Sunday, September 5, 2010

Did I ask for your Advice?

Love It, Hate It, Didn’t Ask for It, Not Gonna Follow it.

I have a definite love/hate relationship with advice. Sometimes I crave it. I have so much doubt in my head, I seek advice from many sources. That comes with both risk and reward. There may be a gem coming my way which makes a lot of sense, and I want to follow it. There may also be some not so palatable pearls of wisdom strung up for me which I do not want to wear. However, by shelving the pearl wisdom necklace, I now have to worry that I’ve deeply offended the pearl offerer. Can't I ask for advice without agreeing to agree with what you say before you say it? (if you followed that, I salute you. I know what I mean, but..)

Then there’s the category of unwanted advice altogether. Sometimes I just want to vent, or explain a situation. I may just want to describe what’s going on. But before I’ve gotten true satisfaction with venting and being heard, I’m slammed, WHAM with advice for how to change my behavior or coping strategies. Excuse me? Can’t I at least finish complaining before I get told how to do things? It’s not likely I’m going to follow your advice (since I distinctly DID NOT ask for it). More likely, I won’t vent in your direction in the future. What a great loss THAT would be for you. Sheesh.

My favorite is the category of “if you ask me what I think, and I tell you, and you do just as I’d advised, I’ll know you love me. Conversely, if you ask me what I think, and I tell you what I think and then you don’t do as I’ve advised, I’ll know that you can’t really love me at all. And then I will be sullen and mad at you for days.” The problem that may or may not seem obvious is that when the advice giver was then sullen and mad for days, I had a hard time attributing it to something as trivial as my wearing the purple dress instead of the black one which I had been advised would look better. Such was the stuff of my first marriage. It was pointed out to me that it was a character flaw to ask for advise, not take it and carry on. But, maybe that’s why it was a first marriage.

While those are the risks in the advice game, there’s definitely a reward side to it as well. Just as likely I will be forever indebted to my listeners for their kind, sensitive, caring, encouraging, reinforcing, been there, done that kind of response. And many a problem has been solved with more wisdom than I could ever have arrived at, with more sense than I could ever have come to, and more assurance of success than I would have believed possible. Thanks for that.

In the end, I’m willing to take the risk, and maybe get that reward. But if I don’t ask for your advice,,,,,,,,,

1 comment:

  1. Jude, you've always been a valuable source of advice for me. Your insightful wisdom is always heartily spiced with your humor, which is really helpful and really appreciated. You've always had a very down-to-earth way of approaching life, with an easy grasp of what's truly important in this world and what's simply insubstantial. I appreciate receiving your advice, although I may not always have the perspective and presence of mind to follow it.