It is hard for me to accept unwanted/unasked for advice because I tend to see it as criticism rather than helpful. That is not saying that the person offering it is criticizing but that is just how I perceive it. I think it comes from being the youngest of 3 girls and everyone told me what to do when I was growing up. I often felt like I wasn’t allowed to spread my own wings and do things on my own. Everyone knew better than me and expected me to do what I was told.
I try to listen and keep an open mind because I have to remind myself that they might actually tell me something useful. I have to swallow my resentment and shut off the inner voices. I try to remind myself that some people have learned from experience and are trying to save me the trouble of making the same mistakes they did.
I try to remember that I do not have to do what is suggested. I might have a different personality or different values than the person giving advice. Yet, it doesn’t hurt to listen to what is being said.
Knowing how I feel and react by unwanted advice, I need to remember this when helping other people (you can replace the word people with words like students or family members too).
Rather than actually telling other people what they should do, I try to turn it around and mention what I have done in the same situation. Or I try to discuss what I would do if it was me.
I try to remember how I feel about unwanted advice and make an effort to keep my tone and my words from sounding like criticism. We have a saying in our family that is “If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.”
I also make sure that others know this is just my opinion and I do not expect anyone to do what I would do because we are different people.
How do you handle advice you don’t ask for or even want? Please share.