Ever get advice that was intended well, and still is just, well, crap?
We probably all have. Luckily we all have our own intuition about what is crap and what is helpful. Unluckily, we don't always listen to ourselves.
Even the best advice can be wrong.
Hear me when I say this. Even my (your, their, his, her) best advice can be wrong for someone else.
"Christina, is what you are saying that advice is bad?"
Ya, often it is. It can be hurtful rather than helpful.
We give it before it's requested.
When we offer an instant solution without knowing if they even wanted our 2 cents, we can do several unsavory things: 1. we're telling them they don't know the answer or our information is better than them tuning into their own answer, 2. we aren't really listening to their heart-space and 3. we're making it about us and our knowledge rather than them and theirs. Make sure they want advice before we offer it. Not everyone wants a solution. Some just need to be heard to understand their own truth.
We make it a demand rather than a choice.
You have to, you need to... can I ugh any harder? When we tell other people how to live their lives, we demand that they listen to us over their own inner wisdom should there be any conflict. While it may be good advice, it still can create a sense of co-dependency or disconnection. Some will love someone telling them exactly what to do, you'll just have to do it all the time. Others will rebel against the demand. Neither is likely what we truly want.
We give advice to mitigate our own feelings and discomfort.
Cheer up. It'll be fine. See the silver lining... or please get happier because I don't know what to say and I just want you to be comfortable so I can be comfortable.
We give bad advice because we want to say something.
My all-time most disliked, wrapped in good intention advice is:
Fake it 'til you make it.
Ugh. Rip my authentic heart out of it's soul. Please don't tell people this. Let's not contribute to the inauthenticity in the world. Let's not encourage masks that turn into resentment and "I'm not enough as I am" B.S. It's enough.
The point is, putting a over-used "push past your fear", "there's a lesson in this" or "fake it 'til you make it" isn't helping the situation just because it gives you something to say. What if you replaced that by saying, " What I heard you say was _____. Do you want to tell me more about that?"
How about we don't offer advice... even if it is asked?
What if we offered deeper questions into their own knowing?
What if we allowed ourselves to sit in their discomfort with them?
Magic. My answer is that magic will happen. I've seen it. It's amazing. The a-ha when they figure it out for themselves. The burst of light as they see through the darkness or confusion.
I invite you to try it. See the magic of just being present with them. No solutions. No answers. Just feelings.
The best way to practice it to try it on you.
When you are having uncomfortable feelings, instead of ignoring them or faking your attitude, try just sitting with them. Feel the discomfort and know that it's normal and not going to last. See if the discomfort is offering wisdom, a message, or a warning. When we can sit with our own not-fun emotions, we can better support someone else's.
If you have any questions, never hesitate to reach out!
With expansive love,
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