have. I think it’s good advice.

Emma: I do too. Yep.  I think too, a little bit speaks to the idea of like, maybe it’s not so bad to miss a shot. Maybe that’s not the end of the world. Maybe you should just try anyway,

Elsie: The next one is never go to bed angry, which is a quote from the Bible. The Bible verse don’t let the sun go down on your anger. A lot of people in the DMs were saying you should have the space to cool off. It’s something that makes people really mad. I think it’s definitely like a married people problem thing is like if one person, in my marriage, we have that where I like to continue our argument until it’s solved. My husband has like a hard stop when he will just like totally cold-shoulder me. It’s like, gotta wait till the next day to solve that problem. It’s definitely caused us problems so I can relate with why it’s annoying for some people.  I think you should just do it either way. 

Emma: Yeah, I mean, I think so this came up in therapy recently for us too, because we’re also married and have a similar thing. Actually, I’m the Jeremy of our relationship where sometimes I need a cooldown period, or I’m like, I can’t fight anymore. I’m at a stop on this particular topic and I need a break. I just can’t anymore because I hate fighting. I’m like one of those Enneagram nines that’s like, I get worn out. So anyway, I think if you’re using this to say to someone because you want them to keep going, but you can see that they’re like, maybe not in that space, then like, shame on you, don’t use the Bible for your own purposes. I also think if you’re like, oh, I’m still angry about this thing and I don’t want to go to bed, I want to go ahead and resolve that. I think if you want to get up and try, like go for it. That’s great too. I don’t think you should badger someone into finishing a discussion that they maybe aren’t in the emotional space to do because you’re probably either going to get them to say something they don’t really mean or they’re kind of already shut down to it or you’re just going to make it into a larger fight than it needs to be. 

Elsie: Or they give in when they didn’t want to.

Emma: Exactly they give in.  

Elsie: I think that some people just need space to either cool down or to just think about how they really feel about something. So the next one is another Bible thing. It’s, God never gives you more than you can handle. I looked this up and it is technically a Bible quote, but it is a misquote. Because it is talking about how God will never give you more temptations than you can handle, not more pain in your life. So it’s like two different things. So when people use it as like, you’re going through this really horrible time in your marriage, God will never give you more than you can handle. That person is full of sh*t and they shouldn’t be saying that. That’s toxic, I think. Just the absoluteness of it, I think is very insensitive. If anyone didn’t know who’s like a Bible person it is a misquote so it’s good to know that. There’s a lot of common Bible misquotes and it’s an important thing to know, probably.

Emma: Yeah, context is really important for anything.

Elsie: Yeah, I’m going to give that one a thumbs down. 

Emma: Oh, yeah. Big thumbs down. Thumbs down. 

Elsie: Okay. The next one is everything is going to be okay. I think that that one is just a clear thumbs down.

Emma: Yeah, no, I mean, I think that’s clearly like not true, like empirically not true. 

Elsie: It is absolutely not all going to be okay. So not true. Not helpful. Not polite. Not good advice. 

Emma: Next one is, if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.

Elsie: It’s clearly a thumbs down. It’s not good advice. It’s also not real. 

Emma: It’s not realistic, that’s what I would say. 

Elsie: Everyone who loves their job would agree that there are parts of it that feel like work and that is normal. Sleep when the baby is sleeping. Okay, so this one is absolutely your one. But I will just say like, generally, I think moms don’t need advice. Moms just need complements.  What do you think when someone says that to you? Has someone said that to you?

Emma: Oh, yeah, definitely. I’ve heard that a lot. I think it’s not terrible advice. It’s just not always helpful or practical, I guess. What if your baby doesn’t sleep much? I don’t know. You got to be careful when you get advice. You might be totally wrong about the situation. Yeah, I’ve only been a newborn mom once so maybe other people have more perspective. But I kind of think like when the baby is sleeping is sometimes your only time to do something with two hands or something for yourself, like take a shower, or cook some warm food and eat it with both of your hands as opposed to like things you can eat with one hand. Especially if you’re nursing like that’s a big thing too. But either way, so I don’t know.

Elsie: Anything that you want to do, that’s your chance when you have a baby.

Emma: So I think the advice can be a little bit annoying whenever you’re like in it. But I don’t think it’s terrible advice. Might be more useful to just say like, don’t be afraid to have a weird sleep schedule if you’re able to. that would maybe be a better, like, if you’re lucky enough to have a maternity leave like I had, don’t think your bedtime has to be 10 to five or whatever you normally do. Just think of it as different because it is going to be in spurts and that’s true especially right at first. But yeah, sleep when the baby sleeps, it’s like well, maybe but like that might be your only time to comfortably use the restroom. If you’re stressed out that that’s the only time you have to sleep it’s just not that helpful, but I don’t know it’s a weird time when you have a newborn. It’s all a fever dream.

