I remember at 16 years old, I counseled one of my best guy friends' parents about their marriage. They were considering divorce...and have now been married 40 something years!
From childhood, I was told that I was an "old soul". I question A LOT. I read A LOT. I beat myself up WAY TOO MUCH. Or sometimes, I try to get myself out of the way and let thoughts come to me.
But still, advice is usually given from the standpoint of putting myself in your shoes. What that means is that I'm also throwing my experience and perspective in there too. Which means that my advice may not be right for you, but it is what I think I would do.
At this point in my life, with all that I've experienced, I notice that I tend to offer advice without even being asked. And I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Everything that I blog about from sex, relationships, fitness, health and spirituality are all things that I need to learn or things I feel that I am beginning to figure out for myself. My blog is an advice column for ME. However, when it helps others, I feel a whole lot less alone in the world.
Thank you all for letting me know when it does help.
I've also noticed that when I or someone else is experiencing a low, I do my best to be encouraging and positive. I am giving the advice that *I* would like to receive.
Remember: We teach what we need to learn.
What I've found is that not everyone responds well to the "advice" I'd offer myself.
Some people want to be encouraged.
Others want to be validated in their misery.
If I look at myself in my own low moments, I understand this. Often, I realize that I'm *choosing* to feel bad or that I *want* to wallow in victimhood. In those moments, I may fight a different perspective. It really is up to me to (once again) allow myself to feel better. Sometimes a word of encouragement is that trigger. Other times, the trigger may be to step outside of myself by busying my mind with something else... like laughter.
"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
~ Victor Hugo
I am also learning that others simply want someone to listen and stay quiet. I am doing my best to offer that. I certainly don't believe that my answer or advice is always the best advice. Again, my advice has a huge bias.
And quite frankly, I am more than willing to be wrong.
I think my first reaction is to encourage and not commiserate because I try not to see people or myself as victims. Though, on the other hand, I know we sometimes feel that way.
Yes, there are things that happen to all of us that downright suck.
Yes, there are times when we need to wallow in it and feel bad about it. (Me too!)
But do people really want it to be the truth about themselves?
My daughter Rose has been playing this role lately. When she gets in trouble, she declares, "I am the worst kid ever!"
Lately, I've called her bluff by saying, "OK."
She gets furious!
"Why are you agreeing with me Mommy?!"
That's when I ask her, "Do you really believe you are the 'worst kid ever'?"
Of course she says no.
"Then stop declaring that you are unless you want other people to believe that about you."
Personally, I appreciate when someone disagrees with me on my victimhood. I find it empowering to know that I can change how I look at this. I can't change what's happening. And perhaps I also can't judge it.
Maybe this is a very good thing?
Maybe there's a beauty in this that I'm not seeing?
Maybe this is a dark night of the soul with an amazing forward step to my growth and potential?
"Take the ingredients you already have and make the best meal you can."
How else is it going to change if I continue to give it the power over me? Once I release it, give it up, see it differently, then it changes.
"Things don't change just because you hold on to them. They change when you let go."
I believe there is power in someone seeing you beyond the battle that you're fighting. However, I am not beyond changing the outward show of support people in my life who ask me for advice.
It just may or may not always be what you want to hear.
How do YOU feel when I offer advice to you? How do you wish to be treated in your low moments?
"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle"
"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitudes we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark, that causes extraordinary results."
~ in a card from PT-Law Mom that stays on my fridge and taken from the book, The Resiliency Advantage by Al Siebert