Monday, June 09, 2014

Why I Usually Don't Believe in Advice

When I'm quiet and listen to people talk around me in public settings, it surprises me how much of their conversation is either complaining or advice-giving.  I've come to believe that neither are actually very helpful in making life better.

Complaining doesn't solve problems.  Focusing on stuff I don't like and then complaining about it is a big waste of time.  I might get a little bit of satisfaction from being self-righteous, but nothing gets better as a result.  Plus my mind just runs in a negative groove which never makes me feel happy.  Acceptance has brought me so much more peace.

Advice-giving is not only a waste but even can be dangerous.  I have lots of opinions, but unless they're based on my life experience or on my education and training, they're just my ego flapping it's lips.  I'm just judging and then telling someone else what to do.  I could be extremely wrong.  If anyone listened to me, did what I said, and got horrible results...well, enough said.

Of course, I learned to complain and give advice from childhood.  I think everybody does.  Of course, those of us who consider ourselves intelligent (isn't that practically everybody?), think our opinions are the exact truth.  What an illusion we're all living in!  No wonder there are so many unsolved problems in our world.  I actually have no idea how things are supposed to be because I'm not God.  I actually have no idea what somebody else should do because I've not lived their life nor had their experiences. 

What can be helpful for me is to say the Serenity Prayer and really give thought to what I can change and what I can't.  If it seems after prayer that I can change something and it would be helpful, I can do it.  That's a big difference from complaining. 

If someone is struggling with a problem that I have experience with solving, education and training about, or I've researched solutions, I can share what options they might have for solving the problem - if they want my input.  If they haven't asked, well...why would I open my mouth?

Of course, this means that I pretty much ignore other people's complaining and advice.  I try to remember to change the subject or just let the advice go if I think it's well-intentioned.  (If I asked for input, it's from someone who has similar life experience or training.) 

I do wonder sometimes if it would be more helpful if I said what I think, but usually I don't.  I would probably say something that might hurt feelings.  I used to say something like, "I'm not open to advice from anyone who hasn't had my life experiences."  But that seemed kind of harsh so I stopped.  Of course, I was irritated and really wanted to say, "Oh honey, you are so full of shit.  You have no idea what you are talking about.  You are just sharing your judgmental thinking and that's inappropriate even if you are well-intentioned."  Very harsh. 

I think I should add that there are some things that probably apply to just about everything.  I saw something on TV once that was meant to be funny but was also truthful.  A guy was sitting in his recliner with his iphone.  He said, "Siri, tell me something wise."  Siri replied, "Always be kind, eat your vegetables and get plenty of sleep."

It's so much more peaceful inside my head when I'm not looking around for what someone else is doing that I judge as wrong, or complaining about stuff I don't like.  I can have fun, listen to music, read interesting books, hang out with friends, walk in the woods, take a nap, etc. instead.

1 comment:

Eric Wayne Mix, DO said...

I agree 100 % : )

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