Elsie: That’s what I’ve heard. Yeah, I think send some UberEATS or something but don’t send that advice.

Emma: Yeah, just tell them how great they look and send them some warm food, make them a casserole.

Elsie: The next one is the grass is always greener on the other side.

Emma: What do you think about this a thumbs up because I think it’s kind of like saying, well, if you compare your life to someone else’s, whatever it is their job, their marriage, their whatever, kids, theirs is greener than mine. It’s always greener. So it’s like it’s an illusion, I think is what this cliche is like saying, that’s how I take it. It’s an illusion because you’re not actually in their life so you don’t know how much work they put in to make that happen, or how hard it actually is, or how it maybe isn’t as good as it looks from the outside, things like that. So I think the idea is like, don’t compare yourself because the comparison that’s in your mind is a fantasy because it’s not possible for you to know the real deal.

Elsie: Okay, I can see that but as someone like Enneagram, seven, I’ve been told this a lot in my life. It’s something people say to me. I think that it’s not bad to dream for or wish for something better or try to figure out how to get that greener thing. So I think that as long as you’re not using it to tell someone, you have to be happy with what you already have, and content with what you already have and that’s it for you. As long as that’s not what you’re saying, I can give it a thumbs up. So this next one’s funny because someone on Instagram wrote, sorry, Elsie but..

Emma: I know because this one’s like, I feel like your advice.

Elsie: I say this a lot. It’s a twofer. It’s either trust your gut or follow your instincts. So a lot of people wrote this as the cliche they don’t like. I guess my first question is like, let’s try to figure out what people don’t like about it. So in my religious upbringing, there was a lot of don’t trust your heart, don’t follow your instincts, only follow the word of God, only follow Christ. So I think that’s part of why I defend this so much, is because, from my view where I am now in my life experiences, I feel like if you don’t have your own instincts to trust, what do you have in this whole life? Of course, I’m a big believer in it. But I guess I can be open to the possibility that there’s times when people following their instincts leads them down random paths they wish they didn’t go down. What’s the other alternative, I guess, is my question.

Emma: Well, yes, I think generally trusting yourself is a good thing to do, generally speaking. But the caveat I would put because I really think the only problem with this is that it’s over simplified. It doesn’t take into account everybody, which you know, how could it but also, I think that is kind of a weakness of it. Sometimes your instincts might not be helpful to you because of some kind of life experience you’ve either had or some life experience that you’re lacking.

Elsie: That’s a good point if you’re young. I would not have wanted to trust like my 20 year old self the way I trust myself now.

Emma: Yes, I’ll give a more extreme example because I feel like that makes illustrations easier. I was recently listening to this podcast that was talking about a woman who was in a fairly abusive relationship, and then it went back and talked through her biography, and how she was raised. It turns out how she was raised was her mother was in multiple abusive relationships, both with this lady’s father and then her stepfather. So her whole life growing up, that’s how she saw relationships between men and women were these abusive, not healthy relationships. She didn’t get the opportunity to learn and observe a more healthy situation until much, much later in her life. So I would say, when she was first starting her relationships, maybe she didn’t have all of the instincts, that somebody, seeing those red flags in a relationship that somebody else might have because they had a different life experience. This is no fault to her, of course, but it’s also no fault to anyone else, it’s just like, unfortunately, you’re missing a little piece of education that a lot of other people received and you didn’t, at no fault to your own. But once you become an adult, it is going to somehow be on you to try to fill in that gap, to learn that life experience that you, unfortunately, didn’t receive, and that sucks. But you need that before you can really trust all of your instincts. Otherwise, you just haven’t quite given your instincts the opportunity to have this kind of baseline education that a lot of other people might have. So anyway, that was just like a random, pretty extreme example. Because I also think about, like, with me and you, we didn’t grow up with a lot of money. There’s been a lot of things that I’ve really had to learn from others or sometimes my instincts are, everybody’s trying to rip me off. Then I’m like, why do I think that? I’m not sure that’s true. Actually, that’s kind of holding me back from listening to people who know more than me and taking some advice that actually might benefit me. It’s just like this kind of little instinct I have from some life experiences growing up or whatever. It’s like, oh, actually, that’s not serving me so I’m going to need to adjust that a little bit. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trust any of your instincts. I don’t think that’s the alternative at all. But I just think sometimes you really have to take a look at what baseline education or life experiences you might have or not have that might be informing some of your instincts, some of your gut reactions. 

Elsie: That’s interesting. So what you’re saying is like, you should know, when you should choose to trust yourself and when you should rely on others.

Emma: Yeah, and I think that’s hard to do. One thing is, I think you should look at if there’s recurring patterns in your life, if you’re always self-sabotaging or you’re always in a relationship where they treat you poorly.  I’m not saying it’s your fault. That’s not what I’m saying. But what I’m saying is, maybe some of these patterns are having to do with some missing life experiences or education and if you just get that, then you’re going to be good to go and you deserve that so you should. It’s kind of hard to identify what you don’t have, right? So I think you kind of have to be open to that and don’t think it’s your fault. But also don’t be closed down to the idea that there might be some things that you just don’t know about. You just didn’t grow up knowing everything. None of us did. 

