Been thinking a lot lately about unsolicited opinions. I’ve always really struggled with being graceful when presented with advice and opinions about my personal life that I didn’t ask for. Not from people that are close to me, but rather from people I barely know at all. I really hit my breaking point on this during my pregnancies. A pregnant belly is like wearing a sign that says, “my whole life is totally up for discussion” even if we’ve never met before this very moment. I remember thinking that pregnancy was great and I’d be happy to go on being pregnant for many more months if only I could do it without having to speak to anyone.
I’ve tried to let this feeling go, and chalk it up to the fact that people mean well. They’re only trying to help. But, lately I’ve come to realize that it’s not the advice in and of itself that makes me crazy, but rather when it’s given. If I’m struggling with a decision, it’s absolutely, 100% helpful for me to hear the thoughts and feelings of the people I trust. So I can take it all into account, and make my decision from there. But, if I’ve already decided on something….please just keep your advice to yourself. Who exactly do people think they’re helping by jumping in when you’ve told them you’ve decided to do something and saying they’d do the opposite. At that point, you’ve gone from advice to judgment, and I’m not sure who that helps.
If you truly have someone’s best interest at heart, wouldn’t you simply offer support in whatever they’ve decided? Rather than sitting in judgment of their decision? I’m still going to keep working on receiving advice and judgement gracefully, but I’m inclined to give some advice of my own, think before you speak.