This topic comes to mind because of recent personal events. Rather than dive in with the details of it, I’ll try to give it a perspective that gives you something to think about and how it might apply to your own lives.
When you look at others, particularly someone you’re close to such as a family member or a co-worker, who is having personal issues you have strong opinions about, what do you do? Do you rush in with advice? More importantly, if you do give advice, do you do so with the other person’s feelings first or are you giving it based on your OWN feelings? Many times, we tend toward the latter. After all, we’re human. When we see someone who is having difficulty with a particular problem, be it of a personal nature such as family matters, job-related, financial, or whatever the case may be, we sometimes let our own emotions dictate our words and actions. We therefore give our “advice” and opinions based on those emotions. Consequently, what happens is this. What was intended to be caring and loving advice often comes off as critical, harsh, even judgmental. What happens then is the other person gets defensive and even angry at the other. The end result? Frustration, anger, and most of all, NO positive outcome!
Over the past few years, I’ve learned many things as a result of tragic personal events in my life. One of the key ones is not to think I know everything or have all the answers. This includes passing judgment upon others. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to NOT be critical or give my opinions to others. I’m merely suggesting that it is important to remember some key elements when I do. One, don’t take the other person’s feelings for granted. Chances are, the advice or judgment I’m giving them they probably already know, or maybe have thought of. That’s where my emotions come into play. If I remember the first part then it’s easier for me to keep my own emotions in check. If I do both of these, I will be much more productive and effective that the opinion and advice will be taken in a positive fashion, rather than met with defensiveness or anger.
This sort of positive interaction with others in your life, at any stage or in any circumstance, is critical to your emotional well-being as well as with those you encounter. Remember, I think it’s been written somewhere a long time ago: “Judge not, lest you be judged.” No one is perfect. Here’s another thing you should always remember: “There’s a little bit of bad in the best of us and a little bit of good in the worst of us.” Point is, if I’m not perfect, what right do I have to judge others? And if everyone else is the same, which they are, then NO one has the right to judge another. If two people have that same mindset when they engage in conversations where one is giving the other “advice” or opinion, then the end result will be one that is much more productive and effective for the other party. Not to mention how good you will both feel when you’re done! It’s like, “Wow, that was really cool!”
See what I mean?