Elsie: Interesting. Okay, the next one is another Bible verse. 

Emma: Nice. 

Elsie: It is this too shall pass. So I can see why people don’t like this one because it’s kind of just saying, like, hang tight, or be tough or tough it out. 

Emma: It’s a little minimizing.

Elsie: So yeah, I mean, of course, everything is going to pass. We can all agree on that and whatever is your current struggle at some point will be over. I guess we can all agree on that.

Emma: I would say this is helpful to say to yourself, but not to say to somebody else.

Elsie: Okay, I like that. Yeah, I’m gonna give it a thumbs down, though. Just as we don’t say.

Emma: I wouldn’t say it to someone else but if it’s helpful to you, like as a little bit of a meditation or a mantra. Yeah. 

Elsie: So the next one is go big or go home. It can also be do everything 110%. I am going to give this one a thumbs down because of our experiences with like, well not experiences, but our love for the 12 Week Year. What we’ve learned from that, and what I truly do believe, is that 80% is good enough. I don’t think it has to be 110%. I don’t think you always can do ever, like, no matter who you are and what you do, it’s okay. That’s what consistency is, is having days when you don’t feel like showing up, showing up doing it an okay job, and doing it again the next day. I think is good enough.

Emma: I thought you were going to give it a thumbs up so I’m surprised. You surprised me. But I completely agree with you. I will say the one thing though is if you’re a person who is always scared, and you’re always playing it small, then maybe this would be useful to you. That like you should really go for it now and again, but generally, I’m with you. I’m like 80%, don’t use something like this to hold you back from not doing it at all. Don’t worry about that.

Elsie: Well, I think a lot of people don’t start because they’re afraid of not getting that like 100% or that 110%. I think that you can almost never feel good at something when you first start. The next one, this one’s probably one of my favorites is money is the root of all evil. We’ve all heard this one. It is a Bible misquote. The actual quote is the love of money is the root of all evil.

Emma: I was going to say I feel like greed is probably what it’s supposed to be.

Elsie: I do think that like, in our Midwestern upbringing, it’s predominantly lower middle-class people, middle-class people, like I never met a millionaire until I was an adult. I wasn’t exposed to a lot of rich people. I think that the idea that rich people have lower character and values is reinforced kind of everywhere, on TV, in movies, in books, and in the way that middle-class people raise their kids. I think it’s bad.

Emma: I agree. I also think sometimes I see a lot of like, messaging right now, where people are kind of replacing the word money with probably capitalism and it’s like capitalism is the root of all evil. Which, again, I kind of see where you’re coming from, if you’re like greed is the root of all evil. But I also kind of think, like, greed is not good. I don’t think it’s a good quality. That being said, is it the root of all evil. I don’t know, man. I would probably say being unloved is the root of all evil. I don’t know. 

Elsie: Do we really need to find a root of all evil? Only one thing. 

Emma: Yeah. And it’s like, money is a tool. It’s a mechanism. You can use it in a lot of different ways. You can use it for good. You could use it for bad. It’s just a tool and capitalism is I think, similar. It’s a system and I think that it’s up to us to make it a good one. You know, whatever system you’re in, it’s up to the people to make it a good one. I don’t know. But yeah, I think that it’s really easy to tear other people down. I see a lot of that right now. People want to tear down rich people. I don’t really see the point. I think maybe we should spend our time lifting up poor people and trying to eradicate poverty. Let’s focus on that.

Elsie: I agree. I do see a lot of memes about how bad billionaires are. I’ve recently Googled most charitable billionaires, and then I had to make my search even smaller, like most charitable American millionaires. Do that path if you want to see how crazy charitable billionaires can be. It’s very interesting. It was very illuminating for me. If you think that all billionaires are evil and greedy, and don’t help people, you will be shocked.

Emma: I would be really careful to use the word evil towards anyone. I think you better be really sure if you’re going to add that label to a person. That’s a pretty harsh label for a person.

Elsie: Okay, give me another cliche, Emma.

Emma: Alright, next up? If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. What do you think about that?

Elsie: I’m going to give this one a thumbs down because what does that even mean? I feel like this is one of the ones that to me means nothing. I think it should be a thing we don’t say because it’s like, who gets to decide what’s too good to be true? Is it just what you assume is possible and impossible? That is extremely relative and you might change your mind.

Emma: Yeah, I think it’s good to be critical and discerning, don’t just believe anything. Sure. I think that’s good. But on the other side, I would say if you’re like saying this, you’re kind of manifesting bad things in your life. You’re kind of manifesting away good things.

Elsie: Nothing should ever feel too good to be true in your whole life. 

