Advice. It is a tricky little thing. We find ourselves full of it when listening to someone else discuss a situation in which she finds herself. We give it so freely: “You should tell him…” “Oh, I would NEVER do that.“ “If I were you, I would…” “You need to…” And on and on. And what are we doing, really? What are we trying to accomplish by TELLING the other person decisive action that you imagine you would most certainly take or that she should definitely take in a situation that is not your own? How can we be so arrogant as to think we could possibly know what is best for the other person? That’s crazy! The huge ingredient that is missing from your well-intentioned advice is the FEELING that comes with the decision. It is hardly possible for you to feel what the other is feeling, and, moreover, those kinds of questions are often missing from the “giving advice” conversations. (Also, advice given without taking into account the feelings she has will lack any chance of furthering connection between you.)
Think how differently a conversation might go with a friend, colleague, or family member if, when they told you about a situation, you asked her how it FEELS. And then, once she tells you, you asked her what her body is asking her to do about it? As in, what is the answer that she feels to be true and right at that moment? And that’s it. Giving someone a chance to tap into her body’s own knowing about the situation is the best advice you could ever give. Because she already knows. You do not, because you cannot possibly feel what she feels from her unique perspective from her life experiences that have led her to this point, or what she wants to feel as a result of the situation, or what her soul thinks is the best way for her to navigate these particular waters, but her body does. Ask her to listen to it.
We always know the truth of something, deep down. We already come equipped with all of the answers to all of our problems. They live inside of us. Nobody else has access to it. Only you. Isn’t that neat? So the real issue when a friend comes to you in a pickle is not that she has this “xyz” problem. It’s that she has lost her way to her own special guidance system and is maybe asking you to tell her what to do instead. And the best, most loving thing as her friend/colleague/family member that you can do is to gently guide her back to her own knowing. THAT is advice I would take any day.
Now, over to you. When have you been given advice that felt TOTALLY disconnected with yourself and what you wanted? Have you ever been guilty of telling someone what she should do? Leave a comment below!