I read somewhere once that when someone seeks advice, they are actually looking for an accomplice. That is probably true on some occasions. Often by the time we ask for advice we have almost figured out our own answer, we just need someone else’s validation or to have someone agree with us.
Advice is one of those things that can be appreciated or resented. Something you receive but might not necessarily ask for. It can be helpful or make matters worse. It leaves you open to hearing an opinion that could be the polar opposite of yours, and that can make for interesting, adult conversations or cause a divide in a relationship, particularly if the advice was given not sought.
I think as we get older we become more measured in dishing out advice and more willing to ask for it. The young are often quick to interject a discussion with “Well, I would do this………” or, more bluntly, “this is what you should be doing.” Not really advice when delivered in this manner, just one forcefully stating their opinion. A gentle, measured approach works better and will be listened to and reflected upon.
So let’s clarify the difference. Opinion = “This is what I think.” Advice = “This is what I think you should do.” Be sure to differentiate between the two when giving or receiving “help.”
Some of the best advice shared by some of my friends has been;
What is meant for you won’t pass you by.
Whatever you do make sure it makes you happy.
No is a complete sentence.
If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. An oldie but a goodie that we have all heard many times. I remember my Nan saying that to me.
When cleaning the microwave remember to look up. A friend told me this, and I would have been in my late 20’s. I remember going home and opening up my microwave door. Admittedly it was on a shelf at hip height, not eye level but sure enough, the roof of my microwave could have fed a small child for a day lol.
Focus on what you are good at and do it brilliantly. I say this to my boys a lot.
Slow down. Better to be late in this world than too early in the next.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. I have a friend who says this a lot, but I actually think it came from Gandhi himself. Maybe she too is a guru.
The best advice ever given to me I received when I was a nervous new Mum. I have passed it on so many times and continue to do so even now. You have so many people telling you so many different ways to do things with your baby from how to feed when to feed and when they should sleep. The list goes on and on, and it is really overwhelming and confusing. So my friend’s advice to silence the “critics” was to always say very firmly, “I may not be an expert on all babies, but I am an expert on my babies.” They are young men now, and yes I am.
What is the best advice you have received or given? Please share. It may be just the thing someone else needs to hear.