Emma: Yeah, that’s sad. 

Elsie: Thumbs down. Thumbs down. Okay, so you only live once, also known as YOLO. Okay, so I straight up believe in past lives. 

Emma: I was gonna say, it kinda depends on people’s belief systems again. 

Elsie: Anyone who believes in Christianity, like many, many, many different religions believe in a future different life and a heaven or whatever, or reincarnation. There’s really not that many people that believe like you only live once. But if the point of it is you only get this one life once or this life, this moment is all that’s real right now. I would agree with that. 

Emma: Yeah, I think if you’re trying to say just enjoy your life, then yes, I agree with that. Okay, the next one is the things meant for you, will find you or another way that people say it is if it’s meant to be it will be.

Elsie: I give this one a thumbs down. I do believe in fate, sort of, but I think that this is just too passive. I think that our choices do have weight and do have consequences and matter. I think that when people say this, it almost seems like the thing that they value is being passive or to not react or to not try the thing, or to not feel like it’s all on you. I don’t know, I like the feeling that it’s on me snd that I have a choice in my own future.

Emma: Yeah, I mean I think if we could update it to the things meant for you, will find you if you keep looking, then I would agree with it. I do think it’s just a little too passive for my tastes. Next up is what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I love this song, no matter how we feel about the phrase.

Elsie: Okay, so first of all, we’re giving a free pass to the banger, Kelly Clarkson song.

Emma: 100% percent. 

Elsie: And every Kelly Clarkson song gets a free pass. Also, I love Kelly Clarkson. I’m just gonna say it. I think what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is a thumbs down. It’s obviously not true.

Emma: It wounds you, it literally wounds you. 

Elsie: It’s not something you should ever, ever, ever, ever say to someone going through an illness and it’s not true. Maybe, I guess, in Kelly Clarkson’s song, it’s like a relationship thing. I don’t even think that that’s good. You know, I don’t like any of it.

Emma: If you are going through a hard time, and you’re like I’m going to look for my silver linings. So silver linings, I’m learning a lot from this big failure or this painful thing I’m going through, I’m learning something. Okay, great. That’s great and that is going to, I suppose in a way make you stronger. So that’s good. Again, I think that’s one of those things if you want to think about this for yourself, while you’re going through something, that’s a great perspective to try to have if that’s where you’re at. But to say it to somebody else, I think doesn’t make any sense because you might be wrong. You don’t know their future so that’s not helpful.

Elsie: All right. The next one is, sleep on it. Okay, I’m gonna give this a thumbs up. For me as a seven, I need to sleep on things. I need to think things through. I need to not react so quickly. I don’t think that there’s a problem with being slow to make big decisions. I think for my personality type, it’s a good thing.

Emma: Yeah, I would pretty much agree. I think it’s good to give yourself time to think on things and make sure you’re not making impulsive decisions that’s just about FOMO.

Elsie: Okay, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. I defend this. I think that planning is almost always good. For me over planning is like it can be a little bit of a distraction but it’s not a big problem in my life. Not planning, a lot of times I regret not planning. I feel like I don’t get the most out of things when I don’t spend a little bit of time planning them.

Emma: I agree. I would say this one’s a thumbs up.

Elsie: I think that the plan to fail part is maybe the part that bothers people because it’s a little bit of a Debbie Downer. Maybe like if you didn’t do your homework, you’re already failing no matter what. That doesn’t apply to everything.

Emma: Right? Okay. The next one is the one it is in the beginning about it being so cheesy, but I actually kind of think it’s good advice.

Elsie: Oh my gosh, okay, say it, Emma.

Emma: It’s live, laugh, love.

Elsie: She’s defending live, laugh, love.

Emma: I’m not saying that you should go buy a whole bunch of the decor from TJ Maxx that says live, laugh, love, and put it all-around your house. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying the actual advice of it, I don’t think is bad. I think it’s kind of good.

Elsie: I agree with you. Like there is nothing wrong with live, laugh, love.

Emma: It’s good. It’s good advice. 

Elsie: It’s fine and it does have a bad reputation that it can’t outlive.

Emma: Yep, accurate.

Elsie: Okay, the next one, I’m neutral on live, laugh, love. I’m not giving it a thumbs up. I’ll give it a medium. 

Emma: Okay, she can’t commit.

Elsie: Okay, the next one is bloom where you’re planted. I’m going to give it a thumbs down. I think that it’s unhelpful because it’s kind of saying be happy with what you have or be content where you are.

Emma: I would give it probably a thumbs up because I think there are times you don’t have any other choice about where you’re planted so you might as well bloom, I guess, is what I would say. 

Elsie: Or not let it hold you back. 

