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Giving advice

Have you ever been having a talk with someone, sharing your wisdom but wondered if you are really in the position to give advice?

I've just been talking with my neice who is very insecure it seems. We talked about school, social media,bullies, body image, suicide, people projecting onto others, fake friends and real friends.

I was basically telling her she should stop seeking approval from others and that the only person she needs to impress is herself. I said at school all these silly groups and gossip my all seem important now but it will be meaningless when she steps out into the real world so she should just try to be herself.

The thing is I am not exactly the epitome of my own philosophy. I too am very insecure and unfortunately do fall victim to caring about what others think of me.

Perhaps its a "do as I say not as I do" sorta thing.

karasti

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Teens are hard, because the idea of "just be you don't impress anyone else" is so foreign to them at certain points, mostly like 12-16 or so, depending on the kid of course. They live to have the approval of their peers, especially the ones that kids are stuck with 8 hours a day in school by no real choice of their own. You can tell them what you've learned but their emotional reality feels so very different from them. I have a 20 year old who made it through that part fairly easily, but my 14 year old is smack in the middle and it's really hard. There is nothing he won't do for the approval of his friends. Most kids, unfortunately, are the same. That IS their life, for a lot of kids.

    That said, I don't think you are not in a position to help and talk and offer advice just because you experience the same thing. If nothing else, we often learn a lot about ourselves in talking to others with similar issues. Sometimes, what we most need is what we have to offer others.

    In my experience so far, people are really bad at taking lessons from others about what to do or not to do. I did learn not to ever drive while drinking because my sister was hit by a drunk when we were little. But beyond those extreme lessons, we otherwise seem to mostly need to learn lessons the hard way, and our own way, even when they are so much the same as most other people. Offer your perspective. You never know what sticks. But learn from yours as well :) And perhaps she has some lessons for you, too. Kids often do. They are great teachers.

    wojciech
  • wojciechwojciech the desert Explorer

    i feel like because you are also insecure, you can relate to your niece on many levels.

    perhaps she doesn't need advice, but someone who relates to her on that level. someone to say "i feel this way too!" and have her feelings validated, knowing she's not alone in her feelings.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "Take my advice...I don't use it anyway !"

    I try to give the advice that "I" if finding myself in a similar position would use or do use...

    I'm always reminded that when it comes to giving or receiving advice and no matter how well meaning it is... Talk is cheap

    The best generic advice to give others...(especially on a Buddhist forum) is " Look within"

    Plus one must always be aware of the....

    dhammachick
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited December 2016

    As I get older, the one thing I have learnt is the more I am asked for advice, the more I learn I really know jack shit.

    Plus one too many askholes have seen me redirect anyone asking for advice on anything other than Buddhism or Judaism elsewhere. I know when it comes to Buddhism, I can pre-empt it with In my experience... and I also have plenty of resources to point people in the direction of. Plus I have enough life experience with Judaism to not be a complete oxygen thief when answering questions.

    _ /\ _

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited December 2016

    Thanks for posting this. It's brought me a new level of realisation of what happened to me during my childhood... you see I moved house 13 times in 8 years between the ages of 8 and 16, being taken from each new circle of friends often after no more than six months to a year. This left me with a deep appreciation for the temporary nature of friendship at a young age, and I've never really formed a deep circle of friends since then.

    Quite a few things result from that, such as not caring what people think of you, I dropped all concerns of vanity or body image, but also a general view on the world that you have to make your own way and that though you may not always have friends, there will usually be bullies.

    All a long time ago now, but suddenly my tendency to self analyse brought it all up.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Why should we expect someone will take our advice just because they asked for it? Most likely they are asking for advice from many people to get other perspectives and choose what they think will work best for them. Just because we offer our advice doesn't mean it is the best route for them to take.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I hate to sound cliche, but people will listen to what they want to hear and disregard the rest. Which essentially means they've consciously (or otherwise) made up their minds already.... People gravitate towards the 'advice' which resonates with them most. They look for 'like-minded' folk, and in a way, the advice they listen to endorses their own 'ego'.

    If things go well, they consider they made the right decision.
    But if things go badly - they'll wish they'd never listened to you..... ;)

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited December 2016

    @federica That is definitely true, too. And sometimes, people offer advice when you never asked or or wanted it and still get mad you didn't take it. My mom does that a lot :lol: Or they assume because you need to vent about something that you want their advice.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited December 2016

    I have found in my long and illustrious career, that for the most part, women off-load in order to be listened to.
    Men consider this to be a solution-seeking exercise and offer advice.

    This isn't a superiority thing. It's actually about the way our brains are wired. I'm generalising enormously, here, but men are 'problem-solvers'. They think that if there's a problem, a solution is being looked for.
    Very often, all women want is for someone to listen to them and offer a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, or just a hug.

    Men immediately start looking for a damage-limitation strategy, on a practical and functional level.

    as I have said (and as @karasti's mother so evidently proves!) this is a gross generalisation, but it does seem to turn out that way, an awful lot of the time....

    lobsterDavid
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I have found that to be mostly true as well. Men want to fix things and are definitely solution oriented, generally. My mom has a very solution-oriented job and I think that kind of bypasses her ability to just listen. Though, if I remember to tell her I just need an ear, she will bite her tongue, lol. My husband is a good listener, but again, it's a skill that is very important in his job. I listen, and don't usually offer advice unless it is requested, but sometimes I feel helpless and wish I could do something even if they don't want me to, LOL.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Advice (more often than not) is a good ear flusher it goes in one ear and out the other :)

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    Have you ever been having a talk with someone, sharing your wisdom but wondered if you are really in the position to give advice?

    I've just been talking with my neice who is very insecure it seems. We talked about school, social media,bullies, body image, suicide, people projecting onto others, fake friends and real friends.

    I was basically telling her she should stop seeking approval from others and that the only person she needs to impress is herself. I said at school all these silly groups and gossip my all seem important now but it will be meaningless when she steps out into the real world so she should just try to be herself.

    The thing is I am not exactly the epitome of my own philosophy. I too am very insecure and unfortunately do fall victim to caring about what others think of me.

    Perhaps its a "do as I say not as I do" sorta thing.

    Two things spring to mind on reading this. One is a quote by Ayesha Siddiqi "Be the person you needed when you were younger".

    The other is the story I told my first wife when she was told she had a matter of weeks to live. Who the hell was I to give advice on how to live happy when faced with such a thing? I don't even know if the story I told was true as it was a half remembered tale my Mom told someone on the phone when I was a kid! I told her my Aunt spent the last few months of her life crying and how much she could have done if she was more positive. It worked though and we packed a lot of fun in those last few weeks.

    Anyhow, I guess my point is that you did great as far as I can tell. The only thing I would have done different is add a personal story and laugh saying something like "Don't let it last as long as I did" or something like that.

    Most of us like stories and often times when someone asks for advice, they want to hear a story to hit the value home.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    I believe you should teach her how to love herself so that she doesn't feel like she has to get love from others. Maybe teach her metta meditation. That way she becomes her own source of love and doesn't go through life needy for love from people who can't or won't give it to her. You sound like you should be kind to yourself as well. Show yourself the same compassion you are no doubt showing others, then multiply that by 10.

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