Eat, Sleep, Give Advice

Well, that was a bust. I vowed yesterday to stop giving advice. What happened was, I found myself giving a lot of advice, particularly to this one woman I don’t know that well but who clearly was not interested in receiving any advice and just wanted to be heard. She had complaints, and wounds, as we all do, and she was having them, and talking about them, in my presence. I bit the hook several times, offering suggestions, solutions, alternatives, options, over and over again even as I was conscious that I was doing just what I said I would not do. At one point I even said aloud, “I’m gonna stop offering solutions now,” and then I kept doing it anyway. The good news is she did not seem annoyed. She valiantly responded to each of my offerings with why what I was saying would not work for her or a simple refusal to even try it.

So there’s another nugget for me: When someone offers me advice I don’t want I’m just going to say thank you. They’re trying to be helpful, regardless of whether what they’re saying is helpful or not. And I don’t need to agree or even be all that grateful for it to appreciate the effort. And I certainly don’t need to expend so much energy explaining to them why what they’re saying makes no sense and basically is worthless. So thank you.

And I guess even though my initial characterization of day one of my Advice-Giving Fast was that it was a bust, it wasn’t a total bust. The universe sent me a big mushy softball opportunity to see it all, all of my pattern. And I saw it. I was aware of how giving advice to someone not seeking it made me feel not good. I could imagine the person receiving it might have enjoyed some other kind of interaction. I could see how entrenched that habit is in me, that desire to connect in that particular way to the exclusion of other ways that might be less effortful, more fruitful for everyone involved. So yesterday was a start, not a bust. I’m gonna keep going.