Emma: Yeah. Not let it hold you back. Yeah, that’s kind of what I would say because there are things you just can’t control at times. But I wouldn’t say this to someone if they’re like considering a move or considering changing their career, and maybe that would be positive for them. It’s like, well, maybe don’t maybe you should bloom somewhere else. I don’t think it’s necessarily saying don’t make any change. It’s clear that sometimes we do need to make changes in our lives, sometimes big changes. But I also think you can bloom anywhere that you are. If you can’t change it, then you might as well bloom.

Elsie: We know that anything’s possible. But I think that if the person saying it is someone who’s like, lived in the same hometown their whole life, it does feel a little bit like hard to hear for everyone else. 

Emma: Right. Right. I don’t think it has to be about location either. 

Elsie: Still thumbs down to bloom where you’re planted though. I can see a little bit of a good thing there.

Emma: I like that we have opposite takes on a lot of these though. I think that’s kind of interesting.

Elsie: Me too. I mean, they are mostly oversimplified. So it’s like your interpretation can be different. Some of them, you have to interpret them a lot to get any meaning out of them because they’re still meaningless.

Emma: True. Okay, next is fake it till you make it.

Elsie: Okay, this one was kind of heated. I think some people perceive it as like, you should literally lie to get a job. I don’t necessarily think that’s what it means. I think to some extent, I defend the idea if what it means to you is be okay with starting off imperfectly, or I’m gonna start this new thing that I’ve never tried before and I know that I’m not going to be good enough at it for a while even by my own standards. I’m still going to do it. If that’s what fake it till you make it means, then I would give it a thumbs up. If it means literally lying to try to, like putting a different college on your job application, then, you know, like, obvious thumbs down. 

Emma: Yeah, I agree.  If it’s like a do something illegal or actively deceive others, yeah, thumbs down. But if it’s more of a like, get over yourself, and just like go for it, then I’m for that. Okay, the next one is, you will find it when you least expect it.

Elsie: Hate it. I hate it because it’s just again so passive. My reaction to this one is like so what you’re saying is do nothing.

Emma: Usually when I find things, it’s because I’m looking for them.

Elsie: That’s true. I mean, I think that there’s lots of things in life where you find something valuable or magical, unexpectedly and it’s delightful. But I think you’re right, Emma. More often than not, it’s when you’re pursuing something, or you’re taking some kind of action in your life, to try to move towards something you want.

Emma: Because there’s so many things you can’t control in life. So it’s like sometimes you do have to kind of let that go.  Okay, the next one is ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

Elsie: Okay, big thumbs up from me. I love this one. I think it’s great. Obviously, there’s going to be times when it doesn’t apply. 

Emma: Don’t break the law.

Elsie: If it becomes criminal or unethical, I’m not talking about that.

Emma: Don’t do that. Don’t do that. 

Elsie: But I think in many, like just little things in life, it’s like the personality type who has to ask for every single clarifying question before they begin a project, I think is likely to get hung up more than the personality who’s just like, let’s try this. Let’s try this. Let’s try this. I like the idea of just trying things and not worrying so much about the rules because a lot of rules are made up or fake anyway. As every parent knows, when your kids ask you can I do this or not, it’s like, a lot of times you don’t know which one you’re gonna say. You just say one.

Emma: Yeah, yeah. If you’re coming from a good place and you’re doing your best, then I don’t think you need to ask for permission all the time.

Elsie: Not about every little thing. Yeah. 

Emma: All right, the next one is it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Elsie: I think this one’s annoying but I can see some truth there. It depends. I think a lot of people think that everyone successful got there by networking or by knowing some kind of secret or one opportunity and I don’t believe in that. I think that most successful people feel like it was like 100 little things that they did not one or two big things. So I don’t believe in that at all but I do think that networking is extremely important. Not even necessarily networking, but for me, having my close friends circle be the right people who I want them to influence my life has been an extremely big moment of growth for me. I would attribute that to why I’m a different person than I was 10 years ago. 

Emma: I completely agree. Yeah, I think who you spend all of your time with deeply affects who you are and what you’re interested in, and where you’re gonna go in life and it’s really your choice. This is not meant as a criticism, or like, you need to cut people out of your life if they’re not up to your standards. I don’t know about that. But I would say if all of your friends, their only hobby is going out and getting super drunk every single weekend, and you’re like, oh, that’s the cycle I’m in and I’m not happy about it, you may need to branch out and get some other friends because like, what are you going to do on the weekends, just be lonely? You probably just need to branch out and broaden your perspective. That’s more what I would say is like, yes, I do think you can sometimes get jobs or get new opportunities because of who you know. That’s accurate. That does happen. That’s a thing. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad. But I think, generally, it’s better if the more qualified person gets things, that’s where I’d go with that. But more than that, I would say that when you’re a friendly person and you network, and you get to know people, not just people you’ve always been friends with but like new people, and you have a real curious heart and you want to know about others.

Elsie: Making friends with people outside of your bubble. 

Emma: Yes, exactly. You’re going to just broaden your perspective on life and that’s valuable.

