If there’s one thing that has been becoming more and more apparent to me over the last few years, it’s that no one loves likes unsolicited advice. Even though we may know that our advice is well-intentioned and totally spot on (as my advice always is, obviously).
This goes for people our friends should or should not be dating/marrying.
What people should (or shouldn’t) do with their money.
Anything at all to do with kids.
How people should eat or exercise or lose weight or gain weight or whether they should do any of the aforementioned.
I’ve written a post on this already, but basically, I’ve been trying harder (nope, still not anywhere close to perfect) to not give friends advice, pretty much ever. Because friends and family members never actually take the advice, but instead they seem to resent me a little bit more for giving it (and I know I feel this same way when other people give me unsolicted advice). This is especially true if my advice turns out to be right in the end and I have to do everything I can to avoid an ‘I told you so’ moment.
Here’s the thing, though. When my friends and family members are struggling through something, especially something I know is completely avoidable, I want to give advice! It’s my control freak nature. I get so stressed out for other people that sometimes it keeps me up at night. A little crazy, I know, but I’m being honest here. I would do anything I could to take other people’s stress and hurt away, and sometimes the only way I know how to do that is to talk the issue to death and to offer any nuggets of wisdom I can.
I have a problem in allowing people’s stress to overwhelm me, because I can’t fix their life situations, which is no good for anyone involved.
What did I do to help solve this little big issue?
I started praying more intentionally for others.
Don’t get me wrong, I always, always, always pray for other people as a part of my daily prayers – but sometimes I’m not very specific. I don’t always include the ‘petty’ things in my prayers to God until they become really big issues. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that while I cannot help people out of their own situations, God can. Because God has the power to soften hearts and make us see things differently, without us even knowing that we changed our minds and/or perspective.
I’m sure he’s done this for me countless times.
This is pretty much my entire (new) strategy now. If a friend confides in me that they’re stressed out about something, I offer empathy/sympathy and kind words, and then I pray to God immediately that my friend / family member would make the right decision and that I can continue to be a support and encourager in their lives. (Personally, I find I do my best praying in the shower or on walks, but that may just be me.)
Of course, I still manage to give unsolicited advice.
I’m only human, after all!
But I find this very simple method has worked for me in allowing myself to separate from people’s problems. I no longer carry the self-given burden of solving other people’s problems or wanting to live their life for them. Instead, I have more time and energy to focus on myself and my little family and the relationships/friendships themselves.
It’s really a win-win for everyone!
This is simply another example of how I have to constantly be aware that I need to relinquish control of my own life and thoughts to God, because only He has the power to change lives in such grand and inexplicable ways and no amount of stress or effort on my part can have the same affects.
Linking up with Lauren today!