“There is a time to provide advice and offering an opinion, and there is a time not to. Don’t be too quick to offer unsolicited advice. It certainly will not endear you to people.” (Harvey Mackay)
A friend of mine recently made some general comments that I felt were somewhat judgmental of me. When I told them so, they said that wasn’t their intention and that their comments were merely an observation. While the two of us have since worked this out, I wanted to express at least in writing, that in my book, all observations made without asking are no different than making judgments, as they’re nothing more than offering unsolicited advice and opinions.
Lately, it seems as if our country has a lot of unsolicited advice and opinions going around, which is causing a tremendous amount of conflict amongst each other, including between friends and loved ones. There are far too many hot topics out there now that seem to regularly provoke these “observations” being made and I’ve become quite sensitive to it all. Maybe that’s why I find myself keeping more to myself and maintaining a small circle of friends because honestly, the last thing I need in my life right now is another unsolicited opinion or any advice that makes me feel less than.
Constantly feeling less than was something I regularly felt as a kid due to having unhealthy parents who were mentally imbalanced alcoholics. I’ve worked pretty hard in recent years to shed that part of my past and any people from my life who seem to regularly cite out negative observations of me versus positive ones. With the past nine years of my life having been as difficult as they’ve been because of my health, what I truly desire these days is to be uplifted by others instead of having my flaws and shortcomings pointed out or telling me what one thinks I still need to work on.
Unfortunately, many people seem to thrive on offering their observations of others. Why? Because it’s a great way to shift the focus off of themselves. I’ve been guilty of this myself specifically when it comes to my partner. Many times, I’ve fallen prey to making observations of his overeating issues, where each have led to nothing more than arguments, negativity, and most definitely him feeling less than. That’s because each of my “observations” have never been asked for and instead were more about pleasing my ego than being a truly loving and supportive partner. I’m convinced that at the core of this behavior is nothing more than some deep-seated insecurities that my ego doesn’t want me to face, so it instead looks to shift that focus off of myself by making my negative “observations” of others like my partner.
The bottom line is that making an observation of another is really the same as making a judgment, offering an opinion or giving advice, and doing any of these without being asked often tends to lead to conflict. So, maybe a better solution might be to start praising and uplifting each other’s positive qualities, as maybe then we’ll start seeing ourselves and everyone else in a much brighter light.
Dear God, I know I’ve been prone to offering my observations of another without being asked. I can see how doing so is nothing more than making a judgment and offering unsolicited advice and opinions. Please help me become more mindful of that and instead be more apt to offer uplifting words and encouragement, something I think all of us on this planet need a lot more of right now in life…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson