1. When someone asks for help, always give her something. You don't have to give her what she asks for, but you can give her a word of encouragement, a helpful idea or a caring glance.

2. Keep at least one stuffed animal.

3. Be the hostess. Want to make others feel at ease and make yourself feel more confident? Assume the role of hostess. No matter where you are, act welcoming and caring and you will come off like you own the place: "Hello, I'm so glad to see you, did you find the place easily?" or "I was just headed to the food table, are you hungry?" or "This is my planet, can I help you find your way around?"

4. When you make a cake for someone, make a cupcake out of the batter for yourself. Only so you can be sure you didn't use salt instead of sugar. That's the only reason.

5. Honor your fear. It may be trying to tell you something.

6. Don't worry about mastering parallel parking. They are designing cars that will do it for you.

7. Be an original. Just be yourself and you'll be a one and only. What's more, you'll be easy to authenticate.

8. The No. 1 cause of guilt is doing something wrong.

9. Show your dreams who's boss. Sometimes when we dream big, we scare ourselves. We look at what we declared in our biggest, truest moments and decide we were thinking too big. After a string of bad days, we begin to think of our dreams as taskmasters or hard-to-get lovers, and we concoct reasons we don't really want them after all. For shame! Your dreams are at your beck and call, and don't ever forget it. Their job is to serve you, inspire you, pull you forward and keep you from eating that third brownie. Make them toe the line.

10. Don't tell bathroom jokes at the kitchen table.

11. Don't tell inside jokes around outside company. Nobody likes to feel left out. Having a laugh that does not include everyone is rude and hurtful to people who don't know you well. By the way, laughing at that thing on your phone that no one can see counts, too.

12. Everything counts. To get us through the swings and misses of growing up, we sometimes comfort one another with assurances that certain things don't really matter. The truth is, it all counts—the good and the bad and barely visible. It counts how we treat people we'll never see again and how we treat people we see every day. It counts how much we try, how much we lie and how much we rationalize by saying it doesn't count. It all goes into the layered, luminous masterpieces of the people we are. It doesn't make us good or evil or stupid, but it does count.

13. Never lie to your mother. And if you do, never think you got away with it.

Photos: CSA Images/ Color Printstock Collection/Getty Images

This excerpt was taken from Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone, by Becky Blades. Find Becky at Startistry.com.


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