The Best Advice

If you are like me, you are not short on people in your life who want to give you advice.  The truth is when you care about or love someone, it is hard to watch them struggle, so the tendency is to offer advice on how to solve the problem.  

Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In my opinion, most people are not looking for advice, but rather a listening ear.  They don’t want you to solve their problems, they want you to offer empathy and a sounding board so they can solve their own problems.  Sometimes all we need to do is say things out loud and the solution to the problem comes to us.  Just thinking inside our heads does not always get us to the same point. 

There is another danger in offering advice to a friend or loved one.  If something happens that makes the advice the wrong choice for them, this person may consider you responsible for the outcome of their bad choices.  I have seen this when people blame others for their poor life choices.  

Giving advice to others can be selfish if your goal is solely to feel helpful and worthy, and not what is in the best interest of others.  When asked for advice, the truth is I only know what I would do in a given situation and not necessarily what is right for the other person.  Good advice should be given in the form of gentle guidance so people can find the right answers for themselves.

There are, however, some widespread statements of advice that are valuable to all of us.  Some examples of these are:

  • Take time to know yourself.
  • Stay focused on your goals.
  • Show up for your life.
  • Be careful of prejudices (“prejudging“ anyone).
  • Life is give and take
  • The harder I work, the luckier I get.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Do what is right, not necessarily what is easy.

I always try and remember that I cannot solve anyone else’s problems.  I can however, demonstrate how problem-solving is done by using the tools I have developed in my life.  My example of how I get through difficult times is the best advice I can give. 

I don’t like to give advice. I like to give people information because everyone’s life is different, and everyone’s journey is different.

Dolly Parton

What I have found, however, is that it is up to me to figure out the solutions to my problems. When I am ready, I will seek the advice of the experts, friends, or family who I believe will guide me in the right direction.  A saying I believe to be totally true for us all is, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

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