Monday, November 2, 2009

Take your own advice

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and that is that we as social creatures feel we need to help each other out. In the course of doing just that, we come up with some "good advice."

"I think you should slow down the pace, take time to look at things while you're relaxed, and then come up with an answer. Don't do it while you're in a bad state of mind"

Hey, that's some good advice.

We all know sometimes we're in a mood or under pressure and we make a decision we would not otherwise make, and if we had only waited and relaxed we could have seen more of the picture to make a wiser decision.

But we rarely take advice. Yes, we nod in agreement, "good thinking", and then go about following our out of control emotions.

And we never seem to take our own advice, which is what this blog is about. Each of us at some time or another gave out some great advice, something that dropped out of the heavens in fact. We were even proud that we could so clearly see what somebody else should do.

Then a week or so later, we, ourselves, the sagacious advice givers, find that we should have taken our own advice, but we didn't.

It was good enough for somebody else, but then when we need it, we totally forget what advice we created. Suddenly we're lost.

I love my friends. They hear the wisdom of my advice and so gently throw it back in my face when I'm not using it myself.

But what is advice? Well, it's a plan to deal with a situation which the person has blocked, been in denial about, or cannot see for some reason the practicality of the suggestion.

Advice is suggestion and there is different kinds of advice.

There's advice about an issue like your taxes, where you really don't know much about it and you have to pay to get advice as what to do, what is the best course of action.

Then there's suggestions from people who have been around you and observed you and know from experience what type of advice to give you. They probably have said it ten times before, but you weren't listening.

"Oh, that is really smart, why didn't you tell me that before?" (I did)

Selective hearing and selective understanding is an issue we deal with when someone is in a situation that isn't necessarily good for them and they don't want to face it.

You say, "I know the car means a lot to you, but it's not worth the money to fix it."

"But I have had that car since I was in high school (which isn't an argument, more of an emotional response); there are too many memories to just give it away."

Now you can't give advice based on logic and reason to someone who is basing all their actions on their emotions. So, now you have the opportunity to give emotional advice, which is different.

"Do you think passing that car along to your son the automechanic would be okay as he could fix it and it would still be in the family. He might let you drive it around."

"Hey, that's good advice."

Then there's the bad advice, the type given just to make the person seem stupid, ugly or to put them down or to manipulate them.

"You know if you lost 2o pounds you would look so much better and people wouldn't look at you and say you're fat. And then if you just dress differently you could cover up those rolls you're cooking around your waste."

That is not advice or is it being said because your best interest is in mind. This is called fake advice to make the other person feel superior.

"You know you could have done so many other things, I don't know why you continue to work in this field there's no money there."

Again, it's all negative, its not intended for anyone's benefit.

Also, if you notice, people who give negative "advice" are usually the one's who are insecure. Both the examples above could be coming from people who hate their jobs and stay for the security and money, and a person overly obsessed with the way they look therefore the way others look.

But when you hear yourself give a gem of advice to someone you care about, use it. You will probably need it yourself some day.

Don't say to someone stop smoking cigarettes, and then light up.

Don't tell your kids not to stay out late and come crawling in at dawn.

Advice is a powerful tool for yourself and the people you care about. Just be sure you're doing it for the right reasons and if you are, then take your own advice.

We often want the best for our friends before ourselves. But that same sage wisdom can be used by you.

It's amazing how smart we are if we are not so afraid as to speak up but even more so if we are able to listen to our own words and utilize them.

Advice which is proven is another thing too.

It falls into categories such as direction, education, and friendship.

"I got the stains out of the carpet with a glass of wine and battery acid."

(Thanks, I might try it or not)

But advice should never be forced upon someone, we all have our own ideas about how we want to live, and feelings of the direction we need to go in, and that's when advice should turn into support.

"I really like how happy you are these days with your new job. You seem to enjoy it and they seem to appreciate you. You made a good choice there. Glad to see you doing so well."

People sometimes have issues of jealousy, and instead of giving support, they turn it into competition.

Same scenario: "I haven't seen you at all since you got that job. Hope you're getting paid for all your hours. And do you really think that commute is worth it. It's your life, I'm just saying."

Now, putting both these scenarios together into supportive advice: "I'm so glad to see you happy these days and I think your new job has really changed you and given you confidence. The only drawback I see is the commute. Do you think you could use the train?"

We share advice with each other, and sometimes we need to understand what we are doing when we communicate in this manner.

Sometimes I'll be telling someone something and I'll realize that it applies to me too. So, we both benefit from the exchange.

If you find that people give you mostly negative advice, then you need to stop listening to them. Keep the people around you who will be honest, straightforward, not critical and jealous.

There are always going to be those who can't see you for the great person you are, because they can't see themselves that way either.

My advice is this: understand that people do have things to say that can assist you on your journey, and you also have experience, wisdom and compassion to pass along on your way too. However, there will be those who will not be capable of having your best interests at heart, and therefore you may want to take heed that advice coming from these types of people is usually very self centered.
But there is wisdom in everything, listen and look for it.

(Oh where did I put it?)

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