• July 10th, 2020

The curse of unsolicited  advice

Though I am not really into social media as much as I was in my younger days, I do still browse through at least for a minute or two a day, literally. Now, in one of these occasions sometime last week, I came across a quote posted by one of my favourite fellow Hermien Elago that read: “No one is qualified to tell you how to experience the world”. 
What hit me hard about this is not only that it is very enlightening, but the fact that it confirms my realization and assertions I have made especially in conversations with myself.

Very often, in our interactions with other people, we tend to offer advice even when they have not asked for it. For example, an older person may feel the need to give advice to the young about life as they may feel that they have lived long enough to understand life or “have been through it all”. A “religious” person may feel obliged to do the same to the person they may perceive as non-religious or ungodly. 
Advice is a good thing in general, but often unsolicited advice is subconsciously given out of satisfying our ego to make us feel better about ourselves than when someone agrees with our advice it makes us feel that we know better or are smarter. Unsolicited advice can also belittle the other person and their challenges because often it is presented as simple to do - like “just do this or that”. Alternatively, it can also help to deflect the attention from our flaws and insecurities and project them on others. It is even worse when we present our advice as if we are the embodiment of all knowledge and truth.

Now let us assume that the advice we give is from our experience based on our perspective and beliefs but the one who we are advising may have a completely different perspective and beliefs. Obviously, if we are older than them we may find them to be rebellious, stubborn and have no respect for the elders. What we often do not consider is that that person may have also experienced things we may have never experienced and for that, we may come across as judgmental and authoritarian.

Sadly, for too long, that is how it has been. Whether that is the way it should continue to be it is really up to us but we cannot deny the evidence that living a life completely based on other people’s theories drawn from their mere experience has consequences, one is that we may live a life which is a result of other people’s opinions and not authentically ours and the other is that we may be robbed of the opportunity to also learn from our mistakes and have firsthand experience and take responsibility for it.

We may be living on the same planet, world, continent, country, or even going through the same events and happenings but our experience of such may not be exactly the same and instead of giving our advice as if it is absolute truth, we should rather simply just share our experiences and perspectives and let others share theirs to further accelerate our transition to other more dimensions of our existence.
We must humble ourselves and admit that there is so much that we do not know. We do not even truly know ourselves; our parents; our siblings; our spouses; our colleagues or our kids. We make assumptions based on glimpses we get from their interactions with us, but we do not know their thoughts; feel their feelings or have an idea of their life experience. Even if we may ask them, their words may not be a true representation of what they are experiencing.

• Oshimwenyo is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.

Staff Reporter
2020-05-29 12:22:09 | 1 months ago

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