27 January 2008

Unsolicited Advice

Sunday 27Jan08 12:33pm

Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of unsolicited advice? It drives me crazy. I get that most times people mean well when they announce how they think you should (big should) live your life. What drives me crazy about it the most is that when I respond with some comment as to why that's nice information but this is what I'm doing with my life, the person refuses to 'hear' what I am saying.

Out at the bar about a week ago, one of the women asked me if they'd end up in my novel. I laughed and said, "No, maybe in ten years! You need to have distance from something in order to make it true fiction."
I didn't think anythng more about it. Because, although I have fun at the bar, it's not really something I'll ever write about. But in all situations people always ask if they'll end up in my novel so I try to have a nice answer. What I really want to say is that it's not that interesting to end up in a novel but instead say maybe in ten years because people feel that you think they are more interesting than they are.

This week, my dream buddy says, " I know you say that you wait ten years before you write about something but I THINK you should write about it now. You can't remember everything and it's important to record things to remember them."
I tell him, "That was just an arbitrary number, 10 years. I journal what inspires me or what stands out in my mind but my fiction isn't me just taking what's happened and fictionalizing it. My fiction is fiction. Plus I have enough novel ideas to keep me busy for twenty years."
"Well, you should write things down to keep yourself up with ideas... blah blah blah."
"Okay buddy, you are not listening to me." And he got that, "I'm right" expression on his face as those unsolicited self proclaimed guru's get because I am too stubborn to realize that they know what's right for me.

I just have to say, because it needs to be said, When you're life is perfect maybe then you can tell me what you think I should be doing in my life and how I should do it. When you're life is perfect, I'll ask you specific questions about your area of expertise. It's always what I love to say, "You don't ask a poor person for advice on how to get rich, because clearly he doesn't know how to get rich. And you don't ask someone whose life isn't working how to go after your dreams. I'm just saying.

I find myself saying to so many people when they insist their advice on me, "I didn't ask!" But it generally falls on deaf ears.
Now I'm not saying that I don't ever listen to anyone. But there are those people who think they know me and people who really do know me. I know the people who know me by what they say to me. They are the people who listen, ask questions and suggest rather than insist. There are people that I ask, "what's your opinion on this?"

On the flip side, it's so nice to have people in my life that get me. My girlfriend who mentioned that my returning to blogging made her sigh with relief. Not once had she ever said, when I wasn't blogging, "You know if you start blogging you'll get out of your 2007 funk." My girlfriend who kept pushing me to come out when I was in pain because she knew that even if I got out for an hour, I would know that I wasn't going through it alone. She didn't tell me I should get out, she just tried to push to it. If I told her to stop she would have but deep inside I knew she was right and I was impressed that she knew how to get me out without giving me advice.

I've been trying to, as I've read somewhere, to just smile and say thanks for sharing with the self proclaimed guru's of my life. But I find what happens is they think it's an opening for more, "this is what you should be doing rants."
I look for areas in my life where I may be doing the same thing, but I'm so mindful of how annoying it is to act like you know everything that I honestly don't believe I do it to people. I'll say, "this is what I've done, when I've been in that situation," but I never say, "you should do this." Who the heck am I to say to anyone, "you should do this?"

Who is anybody to say that? What if there is a path that we are meant to follow? What if we are supposed to struggle at some things, procrastinate at others, excel at some, and just plain try all the wrong avenues before we find our proper place? What if every moment of our lives, is our proper place?

Even with deaths, I'm starting to look at them from a different perspective. I never say any more that some one has died prematurely. What if the death isn't premature? What if their purpose was to have a short life? There is nothing more inspiring to get us to live our lives fully than the example of some one dying young. A person's life is an example to someone to live more, or try more.

I don't know. I've never claimed to have the answers. I just have things that I want to work on overcoming or handling. And being given unsolicited advice is a biggie. If I'm going to make an effort to maintain more relationships with people who don't necessarily get me, I have to, for myself, look at ways to accept that from people without feeling all knotted up about it.

I receive a boatload of emails from different newsletters around the world on working on my stuff. It interests me. I don't always read all the emails but on some days one of the subjects will catch my eye and I'll read the email. I've been receiving emails from Byron Katie for over a year and only read an email just recently. I clicked on to her website and listened/watched her you tube video on what she teaches called, "The Work."

It's interesting work. Especially when I found out that she had also suffered from depression for a number of years and got herself out of it by changing her thinking. As is You Tube's way, after you watch one video, it offers similar videos and I came upon one from Janaka or is it Janaki? I'll have to check again.

It was a goodie! It was ofcourse about how we all want to help others and feel that we know what is best for them. And how about we choose to believe that they are doing the right things for themselves and ultimately that we are doing what is right for ourselves. The link to that video is : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhO0UDwfza4

Click the title to be forewarded to it. Interesting work, The Work.


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