We all know some well intending (for the most part) souls who are happy to give us directives in everything from how to wear our hair to why we need to get a ‘real’ job to why we’re the reason our kid is failing algebra. Mom might tell you to ditch the boyfriend or stand up to the boss. Instead of biting your tongue or lashing out in frustration, it’s time to adopt a strategy to deal with all the unsolicited advice you’re getting in your life.
Their well-meaning 2-cents-worth is what I call, “you-ing.” They are telling you about you without your permission. That’s the opposite of the first Attitude Reconstruction communication rule, which is “talk about yourself” — stick to your “I.” You-ing naturally elicits anger. They are out of their own back yard. If you aren’t ready for or don’t want feedback, it’s counter productive.
According to Attitude Reconstruction, when you’re drowning in the sea of uninvited advice from others, remember these six tips:
- Unsolicited advice and opinions mean that someone believes they are entitled to tell you about yourself without gaining permission. The reality is that we are each responsible for ourselves. That’s quite enough of a task in itself.
- When unsolicited advice comes at you, don’t argue with it. Remember that you are just the target of their misplaced anger, that it’s not personal, and that you are fine just the way you are. Blasting them back won’t help. Don’t look for the grain of truth in what’s being said. Don’t be overly polite and let others go on and on just to hear themselves talk. Instead, be the matador, put out your cape, step aside, and let the “bull” go flying by.
- Then lovingly but firmly speak up about what is true for you. Tell them it’s not helpful to you to receive unsolicited advice. Maybe mention that support and appreciation work much better for you. Matador their retort to you speaking up. Don’t get sucked into their rationalizations about how they are just trying to help. Acknowledge their good intentions and be a broken record, such as “I‘m getting angry right now because I’m not wanting any advice right now.”
- If they don’t hear and acknowledge what you’ve said — what is true for you right now – lovingly say it again, as many times as you need to, until they stop. Repeat each time they do it again. “I know you’re concerned about me, but I’m really not looking for input right now. When I need it, I’ll let you know.”
- And finally, appreciate them at times when they are not giving advice. Deep down, we all relish compliments, even though we may resist at the time.
Learning to tap in and listen to your own soul’s advice is always the biggest source of wisdom. But when others are bent on telling you the way your life needs to be, remember to honor yourself, to speak your truth and to say, ‘no thank you.’