Have you ever started a sentence with, “you should…” and then finished with some grand wisdom for the listening recipient?
I know someone I have decided to not share my personal life with. Why? Because when I do, he treats it as an invitation to correct me. I am only sharing. He comes at me with so much condescension. I do not enjoy our conversations anymore. He knows what is right. He has all the answers. If only I would listen to him is the energy I feel emanating off of him. He questions my ability to tap into my own wisdom. I know his heart is well intentioned. He may have many helpful, delightful things to say, if only he could step down from his pedestal and meet me on the same playing field. I don’t even have to worry about offending him by making reference to him in this blog. He does not read me, which is perfectly fine with me. I accept those that choose or not choose to read me. According to him, he takes advice from only one person. That’s it. His example has helped me be more intentionally sensitive with how I offer wisdom. I am not better than you. I am not smarter than you. I have some experience in the particular subject we are discussing. My experience and how I handled it may be beneficial to your situation. I can only share, you do with it what you like.
I have decided to stricken “you should” from my lexical repertoire. Quite frankly, it is condescending. How can we ever really fully know what is right for someone else? How can we crawl into their memory of experiences, travel the journey of their heart, to truly know what is best for them?
Is it okay to ever offer advice? There are so many ways to share our opinion, if, and only if, it is welcomed.
Today’s blog is simple. Remember the phrase, “kill em with kindness.” It is really difficult to ignore someone who is being kind. “Love your enemies” is another common admonishment. This is a super tough one. But, I have had more and more success adapting this principle by adorning myself with compassion and speaking compassionately. Those involved in grievous acts, are not happy people. They are hurt people. “Hurt people, hurt people,” a wise friend told me once. These so called enemies, need compassion.
Offer gentler, more loving verbal suggestions:
“Have you considered…”
“Have you tried……I tried it (or so and so tried it) and had great success.”
Or, try compliments and encouragements on anything and everything the person does well first. Expose their gifts and talents, a recognition of how wonderful they are sets the stage for positive receptivity. “You should,” puts people on the defensive, heading down the opposite road intended.
Asking profound, safe questions can be a brilliant way to elicit enough personal reflection that the question alone could be the catalyst the person needed to awaken their next course of action.
Book and movie suggestions are great too. “This book was so helpful to me, you might like it.”
One of my favorite ways I enjoy receiving nuggets of wisdom is old sayings passed down from our parents and grandparents, especially if a southern accent is present. I just heard one the other day by a friend, “Don’t spit in the well. You never know when you’ll need a cold drink of water.”
I try these techniques with my son. Not only is it more pleasant, but I am teaching him to do the same. He can be pretty stubborn. He is still young enough that I may not see the results of my efforts until he is older. Being the example of how we hope our kids behave is more powerful than anything we could say with our mouths. Reflect in our own behavior how we wish others would behave.
The best way to impact those we love when we see them making poor choices: the happiness that comes from self-love and acceptance. Joy is a great motivator for change. People ask me, “How do you do it?” They actually invite me to share because they want what I have, inner joy and peace.
On the flip side, I choose to avoid “I should…”as well. Something many of us forget; I am just as important as anyone else. Be loving and compassionate to ourselves too. We do not need our own condemnation. “I could try this or that,” produces a choice, not a reprimand for not being something we “should” be. We are trying hard to do this thing called life here on earth well too. I am sure there are many things we “should” do, but it makes the assumption that we are not enough. We are more than enough.
Release to Unleash?
Are you guilty of saying “you should.. or I should?”
How do you offer wisdom to the world?