Elsie: I agree. I don’t think that’s what the cliche is really saying but I do agree. The people who, like you allow in your inner circle, determine your future, and the type of person you’re becoming, and how big or small your world is and your view of what’s possible. I don’t really know what the cliche means. I think it probably means different things to different people who say it. So I don’t know, I can’t give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

Emma: So the next one is the golden rule, treat people the way you want to be treated.

Elsie: I put a thumbs up. And I think, of course, of course, you should treat other people how you want to be treated, but I’m going to give it a caveat. The caveat is that for people who like myself and you people who’ve lived somewhat of a sheltered life, I think that it can be harder to make boundaries. I’m thinking of like internet boundaries, but it’s gonna be different for different people. But for me, just being able to sort of block people and things like that. That was like something that was really hard for me because I always felt like you should try to see the best thing they could have meant by that or what if they really are like a really true supporter. Then this one thing I did really bugged them and they just felt like they had to say it. But a lot of the time people are just being a**holes.

Emma: So you felt like I wouldn’t want to be blocked so I should never block someone.

Elsie: I think that giving the benefit of the doubt too freely isn’t helpful online. If you always assume that people have the same intentions as you, then you’ll let people get into your head who are just there to call you names and make you feel like sh*t.  For me, having a zero tolerance on people giving me parenting critiques has been really helpful. It’s like simplifying, and I don’t think that all the people who I blocked are bad or have bad intentions, or really even deserved it but it’s easier for me to just let that be a rule that I have, a boundary that I have. I think if I was like considering them all, treating them all the way I would want to be treated, I don’t know though. 

Emma: Well, let me ask you this, though. What harm do you cause them by blocking them? Does that harm them?

Elsie: That’s true, too. It’s like also, I wouldn’t have said what they said, at all, like 100% I wouldn’t have so because a lot of times it’s petty.

Emma: Well, My point is more like, I don’t think you’re hurting them so I wouldn’t say that you’re like not treating them the way that you would want to be treated. I don’t know if that’s true, because you’re not hurting them. I think if you posted their comment with their full name and where they live and where they work, and you said, this person’s been so mean to me, go get them internet friends of mine. I think that would be maybe not what I would do because I don’t think it’s the way I would want to be treated. But I think blocking someone like what harm does that cause them? Generally, I think this is a great one, thumbs up. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Additionally, if you notice that you treat others way better than you treat yourself, maybe think on that too. You should treat yourself just as well, too because I know I’ll be really kind to other people and then in my own head be really mean to myself. So it’s like, this one applies to everybody and you’re in the group too.

Elsie: Yeah. Then, in that case, I’ll give it just a straight-up, thumbs up.

Emma: Next one is, don’t give up on your dream.

Elsie: I think that sometimes you absolutely should give up on some dreams and I have, and I’m glad for it. At the same time. I think that being resilient is really important. I don’t know but I guess I do think that you should give up on some dreams. I think it’s a sign of maturity and growth when you realize that you don’t just have to have one purpose in life. My husband recently made sort of a career pivot. He started a new business and stopped trying to be a songwriter, something he had been trying to do since college. He just turned 40 this year, so something he had been trying to do his entire adult life and he pivoted. It was such a great thing for him. All around good. All pros, no cons. So I think that there’s two sides to it. I don’t want to encourage someone to prematurely quit when they’re just in that beginning building up their hours and getting something but at the same time, I think that not all dreams have to last your entire life like life is not a Disney movie.

Emma: That is pretty much exactly what I would say is like, I actually kind of agree, thumbs up to don’t give up on your dreams, but huge caveat in that I would not be afraid to modify your dreams or change your dreams over time. A dream doesn’t have to be a hill that you die on. I don’t think you should give up like on life, like give up on things that you want to do. But at the same time, you may need to modify or change your dream. It could even be that you were really excited about something when you were 18 and by the time you’re 30, you’re not into that anymore, because guess what, more than a decade passed and you’re a different person. You might need to change and update and modify and pivot, and that’s totally fine. That’s not you giving up on your dreams. That’s like changing your dreams.

Elsie: No, I think one of the most beautiful things in life is to get a new dream that you have never had before, like a second career. I think it’s a beautiful thing. So I consider that one, nothing. I don’t know, I don’t even give it a score. It’s like maybe, maybe not. 

Emma: This is our last one and this one Trey says all the time.

Elsie: Wait, first, say if you give it a thumbs up or thumbs down and then say what it is.

Emma: Okay, I guess I give it, I think I give it a thumbs up. I think at times it can be annoying to hear. I think all of them are because they’re cliches. I think I give it a thumbs up. 

Elsie: And it is…

Emma: It is what it is. 

Elsie: I am going to give it a thumbs down. Only because I just don’t think it really means anything. 

Emma: It doesn’t mean anything, that’s true. 

