I’ve been wondering lately why we give advice to people? When asking ‘why’, I mean to say, what is the motivation for one person to offer a word of advice to another person? Call me a cynic, but I think that most people are, most of the time, pretty focused on themselves and their own agenda.
I don’t say this as a bad thing. I think that it only makes sense, if I concede to the idea that only I am responsible for my happiness and that only I can make for myself the future that I want, to allow for the subsequent idea which says that I must, then, be focused on whether I am happy and work to be certain that I am doing the work of moving my present towards my desired future.
Which brings me back to my original question – why do we give each other advice and, more importantly, why do we accept advice from each other?
Following the idea that only I can make me happy, and the subsequent idea that I must shape my future to insure my happiness, wouldn’t it make sense that I would offer advice to those around me (those other influences that may somehow leave their own mark on my future) that would lead them to behave in a way that positively affects my own future?
Is advice, then, an accepted practice of allowing me to manipulate your actions to benefit my future?
I started thinking about this a few days ago when offering advice to a friend conflicted over the possibility of a new relationship in her life. From what she’d shared with me, I was all for her giving things a go, and every time we talked about it I was sure to tell her so and offer some advice on how to best go about getting the guy. At one point my friend relayed to me the advice she had gotten from another friend. This friend apparently had a different opinion than mine and offered completely different advice.
While I didn’t share this with my friend, of course, I was a bit irritated by this other friend and different advice. “He’s going to ruin everything for her,” I thought. “What’s his agenda anyway?!”
My inner spirit heard my own thoughts and was surprised. Well. What was my agenda? Why was I feeling threatened by advice different than my own? Was I really offering my friend advice that was in her best interest, or was I somehow looking out for my own interests, too?
I didn’t like my new line of thinking and so I offered to her the best objective piece of advice I could think of.
“Stop asking other people’s advice, or accepting it, and use your intuition.”
Safe now from giving advice, even accidentally, not in my friend’s best interest, I could think a bit more, which is what has brought me here.
I don’t know that I was offering this friend advice out of some agenda, hidden, possibly, even from myself. I don’t know that her other friend was somehow trying to steer her decision making in his favor. Were we both speaking out of our individual life experience, each knowing separate facets of her, offering two different perspectives on what was genuine interest and concern for her future happiness? Or did our separate relationships with her actually mean we had different requirements of her, thus changing the nature of our advice to her?
If I am shaping my future, am I not, somehow, in some small way, even accidentally, also shaping yours? If I accept and implement your advice to me, is it possible I am allowing myself to be shaped for your future?
Is it really all about me? About you?
What if I don’t concede to the idea that makes all of this possible? What if I am not solely responsible for my happiness and designer of my future?
What then becomes truth?