Kick That Habit

I’ve made a vow to stop giving other people advice, suggestions, input, feedback, constructive criticism, alternate options, creative solutions, or whatever else you want to call it – unless they’re paying me or begging me for it. And since I’m not really consulting professionally these days and people rarely beg for feedback they mostly just want to be heard venting, I suppose I could get rid of those loopholes too. Ok. I’m getting rid of those loopholes too. Right now. Here it is: I am not giving other people advice anymore about their stuff. Period. I made that vow before my family vacay and I’m pretty sure that was part of why it was so easy and relaxing to be around them and just enjoy their company. I could witness their various things without feeling a duty to help fix them. Like, yes, you have a newborn and are therefore tired. Yes, you have a shoulder issue and therefore feel discomfort. Yes, you wish you could lose those last ten pounds. (See:

Particularly when I care about someone I get hooked into thinking it’s my job to help them feel better. A common way I go about that is to tell them all the things they could do to close their own particular knowledge-action gap.

You know that gap. The one between the stuff we know or think we know we should do to feel better and the stuff we actually do to feel better. Like I know that working out every day and eating fewer carbs makes me feel actually better. But much of the time what I do is eat carbs and watch tv. Now maybe occasionally it would be nice to have someone come and tell me to stop watching tv and eating carbs, but really I can’t imagine on what occasion that would be.

I know this information, I don’t need someone to tell it to me. Just as someone with a newborn knows they could take naps during the day if they want to stay rested. They do not need me to tell them this information, no matter how much I love them and care about them.

It’s a weird kind of ego/inferiority trip, being an advice-giver. On the one hand, it’s like, “Oh I have a great tip for you – if you’re tired take a nap.” On the other hand, it’s like, “Please love me I want to be useful for you because if I’m just sitting here being me doing me and not being useful in some way to you why would you want me around?” Like I need to specifically add value to be of value.

So since I don’t believe those things anymore I’m going to lose the behavior that goes with those thoughts. No more advice-giving. We’ll see how it goes.