Things That Well-Meaning People Do That Are Totally Unhelpful
Why do people feel inclined to share advice?
Most healthy people have a core need to have made a difference. A less evolved person who feels empty inside needs to be right, be in control, be liked, be thought of as important. When people don’t feel a strong sense of inner worth or self esteem, they tend to seek validation on the outside by giving unsolicited advice. They aren’t connected to their most inner selves… so they don’t have the capacity to sense another’s inner self… and that their advice wasn’t asked for is making another uncomfortable or downright pissed off!
Another reason people give unsolicited advice is that they can’t stand to see someone struggling or in discomfort because they can’t be with their OWN inner pain or fear. Thus their advice is a projection to get away from their own inner discomfort. You’ll see this a lot with helicopter parenting when a parent doesn’t want their child to feel ANY pain or fear… yet it’s like cutting a butterfly out of it’s cocoon… challenges are the fuel of confidence, adversity makes us stronger.
What is and is not helpful?
It’s helpful to be present, listen, seek to understand not to fix or change the other person. It’s condescending to think that they need you to save them! They are a whole being, a brilliant soul just like you! They can do it, just give them the gift of your unconditional love and non judgment… and just BE THERE. If and only if someone ASKS for advice, give them your point of view, knowing you aren’t right, it’s just your viewpoint based on your values.
Even as a coach where people are clearly paying me for my advice… I still ask permission out of honor, respect and kindness. I am not interested in being right, I am interested in asking poignant questions to help empower them to navigate their life journey more successfully.
Do people with certain personalities give/receive advice better (or worse)?
Empaths feel advice or constructive criticism more intensely than say a more logical analytical mind would. Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements speaks of not taking another’s opinion personally… knowing it’s their point of view, based on their values. You can think of yourself in an egg of light that has mirrors on the outside… comments that contribute come into the egg nourishing you… and comments that don’t are reflected off and down into Mother Earth where she transforms it like compost into fresh energy.
How should people respond to unsolicited advice?
If it’s someone who either you don’t know or who isn’t aware or evolved enough to have an intimate authentic conversation with in the first place, don’t waste your time or breath. You can simply say, Thank you for your point of view. Then walk away.
If it’s someone that you need to put healthy boundary down with, you can say, Thank you for your point of view yet I didn’t request your advice. In the future I’d appreciate it if you’d ask if I’m open to hearing your opinion before you offer it. Thank you. (They may get their feathers ruffled, yet you’re not about trying to please them, you’re about honoring their intensions yet also honoring and protecting yourself.
If it’s someone really close to you that you desire to heal and grow your relationship with, you can say, Love, may I be straight? When you give me advice without asking my permission first, it hurts my heart and makes me want to pull away. My desire is to stay connected and to deepen our relationship. What would work for me is if you ask me first before giving me your opinion. Would that work for you?>