Friends, acquaintances, co-workers and strangers–any person is in need of some words of wisdom and encouragement in time of distress. There is always someone who is willing to share his or her life knowledge to give the little kick in the butt to raise anyone in need from the mud, be cleaned up and ready to move on.
Everybody has something wise to say about any problem anyone is facing. Everybody has the answer to any of the problems anyone faces. Such a beautiful world, inhabited by the most knowledgeable, empathetic and sensible creatures this world has ever seen.
On the other hand, people tend to be so vain that they believe they have all the correct answers. They know what to say and when to say it. They might believe that they are the answers for other people’s problems. What they have gone through is an example of what pain and self-determination could accomplish. Therefore, they are always at your disposal in case of ever needing someone to talk to. Their stories are inspirational enough to get anybody up of their feet.
I have been going through some difficult times lately. I’ve been in need of a ME time so desperately. By letting any restraint that has been holding me break free has obviously had its consequences: feeling worse.
Today I made the mistake to let my feelings and state of mind go all the way to a text to two old friends–one of them is one of the two people whom I can talk about anything I might go through and the other just happened to be online. However, I honestly believe that most people are not capable of giving the right advice at the right time for the right person.
The old friend, after reading my text that explains the situation I was going through, started texting me back with the same old phrases that people use to make someone feel “better.” She wrote things like “You’re great!” “You should be proud of yourself” “You are a professional man” “You have family and friends who love you” “You are intelligent” “You… and you… and you…”
At the end of the conversation, I was just typing words by default. I didn’t care of what else she had to say because there was not any insightful or revealing truth in her words that might prompt me feel a little better. She just tried to cheer me up with cheesy lines. I’m a football player in search of some words from a cheerleader or an encouragement from a withering coach.
The other person, I had the transgression of texting too, started using his life as an example of human accomplishment and survival. I replied some of his text, but I was in a confusion of reactions at the moment that I couldn’t reply them all. I wanted to laugh and to get mad at the same time. I was reading tons of long messages about his life and what he had become. He never read and thought my problem through, he started to text me about his amazing life. I didn’t feel bad, but I wasn’t feeling any better.
I wondered on the fact that when I’m going through a tough time, I don’t believe that I should listen to people praising me or letting me know the obvious things that I own at the moment. Those are the things that I know for sure are there. I might take them for granted from time to time, but they are still there. Unchanged, at times. On the other hand, I feel bad because of some inadequate decisions that I made. Or, perhaps, I don’t feel good because of some specific or more existential issues. So, a reminder of how great you are is not an effective advice when someone is in need of a deeper approach of your issue.
Those people, who you go to ask for advice to, are not always acquainted with you. They know who you are and what you do and what other things are in your interest, but they are in the dark when knowing who you really, really are. They know what color you are in the outside, but your true colors are just a blur for them.
That’s why I believe that advice giving should point at helping to solve an issue, but not to remind you constantly that you can accomplish whatever you are set to do. If I had a solution for every problem that I have, I would not have felt depressed. So, tell me the truth, I know that the truth hurts, but something else hurting right now anyway and don’t know what to do with it. I might feel a little more helpless at the moment a friend is more than preaching. But if I’m mature enough, I will be able to change everything around and grow from it. Knowing what you have been doing bad, even though it would piss me off, I’ll eventually resolve a way to turn everything around.
Giving advice is more than saying the right words, it is actually to know, to care and to embrace your words and intentions of helping others. Helping other by finding solution is the final destination of providing words of encouragement, not by listing anyone’s ‘what-I-would-do’.