Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater

Posted on August 10, 2012

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Advice is a funny thing. We either love it or we hate it. We either give it or we take it and we either listen or we don’t.  For most of us, whenever we go through any kind of life transition – marriage, pregnancy, divorced or raising-kids – it’s inevitable we will get a swarm of advice. Whether we want it or not.

People are going to say what they want. It’s a fact. But really, it’s much more than that. People will say what they want but in it usually comes from their heart.  No matter what someone says, no matter how off the mark or bizarre the advice is, the main reason someone takes the time to give advice is because they care. Perhaps not in the way you may need at the specific time, but in their way, they do care.

Depending on your tolerance for advice, it may be like swallowing nails trying to listen and digest all the good-intentioned, unasked-for, annoying as hell advice. But that doesn’t mean that you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater

Most advice can be divided into two piles. The “keep” pile and the “toss” pile.  You might think that by pitching the advice into the Toss pile, it will be easy to disregard it. This isn’t always the case. In fact, sometimes, advice in the toss pile is there just because of the baggage associated with the giver.

It’s hard when we don’t ask for advice but are bombarded anyway, and sometimes the words and thoughts that others share with us are actually hurtful and unsettling.

In my life, I’ve been given plenty of advice that I haven’t asked for.  From people who, while good-intentioned (hello, benefit of the doubt here), really didn’t have any idea of my true situation. But, as time goes on and I get wiser (I think), I’ve become better able to let go of the advice that doesn’t fit.

Sometimes, it’s even been my fault. I’ve gone out in search for advice and been given some that just doesn’t jive with what I need and who I am. That’s ok too. I’ve decided to be open-minded and listen to all the advice given to me and see what resonates.

And by resonate, I don’t mean that it’s just something I want to hear.  It means something that hits me, makes me think, cry, laugh or scream. It’s something that makes me hold up a mirror and take a good long look at myself.  Then, after mulling it over, I can say that I’ve listen to myself and I can do what I think is best for me. After all, I am the expert of my own situation. I am the master of my domain!

So, while we will all get advice that we didn’t ask for, by taking the time to listen to others and mull over what they say before you pitch it in the Toss pile, you can open your mind to things you haven’t thought of before. Or maybe you’ll just end up unfriending them. Your choice.

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Posted in: Advice