Take It Or Leave It

I’m not one to give unsolicited advice, mostly because I hate receiving it. Yet so many people insist on doling it out as if they’re on a mission commissioned by the Almighty Himself to do so. It’s their personal goal in life to tell the rest of us what we should be doing, why we need to do it and how we should be doing it.

Nowadays we call those people narcissists. We used to just call them annoying busybody assholes.

So I try not to be one, because I don’t like them. It can be difficult though, the older you get and the more life experience you acquire, not to share helpful tips with others even when they didn’t ask for it. Aka give unsolicited advice. I find myself stopping myself more and more from doing it so I’m not annoying my son or other younger people who have yet to figure some things out through trial and error, like I did. Like we all do. Like we all should.

Still, it’s great to come across good advice even if you aren’t looking for it, like this article I found over at the NYTimes. Here’s just the section on Life Advice:

The first kind of counsel for your consideration: words of wisdom for almost any life situation.

  • You’ve never seen a cat skeleton in a tree, have you?” When Alexandra Aulisi’s cat couldn’t get down from a tree, her grandmother reassured her with those words, predicting (correctly) that the cat would come down on his own. “This advice made me realize that, sometimes, you need to shift your perception of a problem to see a solution,” Ms. Aulisi noted.
  • “Don’t pickle things.” That line, brought to you by reader Sam Singer’s mother, means: If you have something special, use it now. “Serve daily meals on your good china. Wash your hands with the luxurious soap you received as a housewarming gift. Drink that bottle of amazing wine right away. Don’t save things for future use — because who knows what the future looks like?”
  • “Exercise adds 20 degrees.” For example, “if it’s 28 degrees out and it seems too cold to go running,” Rory Evans wrote, “once you get moving, it’ll feel like it’s 48 degrees. And that, you can handle.”
  • “Touch it once.” According to Christine H., this household hint involves putting something away the first time you pick it up. That way, “you don’t have to waste energy looking at it (and feeling guilty), or letting it get dusty so you have to clean it before putting it away.”
  • “Sleep on his side of the bed.” Mattie Scott heard this advice at her husband’s funeral. “It’s truly the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten,” she notes. “The effect was profoundly comforting, and it greatly lessened the ache of missing his physical presence.”
  • “Things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.” Gail Dekker first heard her friend, a wedding coordinator, offer these words to young couples whose emotions were running high. But it works in all kinds of situations, including Ms. Dekker’s house hunt. “My initial reaction was that there was something wrong with every condo I saw. My friend reminded me: A place didn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. She was right.”
  • “Take a breath.” Melissa Fanning heard this from a yoga teacher (“at a corporate retreat about which I remember nothing else”). It wasn’t a yoga instruction; it was a suggestion to pause at stressful moments, to avoid saying or doing something regrettable. “I use this advice every day,” Ms. Fanning wrote. “It has preserved peace, calmed me, and made me appear smarter than I am.”
  • “You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reaction to them.” Kim Radich uses this advice daily. “For example, when a family member reacted negatively to a situation, I remembered I can’t control their behavior, and I let it roll off my back.”
  • “Just be a gentleman.” Harry Kelly admits that this advice “may sound corny.” But that guidance came from his mother at a heightened emotional moment: as she dropped him off at college shortly after his father had died. “It means not taking advantage of other people and trying to adhere to your moral values,” he wrote. “Her advice has kept me from doing some bad things and encouraged me to do what is right. Best advice ever.”

There’s more, and some of it’s really good! It’s a collection of best advice ever given to the readers.

Some of the best advice, though, comes from our inner voice that we all like to ignore. If we listen closely it’s telling us what we should and shouldn’t be doing, when we’re right or wrong, and everything in between. It’s our compass if we can learn to tune out the other voice that pops up and drowns it out.

You know the one that repeats all the negative things your mother ever said to you? Yeah, we have more than one inner voice. The one that’s trying to guide us in a positive way is the one we want to tune into, though, because it really does have our best interest at heart even if it seems like a killjoy.

And it’s more of an intuition or a feeling than an actual voice. The naysayer is usually the loud one we hear chattering away while this one, well it’s somewhere deeper, and nudges us from a quiet place hidden within the recesses of our soul itself. Perhaps it’s our “higher self” even, who knows, all I know is when I listen to it I have pretty good outcomes compared to when I ignore it and try to go at life doing things my own way (which sounds weird I know because that voice IS part of me and no, I’m not schizophrenic, it’s perfectly normal to have internal dialogue(s)).

Don’t let anyone make you feel crazy or weird just because you have internal dialogues or monologues. It really is normal. It only becomes a problem when the voices take on nefarious tones and tell you to do bad things. Or if you begin talking to your toaster. Then you might want to get some help.

Oops, it looks like I just went against my own personal vow not to offer unsolicited advice. Oh well, it’s too late now. Take it or leave it. 😋

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