On Advice

I’ve decided I’m giving up on giving advice.  Unsolicited advice, that is.  Which is most of what is given.  I don’t know about you, but very rarely do people ask for my advice.  That may be saying more about my deficiencies, but whatever.  Moving on.

Most of the time, when people are telling me about their troubles or hard times or just plain bad days, they don’t want me to fix it.  They aren’t looking for advice, they are looking for an ear and a warm heart.  They are looking for, “That sucks, I’m sorry.” or, “Been there, how can I help?” or  “I’m in it now.  Let’s go through this together.” or “I have no idea what it’s like to go through what you are going through, but let’s sit here in the dregs of life and ride it out together.”

I’m trying to graduate from my know-it-all complex.  It’s hard, but empathy is doing a good job of helping me through it.  I absolutely hate when I think someone is trying to tell me what to do. Ask my parents, I’ve been this way my whole life.  Ask my husband, we were into the whole non-wife-submission thing before it was cool.  We are a team, players with equal positions, but that is another conversation for another time.

Sometimes when people get together, there’s this game they play.  They brainstorm entrepreneurial ideas for ways to make millions.  It’s kind of fun, unless you’re weird like me.  The conversations either begin or end with, “You should totally _____.”  A fun way to pass the time ends up with me being pissed off.  I shouldn’t totally do anything.  You can’t tell me what to do.  Even if it’s a great idea, or one that I would have probably thought of, I reject it because the sentence starts out with, “You should…”

The other day, I was perusing Christmas card templates and a bunch of them said “Be Merry!”  Again, I got all mad at my computer.  You’re not the boss of me.  I don’t have to be merry if I don’t want to.  I calmed down a bit when I realized I could make my own design.  I like the fact that I don’t fit into a template anyway.  By the way, if you send me a card that says Be Merry I won’t take offense.  I already worked through that episode.  I’m fine, really.

Now, I realize the world is not trying to dictate every part of my life and I know I have control issues.  As in, I’m the one who needs the control, I’m the one who gets to tell you what to do.  I think I just get tired of all the advice that hits you from every angle.

Parenting advice, marriage advice, relational advice, ten tips for a healthier lifestyle, five million tips on how to make your house look good for Pinterest, most of it is irrelevant.  You don’t have my husband, you aren’t me, you don’t know what it’s like to parent my boys, or have the friends and family that I do.  What does or doesn’t work for me, probably won’t work for you.  Your life looks different, your family is different, your life choices and life goals are different.  I hate when people tell me what to do, so I’m going to try to not tell you what to do.  Let’s just sit here, experience life together, love each other the best we can and hope to leave the world better than it is now.

And if I ever start offering you unsolicited advice, just yell, “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” and run out of the room.  I’ll understand and shut up.

This has nothing to do with the post, but aren’t they cute?


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