My advice is for myself

 

My advice is for myself.

What I write on this website are reminders and explorations for myself. And if it resonates with someone else, that’s icing on the cake.

Even when someone asks me for advice, I am aware that my advice is the advice I would give myself in the situation I imagine they are in. If the advice resonates and is helpful for the other person, that’s a bonus and not a given. We are all different. We need different things.

If I think my advice – whether spoken or not – is for someone else, I create an impossible situation for myself. I expect or want the other to follow it. I get frustrated if she or he doesn’t. And they often won’t for whatever reason, including that my advice didn’t fit their situation. It wasn’t for them. It was for me imagining myself in their situation – as I imagined their situation was.

I also see that most of my advice for others is unspoken. Right now, my advice for the neighbor is to be more quiet and considerate. It’s not spoken and probably won’t be spoken. And if I think it’s for him, I frustrate myself. The advice is for me. I am the one who enjoys being considerate of others and not make much or any noise. I am the one who can benefit from my mind quieting down about the neighbor, and be less noisy in my thoughts about him.

If I want to share with him that I would enjoy and really appreciate more quiet, I need to tell him. I can’t expect him to know if I don’t share it with him. It doesn’t feel right or necessary in this situation, so what’s left is my advice to myself.

I cannot go too far in seeing that my advice is for myself. But I can be one-sided. I sometimes withhold pointers or information from others even if it could be helpful for them. And that’s also not the most kind. When I notice this, I typically ask if they would like to hear what I have found helpful in similar situations. If they say yes, I’ll share. If they say no, then I am grateful they are able to say an honest “no” and I know it’s not the right time or place. (I am grateful that some of my friends are good at saying “no”. It means they trust that it’s OK for me.)

I have written this as it came to me without planning it out in advance. That means it’s more wordy and less structured than it could be, but I’ll leave it as is.

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