“What is it that we human beings are really good at?
We find it really easy to do this thing, in fact it comes natural to a lot of us…”
Give it a thought. In the meanwhile, let me share a story with you all.
A few years ago, I received a call from a friend who was facing trouble in dealing with her teenage son. She was unsure on how to deal with his mood swings, tantrums and everything that most of us experience as parents of teenagers. She kept speaking about it to me on the phone. And do you know how I responded? Since I am a mother to a son as well, my first instinct was to give her a long list of dos and don’ts. The response was so simply because I felt that it was the best possible one. She shared her trouble, and I gave her advice. Nothing wrong about that, is it?
Well, coming back to the question I asked to you at the start. Did you find the answer?
The answer to that question is – giving advice.
We human beings are really good at giving advice, just like I gave to my friend when she called. It comes so easily to each one of us, doesn’t it? Even when nobody is asking for it, we love to offer a piece of it to them, as a way to show our control over someone, or simply to share our knowledge of the subject. Irrespective of whether the advice is relevant to the person, whether it is even required in the situation.
And we feel really good about ourselves after having advised someone to do something a certain way. But do you realize that it doesn’t end here?
Coming back to my story; even after offering my friend with the whole package of parenting advice, I was unhappy. The reason being that I was attaching myself to the whole process.
The thing is, when we offer advice to a close friend or family, we expect them to follow it. And that is exactly what used to happen with me – it actually troubled me when they didn’t follow the advice. But Karma does strike and teaches you a lesson, and so it came visiting to me too. How?
So, one day while I was reading a book, I came across a quote by Dalai Lama. Not that I hadn’t read it before, but in that moment, it just hit me. The quote said,
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
This made me realize that my friend was not lost. And that she did not need me to share my expertise on parenting with her. She was simply speaking her heart out, all I had to do was listen.
Skipping to a few months later when my mother gave me an advice, and I bluntly refused it. This led to an argument where she pointed out that when I offer advice, I offer it with the expectation that people follow it; but I myself don’t follow it when I am on the receiving end. She showed me the mirror in that moment. It made me introspect and realize that even though I used to listen to everyone, I always did things how I felt was right. I never appreciated unnecessary advice by people but without realizing, I had myself become that person. All this while, I had been shooting innumerable pieces of advice to people all around me, in the process of which, I realized that I even strained some very close relationships. That hit me really hard.
From that day onwards, I have consciously made the effort to not give advice to anybody. Unless they specifically come to me for professional or personal advice, I do not offer it from my end. And I really feel that I have become a better human being, a good listener and have improved my personal relationships by doing so. Moreover, I have stopped judging people. I have understood the fact that everyone has their own life journeys. Even though we want to be valued and have our own authority in every relationship, we cannot make the other person move according to us.
Everyone learns from their own experiences and we need to let them do so. I can now say with confidence that I have clearly learnt to “Live & Let Live”. And believe me, I am so much at peace. It is a blessing for me personally and I thank god every day that I learnt it.
Sharing with you all why giving advice to people is not needed, especially in times when it has not been asked for. It might help you to be at peace with yourself.
- It Comes Across as Imposing Control
Your advice can make the other person question their abilities. If the person is one who does not hold confidence in their own decisions, your advice can seem overwhelming and burdening for them.
- It Cannot Always Be Correct As It Comes From A Limited Perspective
You may think you know everything about a person or the situation, but trust me you are just one part of their lives and can never fully understand the complete perspective.
- It Makes The Person On The Receiving End Feel Worthless And Lowers Confidence
Everyone has a certain way of doing things and has his/her own opinion. However, if you unnecessarily reach out to give them advice that contradicts their beliefs, it will do nothing else but lower their self-confidence and make them feel as if their opinions and feelings are worthless. Furthermore, you might just end up losing a relationship.
- It Takes Away Ownership From The Person And May Have A Reverse Effect.
If your advice ends up not being the right one, the person might put you to blame. This would do nothing else but adversely affect your relationship with them.
So, what kind of a person are you? Do you give a lot of advice? Or do you take a lot of advice? Do you invest yourself too much in the process of giving advice, the way I used to?
Do share with me in the comments below, I would love to hear your experiences and journey.