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Why Giving Advice is Sometimes Not Helpful.

July 14, 2019

When we give advice, we often feel as if by doing so we are fulfilling our Christian duty to love our neighbor, by offering a clear way to alleviate their suffering. Giving advice may seem charitable.

 

However, many times, giving advice may lead to communication blocks. The recipient, instead of feeling supported and cared for, may experience a lack of validation and a sense of emotional disconnection.

 

When we consider the number of factors that come together to create our inner experience: the sum of our circumstances, our inner values, attitudes, perceptions, dreams; and also consider the infinite number of responses and choices we can choose from—‘imposing’ one dominant solution, which is often presented as the ‘ideal,’ seems to, instead of empowering, hint at a hierarchical mindset and hierarchical view of a relationship.

 

It can be very challenging to open ourselves to hearing unfamiliar perspectives and to extend ourselves emotionally to experience/understand the world through  somebody else's eyes. To spend enough time sitting with the fertile darkness and uncertainty of not knowing what to do, amidst someone else’s suffering.

 

While many times advice can come from a loving place of longing to be of service;

 

At other times it may reinforce someone’s perception of dominance, and be a defense against the vulnerability and effort of being open to hearing something that does not neatly fit with their own constructs.

 

 

"Since true listening involves a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the others. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable, and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the dance of love is begun again." M. Scott Peck

 

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