I am so glad we were each given such individual personalities. We are so unique that no two people think the same way or the same thing. It really is a blessing. The problem is though, that I notice more and more that we seem to forget that other people are not us. We try to convince them that what is right for us is right for them, trying to enforce our views, our way of life, our methods onto them.
People ask for advice, that’s true. That’s when they want to know your opinion. They are stuck for ways to help themselves or they don’t trust that the decision they’ve made for themselves is the best one, that perhaps there’s another way they are not aware of that would benefit the situation a bit better. That’s a time we have the right to interject, to help, inform, give options. At the same time, we should try to find out as much information from them that we can before offering advice.
The other day I was having a discussion with a friend on Facebook. She stated she was going to do something because, well, “that’s what <she> needed” for herself to heal. She figured it out on her own. No one told her she had to, it came from her. It wasn’t long after she posted that someone put in their two cents and commented, “That’s not what you need, you need <this>.” I thought about that. Thankfully she wasn’t offended by it but many people would be. We mean well when we do it but why should we be telling someone else what they need when they already know?
Coincidentally, another friend posted something similar that she was sharing from someone on her feed:
Post: “Unsolicited advice is often viewed as criticism.”
Comment: “Until there is a question, there is no place for the answers to go. It’s like water pouring on a saturated sponge. Useless. If you want to help, offer unsolicited questions, which empower others to find their own answers.”
What a great response to that I thought. Giving advice when it’s not asked for is useless. Not only will the other person not hear it or use it, but they may become resentful for having been told what to do or what is right for them when they feel they already know.
Asking questions that would cause the person to think in a different way is much more beneficial. If you can’t think of the right questions to prompt a better thought process, it is best to be supportive of their decision or not say anything at all. It saves you from alienating the other person and causing friction in the friendship or relationship.
Let me be me and find my own way. If I’m not about to hurt myself or someone else, perhaps it would be best to let me learn from my own mistakes. Sometimes making mistakes is the best way to learn. And if it’s right for me, it won’t be a mistake, only in your eyes. Thankfully, that is why we were given the ability to be as unique as we desire.
What are your thoughts in regards to this?
For more posts on relationships, inspirations and ways to increase happiness and reduce stress, see the sidebar for more posts. If this has helped you or you think it can help someone else, feel free to share.