“Why do I always have the feeling I can completely trust you with everything?”, my friend Anna asked me the other day. I started joking, telling her that it’s all because I call her Anna in these blog posts, so at least I don’t share her every move openly with the rest of the world. She laughed, however forced me in a friendly way to take the conversation seriously. I did. Yet how could she expect me to explain this? It took a while until I managed to respond. “Well, Shirley Temple (yep, for the newbie’s amongst my readers: I give all of my friends nicknames) stated a while ago that she finds it highly unusual that I don’t judge, maybe that’s a clue.” Within seconds Anna shouted out pretty loud: “That’s it, that’s it! That makes me feel so safe!” I felt a slight shock. Is it really that exceptional?
From that point on, she couldn’t stop talking about how different that is. As everybody always tries to shuffle you up with their so called great advices, while in reality they just want to push their own opinions, ideas, wishes, demands, expectations etc. into your mind. Now what do I do differently according to Anna? We started analyzing and came up with answers that made perfect sense. Somehow I manage to listen, absorb and give advice based upon her very own thoughts. As she would say ‘I guided her to her inner voice’. And even if that inner voice would say she needs to move to Alaska, live with 3 guys, dance naked in the snow and have a whale as a pet, I – according to Anna-, would even encourage that, as long as it makes her happy. Wow, eye-opener! As I knew she was right. Now here’s where it actually struck me… Somehow along the road I had concluded, that caring & loving others means letting them completely free. Free to be who they are, free to find out what makes them happy, not what I think that would be right, good or whatever emotion involved.
Yep, this is a tricky one, I agree! Because there are two ways of doing this, yet it takes a full strip down of the ‘ego’ to do it in a genuine, honest way. Let’s be fully honest here: what is your true reason to tell someone how he or she should handle things? Advice is good, but where do we cross the border of shuffling up our opinions, even up to the point that we get upset when they don’t listen? Even worse, waiting for the perfect moment to see them make a ‘mistake’ just so we can say, “You see, I told you so!”
Now in my opinion, but please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s all about learning how to love others unconditionally. Let them make their own choices, even mistakes if you like to see it that way and don’t force them to do anything your way, unless of course they are truly harming themselves or others with ‘dangerous’ actions (such as drug/alcohol abuse and so on). As none of us have any other good reason to try to control somebody life, just because we enjoy that.
Well how do you give advises in a ‘good’ way? For me it works best to listen carefully, ask the right questions, so the friend involved can dig a bit deeper into him or herself and draw conclusions from there on. Switch off your own personal emotions and help them ‘peel off’ the layers that cover the genuine emotions attached to the subject they are dealing with. Of course you can tell them how you would do things, yet it feels so much better if you are able to leave them figure out what parts of that strategy works best for them…One thing I always do is truly put myself in the other person’s shoes and it only takes me a few minutes to conclude that I wouldn’t want to be stuffed up with talks starting with “You should”. Personally I prefer “You might want to look at this situation from this and this point…” But hey, this post wouldn’t be what it should be if I told you what to do, so it’s all up to you ;-)!
C’est tout! Promise to see you back sooner for another joy-ride, as I’ve been absent for a little to long due to busy business…More about that in the next post.
For now, remember just one more thing:
“Unconditional love for others is love without rules or regulations, it goes way beyond the ego, as it derives from the soul.”
P.s.: love my quotes? We made them available as stickers! Get them now at www.soloveit.com