Elsie: I think it’s just kind of saying let’s just accept what’s real or accept the reality we currently have and I say it. I guess maybe I should say, I’m giving it a thumbs down but I do sometimes say it too. 

Emma: Interesting. 

Elsie: This is something I should say less.

Emma: We have a listener question. We don’t know if it’s a rude question or if it’s a compliment, we’re not sure. 

Elsie: I took it as a slightly rude question but I think the person meant it in a funny way. 

Emma: And I thought it was a compliment. I was like, oh thank you when I read this so it’s funny. 

Elsie: The question is, how does ABM work? We never see working. It’s such a funny question to me because I feel like we’ve shown the inner workings of our business a lot. But also I get it it’s not like I set up a camera and show you a little video of me sitting at my computer. I never showed that because it’s boring. So I guess I get that. We have lots of lots and lots of days that are mostly computer work. I actually think there’s a lot of influencers and bloggers who do a much better job than us at making their life look glamorous and fun and interesting.  I actually don’t think we show like a cute lunch like I went somewhere today. When I go to a restaurant or a store, I usually don’t take a video of it. Like some influencers show kind of like all the highlights of what they do and I’m not good at that, at least not right now in my life. So yeah, basically, we do computer work every day. That’s how it works. 

Emma: I mean, I think of it more like when I go to a restaurant and I order a meal, and they come and they set the plate in front of me and it looks delicious and smells amazing and it’s delicious. I don’t really think like, oh, I didn’t see the chef, go buy these ingredients and cook this meal. But I know they did because the plates now sitting in front of me. So in a similar way, like if you see new content go up on our blog, basically every single day for the last decade, you better believe that we’ve been working.

Elsie: Okay, well, thank you so much for listening. If you have a question, you can email us anytime at podcast@abeautifulmess.com. We love using your questions for our segments at the end of the episodes and also if you want to you can leave us a voicemail. The number for that is 417-893-0011 and you can just leave us a voicemail and we may play it in a future episode. See you next week.

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  • I’m so glad to hear this, indeed some people don’t get that telling those things are rude, and also I get that we are not taught how to act in certain situations where words sometimes are pointless

  • Wow never thought of it like that. Please trust us oldies with grown kids …never meant to annoy, it’s just shocking how fast it goes. I do appreciate your honesty and will definitely bite my tongue when I want to say it! We know you guys appreciate your babes ❤️

  • “They grow up so fast”. It is cliche. But true. I also think one reason parents of older and grown kids say this is because we miss it so much. We’re a little sad and pathetic. My youngest went away to college last fall and my middle of three just got married at twenty two. I was knee deep in parenting for years and now I’m basically done. Which is good! They are each thriving in their own ways and luckily they still like the occasional input from us. I have my own life but I miss it. Parenting is just a series of finding yourself irrelevant. That’s good for your kids but as a society as a whole we tend to dismiss those who’ve been there because we want to forge our own paths. But when you here that cliche advice, maybe listen to their stories of their experiences as parents. They are just as valid of experiences as anyone currently in it. Basically, listen to each other. We all have experiences as parents that can add a valid perspective. Oh, and us been there done that types, know when to back off and listen yourself. Love you guys and your podcast! Thanks for letting me listen.

  • I love your podcast but the part where you defend billionaires and don’t even acknowledge that money drives people to do bad things? This really left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t go to the podcast for politics, etc so I am not expecting it. But money is the cause of a lot of evil in the world – war, famine, and here in America a big one is why laws aren’t passed, that would benefit the poor. Raising up the poor doesn’t happen because powerful people with a lot of money don’t let it happen. Just because some billionaire’s donate a VERY SMALL percentage of their wealth does not mean we should applaud them.
    Tax the rich.

    • You are taking their statements WAY out of context. They were saying — and I think it was well said — that many billionaires are extremely philanthropic. MacKenzie Scott has given away $5.8 billion in grants (including $10million to Goodwill) The Bill and Melinda Gate foundation have committed to giving 1.75 billion over the next two years for pandemic relief. And many of these very philanthropic individuals (I’m thinking of Warren Buffet) have actually committed to donating ALL of their wealth before they die. Look, they are not all good people, but pool any category of people and you’ll find some bad actors. (I’m personally not a fan of the billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson poking holes in the earth’s atmosphere (or Bezos and his stupid yacht) — but there are definitely jackasses in every economic category.

      Did you know that American donate way more than (the heavily taxed) Europeans — about 7 times more per capita. Based on giving, America actually ranks as the most generous country in the world. Emma very succinctly said that it wasn’t MONEY that was the root of all evil — it is GREED. GREED is the cause of war and famine. Money is merely a tool. It can be used for good or for ill.

