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March 3, 2012

A Word of Advice: Being kind, honest goes a long way

Daily Star

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We all have someone in our lives who has a problem owning up to their mistakes; it could be you, a friend or a relative. No matter who does it, be aware that in no way is it a good thing.

Blaming others for your problems or issues not only hurts you but the people around you. Trying to blame someone else for your mistakes and pointing your finger tends to make you look immature.

Not owning up to them gives you a reputation of someone who thinks he or she is perfect. You come off as if you are too cool to make mistakes, when the reality is, everyone makes them. Just be mature and own up to these things.

It is important to take responsibility for your mistakes, especially as you get older. As you mature and create a pattern of ignoring your mistakes, you will make people angry. You may not see people showing it, but they are creating anger internally toward you. A big disadvantage to ignoring your wrongs is that if people do wrong to you, they may copy your patterns of lying and refuse to admit something they've done wrong. All this lying and blaming others will certainly cause you and your friends to have bad feelings for one another.

It is crucial not to lie to people for multiple reasons. Lying causes people to doubt you until you prove yourself to them. For example, if you get caught numerous times lying to your friends and one day someone accuses you of taking something from him or her even though you didn't do it, most likely nobody is going to believe what you say.

Think about how you would feel about someone who consistently lied to you.

Don't you think you would start rolling your eyes at much of what he or she said? Worst of all, losing trust is easy but, gaining it back, takes a very, very long time.

Keeping your word goes hand-in-hand with lying, as they have an impact on one another. Keeping your word creates a trust in what you say. If you can keep your word, it influences the people around you to keep their promises to you as well.

When you consistently say you are going to do something, and then end up "forgetting," that person will no longer look to you as someone he can trust or look to for help. In return, you may find him less than willing to keep his own promises.

Being selfish is not necessary and it begins to hurt everyone around you. If you can't give to other people or think of others, it causes people to not want to do things for you. When you learn to appreciate people it makes people feel good about their efforts and themselves. I often hear people using the quote, "a smile is contagious." Just going out of your way to smile at a stranger or do something polite will influence them to be kind to others as well. Another term used in this respect is, "Paying it forward." This means when someone does something good for you, in return, you pay them back by doing something good for someone else.

If you are there for your friends, family and even strangers, as often as you can be, 9 out of 10 times when you need help, it's more likely someone will be there willingly for you. Being kind goes a long way.

You don't need to be perfect, you're human, and all humans are, by nature, imperfect. All you need to do is own up to your mistakes and take responsibility.

Melissa Flathmann, a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a freshman at the State University College at Plattsburgh. Would you like A Word of Advice from her? Send her an email at or send her a letter to "Teen Talk: A Word of Advice," C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at