Let’s be clear on something: we all have a choice. Speaking is a choice, staying silent is a choice, listening is a choice. All of these things are optional, and to do, or not to do, any of them is an individual decision.
Why am I talking about this?? Because we as a species, sometimes don’t know when we’ve said enough, when we’ve made the point, or hey…when to SHUT IT!!! Now, I advise people a lot of the time. And, usually, I do so because I’ve been asked for my thoughts on something. But, what I’ve come to learn is–sometimes people ask you for your opinion, only because they want you to tell them what they want to hear. Other times, people give you their “suggestion” only because they want to control you. Let me be clear, both approaches are off. Why? Simple: free will isn’t being honored. And, that is a no-no. Bottom-line: Do not treat any one in a way that you–yourself cannot handle.
Often times we worry so much about those we care about that we think it’s important to do the following: scream, cry, argue, and repeat. We truly want the best for those we love, so we go overboard by yammering to the point we alienate the very person we’re trying to help. Parents have a tendency to do this, spouses and friends do as well– all under the umbrella of, “I care about you”. And, here’s the deal– you cannot “make” anyone do what you want, when they’d rather do the opposite.
There are many people who ask me for my thoughts on things. I begin with, “Do you really want to know what I think?” –That’s the warning, because I’m not a hand-holder. I don’t walk around with a teaspoon and a bag of sugar, and I’m certainly too clear in my own thoughts to be somebody’s “amen-corner.” If you are hurting yourself and ask me what I think , I’ll tell you. If you have a blind side in your interactions with others, I’m the first to point that out. But, the most critical part is: The delivery.
A person can say anything under the sun if they know how to deliver the message. Last time I checked, no one enjoyed feeling like they are being lectured to. I, personally hate repeating myself, so, after three different times of delivering a message, I will throw you out. Meaning: I’m moving on from you and the conversation. Why?? Because there are quite a few people who like to complain about the changes they need to make. And, they can do that forever, and, they’d like you to join them on that treadmill of a drama. I don’t do that. At the same time, when someone has “messed up again”, the worst thing you could do is say “I told you so”. Truly, how is that helpful? Other than stroking the ego of the “advisor”, and making the “advised” feel even worse–how is that helpful??
I believe it’s important to show a person what they are doing that’s self-destructive, rather than telling them. One of the best ways to do this, is to repeat back to the person what they’ve said was “wrong” about a situation. Example: ” So-and-so always talks down to me.” I will say something like: “Are you saying you don’t feel respected?” And, then I ask them, “Are you okay with that, and if not, have you told them?” Listen, I am only my own messiah, I can only do something about Monica. But, I can tell you what I know. If you keep telling me things that “they” do to you, I’m going to keep asking you what “you” are going to do about it. You are the author of your life story. And, that will always be the theme behind any and everything I say to someone. It’s YOUR responsibility. In other words: I’m here to empower you, not to tell you what to do.
When we advise we need to be clear on our role. I am not interested in living someone elses’ life for them. So, I really work to refrain from using “should”. It’s not so much about what you “should” do, as it is about– can you live with what you “did” or “want” to do? Can you live with repeating the same patterns over and over again? Can you live with never moving beyond a certain level in your life? Can you live with feeling “stuck”?? If you can, very well, but, you don’t get to complain–at least to me. When it’s clear that my words are not penetrating enough to, at the very least, get you think about making a change, or a shift–then, everybody’s time and energy is being wasted. And, rather than demanding that you listen to me and take my advice, I’ll honor your choice and simply be quiet and let you deal with the consequences of your choices.
It’s not easy to watch people hurt themselves, whether they are conscious they are doing so or not. But, once you’ve said all you could, you have to step back and be quiet. Do you have to be quiet forever? Not necessarily, but, when you stop yourself from going overboard, you leave room for several things: 1. For the person to come to you again for your thoughts. 2. For them to continue to value their relationship with you. 3. –For them to mull over what you’ve said. It’s pretty hard for anyone to decipher pearls of wisdom from your words if you are screaming them. If you have to scream, then, the wisdom behind the words is questionable. Truth is powerful enough to be whispered. And, when you speak the truth, you can trust that it will do its job and plant the seed of change into the psyche of the person you’re advising. But, in the end…taking the advice isn’t something you can control. And, that is where faith steps in.
Life is not always an easy road to travel, but, it is a path, that in truth, we travel individually. You can only walk your road, as other walk theirs’. While roads may intersect, intertwine and run parallel–they are not the same. Let your words be helpful, in that they empower the listener to think and act for themselves. And, if they do not listen or act–that is no reflection on your attempt of being of service. Plant the seed, and no more. You need not hover to see if it sprouts. 😉
Love Peace Happiness N One,