Advice – noun
an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct, etc.: I shall act on your advice
We all turn to our family, friends or colleagues for advice at times. Sometimes we need a few suggestions on how to handle a situation we are faced with and other people can really help us out.
Somehow, with some people and all too often, this advice turns into instruction. A way you ‘should’ be doing something. A lecture.
I hear about this all the time and witness it myself. You start talking to someone about an aspect of your life and almost instantly regret it as you begin to be instructed on exactly what you should do, how and why based on nothing other than that person’s preference or belief. You are no longer considered into this equation of ignorant advice/instruction and you end up trying to look like you are interested whilst thinking of ways to stop this person talking. I have listed below the most popular topics that people often feel like they are instructed on (the list on how to stop them talking can be sent upon request):
- Pregnancy – All of my friends that have had children have said that one of the worst parts of pregnancy is everyone telling you what you should and should not do with your body. Can you imagine? Forget the labour, swollen ankles or the peeing every 5 minutes being so bad, it is the other people around you that can make it so tiresome. It seems that when you fall pregnant a majority of the people you will come to communicate with will be ready and waiting to share their ‘expertise’ with you. And will they all have the same advice? Oh no, of course not, but they will ALL know best and make sure you know it. If you happen to be pregnant at the moment and are suffering through this torment I feel for you. Nobody really knows best and everyone has their own way of doing things so I think it is important for you to listen to your body and the people you feel happy listening to and tune the others out. Perhaps use the extra need to pee to get the hell outta there and stop them talking…..unless of course they follow you to the toilet and talk outside the door, then, failing you and bump being able to squeeze out of the window, proceed to sticking toilet paper in your ears until you can no longer hear them.
- Relationships – Well we all like to discuss our relationships with friends when we need to but, there are those certain friends that you instantly regret opening your mouth too. You know the ones, they tell you what you did wrong and what you should be doing instead. They advise you on what you need in your life and it sounds strangely similar to either their current ‘successful’ relationship or similar to the person they think they are but in fact, are not. I’m not talking about the friend that kindly suggests something thinking that referencing themselves may inspire you, I’m talking about the friend who proceeds to lecture you on exactly what you need, what you are ready for, what age you should be, where you should be at in your relationship and how you should feel about it. The phrases ‘you shouldn’t want to settle down yet, you are too young’ or ‘you are mad wanting to meet someone, if I was single I would love it’ or of course ‘he’s a nice man, don’t end it hastily, your feelings will grow’ all because they liked him the one time they met because he complimented her dress. These are the times when it is fully acceptable to think about what you will eat for dinner instead. Nobody knows what is right for you and telling you what you should want or what you should do based on what they want and think they would do isn’t helpful. Suggestions are of course helpful but only when a person considers who you are as part of that, not who they are. If they want to go at it from that approach then the following should be said in that sentence ‘I can only tell you what I would do’ and it should not become an instruction for what you should do.
- Careers – This is the one I suppose I feel most strongly about. I grew up being told that a ‘real’ job was working for somebody else, that following my dreams was a fairytale and would never get me anywhere. That working part-time in my twenties was me refusing to grow up and that £8 an hour was good money. I have had to battle a lot with other people’s judgements and my own to continue to work towards my dreams. And now, finally I have fully accepted that my life is made for living and dream chasing. It may not be for everyone and their dreams will be different from mine so I say to anyone – do whatever makes you happy and do whatever you feel is right for you. To anyone telling me, you or any other soul how and what they SHOULD be doing in regards to working a ‘real’ job that isn’t, in fact what YOU want to do, I say IGNORE THEM. They don’t have the courage to believe in themselves otherwise they would be encouraging you to believe in yourself too. These negative people want to soul suck you down into their pit of fear and misery so that they are not left alone there. They believed the people who told them the same thing. I want to say I BELIEVE IN YOU, ALL OF YOU. If it doesn’t work the first time, it can work the second or the third or even the three hundred and seventy-fifth time. You can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do. At least the journey towards doing that will be one hell of an adventure.
It is also good to consider the advice you give others, where does it come from and is it in the best interests of the person you are giving it too, or yourself?
To all of these people who want to give you the rules and instructions for these above mentioned parts of your life and any other parts of your life, I want to share with you a visualisation technique (a practical exercise if you are around those it won’t offend). I was with two of my favourite people on this planet yesterday, Ciara and her husband Dan. Dan was telling us a story about a group of kids driving past his boss and in slow motion one of the kids raised his middle finger at him, his boss shrugged and carried on walking. That was it. It was actually pretty funny by the sounds of it too. But it got us laughing at the idea of using this method when someone is really butting in to your life and telling you what to do. Imagine it, hold up your closed fist and as slowly as you can with a blank expression on your face, raise up your middle finger. I think it makes the perfect point. We named this ‘The slow flip of the bird’. Anyone who starts telling you the ‘rules of life’ or instructions on how you ‘should’ do something, just give them ‘The slow flip of the bird’, perhaps in your head if it is inappropriate to physically do this but do it. Slowly. All the while remember that you can make your own choices and your own decisions about what is right. Listen to your instinct. Your gut is your guideline, always.
Slowly flippin’ the bird at all the preachers and rule-tellers out there, have a great week pride!