      • I don’t believe Elsie and Emma meant any harm with their comments, and I don’t imagine they’re looking to get a debate going, so I hesitated to reply to this, but I feel it’s important context for anyone reading about charity in the US and nodding along; please consider the context of American generosity. You are correct that European countries with higher taxation donate less, and that is because it is less necessary to rely on the arbitrary kindness of the wealthy when the elected government has the appropriate funds (via taxation) to serve the needy and help mitigate the harms of poverty. One the reasons that many object to billionaires despite their charity is that they are still operating in an unregulated system; I don’t want individual billionaires deciding who deserves to be donated to and helped, I want to elect officials I trust and have them funded to serve the needs of their constituents.

    • Agree 10000%. I think choosing to focus on billionaires so-called “philanthropy” is willfully ignoring the experiences of poor people who are on the receiving end of it…who would much rather be paid a living wage at the expense of their billionaire employer than receive goodwill donations from them.

      I took a break from this podcast because the emphasis on personal wealth management was not speaking to my experiences as a low income person. Tried listening again with this episode and had to stop at this point. I have a lot of respect for Elsie and Emma but it’s clear that their experiences around wealth and money don’t align with mine. Good for them, not for me. 🙂

    • Hi! I want to respond to this because I’m a human.
      (This response is for everyone in the comments section, not trying to single you out Hillary)

      I don’t think we were necessarily defending billionaires. but I do think a lot of the memes shared on social media are very oversimplified. It was super interesting to me to read about billionaires (famous and not) who have committed to donate the *majority* of their wealth during their lifetime and are actively doing so. I found it inspiring and hopeful.

      I genuinely think that is interesting enough to have a conversation about. More context is good, right? I don’t think shaming wealthy people or oversimplifying to prove a point achieves anything. Maybe it’s smart to point out and “applaud” billionaires who are doing great things with their wealth instead of lumping everyone into one big group. I love the idea that there are good, kind, compassionate billionaires… I don’t see how that is a bad thing.

      To be clear:
      I was NOT making a political statement.
      I *do* support taxing the rich.
      I think you can applaud a rich person for being extremely charitable AND support policy change that helps the poor.
      I’m not a “one issue voter” but if I were my one issue would be ending extreme poverty- supporting people in poverty is very important.

      Anyway! I hope that adds some context and thanks for listening to the podcast. 🙂 And ps it’s TOTALLY OK if some of you disagree with me, I just want to feel understood. XX!

    • Exactly! And the money billionaires give to charities is nothing compared to the taxes they dodge, all while getting publicity to look good. Yes, it’s a huge amount of money, but it’s pocket change if you are that rich. They are also rich often because they underpay and put workers in dangerous situations (e.g. Bezos’s labor practices with Amazon are horrendous). I know that you have done a lot of work around Black Lives Matter, it wouldn’t hurt to look up some information about labor history and why people are critical of capitalism.

  • I hate YOLO lol. My mother used to response “YODO- you only die once” because she felt lots of kids were using YOLO when doing dangerous or reckless things. We don’t necessarily only live once- we live everyday! So much opportunity for tomorrow! But we definitely only die once (in this lifetime). Anyway, that has always stuck with me.

    Loved this episode!

  • My favorite response to “sleep when the baby is sleeping” is “cry when the baby cries” 😉 this was a fun one to listen to!

  • This is such a fun episode!! I have to say I completely give a thumbs up to “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” though. Haha! But only if you think of it in terms of avoiding scams. It is TOTALLY accurate if that’s the way you use it….like pyramid schemes for example! Basic premise sounds awesome and too good to be true. But down the road it turns out, it actually is too good to be true, and only the people at the top benefit.

    On the flip side I’ll admit there are some scenarios where things that sound “too good to be true” actually do work out – like I just bought a house close to my sister and I love it! But 2 years ago I wouldn’t have thought that move and home purchase would have been possible.

    • Yes!!! Through my job I see so many people fall for scams and their hard earned savings is list, and its heartbreaking. So, at least for things like that, look at them with a critical eye and if it seems too good to be true…..

  • Interesting episode, but I promise that billionaires don’t need to be defended. They’ll be fine if the rest of us think they’re hoarding wealth. LOL.

  • Great topic but I can’t even get past the first one 🙂 You can hate the cliche but, as a 60 year old mother of two daughters, 25 and 29, all I can say is there isn’t a word that more succinctly describes the whole journey than “blink.” As in, I don’t. even. know. how. it’s. possible that it all went by so quickly in hindsight. 🙂

  • Instead of saying sleep when the baby sleeps, they should be saying, “Let me take care of your baby while baby is awake so you can do something for yourself, then you can sleep while the baby is sleeping.” Of course this only works if you really trust the person.😆😄

    • This!!! Yes you can only sleep when baby sleeps if other things got done while baby is awake!

  • This was a fun episode! I really hate the advice “Sleep when the baby’s sleeping.” I want to respond “Of course. I’ll just have the magical gnomes that came with my newborn wash bottles, start laundry, feed me, bathe me and poop for me. Oh wait. My insurance doesn’t cover that.” But instead I just say something cordial, and fume inside.

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