Is it Wise to Be Giving Advice to Others?
We usually like to give advice because we want to be helpful. It also makes us feel very good when we can do something for someone else. We may think we have more wisdom in a particular situation and know that we have experience and know better. Our intentions are good when we set out to help others, however, how is this perceived by them?
Inserting ourselves in other people’s problems and giving advice can be construed as manipulative and critical. Other’s can perceive it as judgmental and find it offensive. It can also undermine a person’s ability to figure out what’s right for them in order to solve their own problems.
As parents, we tend to give advice to our children. We want to prevent them from getting hurt and we want to guide them in the right direction. However, not only does this create relationship problems it causes our children to doubt themselves and their abilities.
When we step in to rescue, help and fix someone else’s problems, we are trying to reduce our own anxiety. We may feel helpless that our loved one is hurting and we are unable to sit with our anxiety therefore if we act on it, two things happen: 1) we are distracted and 2) we are controlling the outcome. It is more something we do for ourselves than for others.
If you are struggling from refraining in giving advice, ask yourself; “am I doing this for them because they really need it and have asked for it, or is it calming me down?” If it is calming you down, find a way to release your anxiety by re-directing yourself and do something you enjoy. Bring your thoughts back to you and not the other.
Giving unsolicited advice to others is a boundary violation. If someone has not asked for your advice, opinion or help, going ahead with that can damage relationships whether it is with our children, family or friend relationships.
If your children are struggling, ask yourself first, is this something they can and should do on their own? If the answer is yes, stay away and allow them to be challenged. They will thank you for it much later on in life!
At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we are offering Zoom, FaceTime and phone sessions. Call us at 908-322-0112.