In the past I have written about unsolicited advice without thinking about the cause of it. Just like my alcoholism is a cause of a spiritual problem, unsolicited advice seems to be a side effect of judgement and judgement seems to run rampant in our lives. Be honest. You have found yourself judging your friends for taking back that boyfriend. You have judged your boyfriend for his outfit choice. You have judged someone for posting something on Facebook or for the amount of carbs they consume. You have probably at one point or another judged every person that has touched your life. I would be lying if I didn’t say I have done it too. It’s human nature. It’s what we choose to do with that judgement that makes all the difference.
Here is a scenario to explain better what I mean. Its completely fictional but it’s also feasible, so envision yourself in this position and stick with me. Your girlfriend comes to you in tears over a fight she had with her boyfriend. She is furious, spewing vitriol, planning her break up and post partying plans. In exchange you man-hate the hell out of the good for nothing asshole who made her cry. The call ends with some laughs, she blows her nose and goes on her merry little angry way. Stop right there though. As adults, if we are functioning ones, we should ALL know that a reaction that is based on emotion is not the most sound reaction. This is why there are entire courses on teaching you to not respond to an email when you feel emotion. This is why people tell you to WALK AWAY and breathe from situations. Venting to our trusted human’s is a part of that cool down period though. Ok so back to sassy pants and her boyfriend problems…The next morning you are scrolling through Facebook and see a picture of your bestie and her scum bag boyfriend canoodling over coffee and donuts and cannot believe your eyes. HOW could she forgive him after all we had discussed last night?! Instantly your brain starts firing off thoughts “she is so dumb. What is she thinking? She is just setting herself up to be hurt.” THAT. IS. JUDGEMENT. You are absolutely entitled to feel and think those things. But let’s stop and think through this a little further. Do you know what happened after you sent her on her way? Do you know what that relationship is based on? Were you a fly on the wall when they hashed out their problems? No. All you know is what someone told you in a moment of heat. Let’s pretend this is one of those stories you get to choose the ending. You have two options:
A) You like the photo and text your friend, “Glad to see things seemed to calm down. Let me know if you need anything, I’m here for you.”
B) You either send a passive aggressive text message or ignore your friend for days because you are personally offended by her life choice.
If you picked A you and your friend are on the road to a harmonious and healthy friendship. If you picked B you might be strong arming your friends and trying to control people too much. It is rare that people, especially women, go on and on and gush about the great things about their lives and their relationships. It’s much more common in this world to complain and bitch about the bad. I am SO guilty of this. But I am working on it.
I wanted to write about this because for years and years I have allowed people to tell me exactly what they felt I should be doing with my life. Who I should date, how I should dye my hair, how I should respond to life events, and so on and so forth. I either silently took everything in stride and let people throw their stones in the glass house or I erupted and burned their house down with an onslaught of verbal abuse (a horrid defensive mechanism when I feel attacked.) Sometimes I simply agreed because life is easier when you are agreeable.
Period, point blank, you are only in control of your own reaction to your own life events. You aren’t even in control of your relationships or friendships. Literally, the only thing you can do is control your attitude, your speech, and how you handle situations.
This has been an infuriating life lesson to learn. I have two sisters I have been spending a lot of time with lately. We have girls nights constantly. This entails…..ding ding ding, talking about boys and relationships. I have learned to sit back, LISTEN to LISTEN NOT TO RESPOND. I process everything and of course judgement is coming into my thought process BUT I DO NOT SPEAK ON IT. WHY?! BECAUSE IT IS NOT MY PLACE. I wait until a question is directly asked to me…”what would you do?” and I give a gentle yet honest response. You have to understand that people are ultimately going to do what their heart desires at the end of the day. You cannot prevent that…again…you can only control your behaviors. This is why I can’t figure out why people argue online. I have never once seen a political fight on the internet end with someone saying “You know what? You are right! I am totally a republican now.”
Be there for your humans. Have an opinion because you love your humans and help them through hard times. When they ask for advice be grateful they trust you to supply it. If they want to cry give them a shoulder. Think before you speak.
It is so easy for me to say this on a blog, but I have struggled for so long with standing up for what I believe in respectfully. Like I said I either keep my mouth shut or go off the wall with my mouth. But there was an event that happened this year that cost me a friendship and I do not regret it. A person felt it was their place to lecture me, dig into the past and try to tell me what I should do. I laid out how I felt [respectfully] and then I walked away. Life is hard enough without trying to win the approval of people who say they love you. I could of gone on to lay her past on the table like she did to me but you know what? Even though I was hurt, it wasn’t my place. That is not my inventory. I am not going to pick it up and carry it around.