Here’s What Happens When You Give Unsolicited Advice

“The best way to build resentment is to give unsolicited advice.”

-Jasmine Wilborne CEO and Founder

I’ve been called “preachy” before.

In fact, as a High School student I actively tried to convert my grandfather to Catholicism.

One evening I was at it again perched on the edge of the mustard yellow swivel chair adjacent to my grandfather. His living room was dark and he sat reclined in his La-Z-Boy. Methodically, he plucked his beard hairs as the TV light reflected on his brown skin.

“It’s important that you come to Mass, grandpa. Bad things happen to those who don’t.” I said. My armpits were a little sweaty. I was nervous, but also sharply focused on stringing together beautiful prose meant to persuade and transfix my grandfather into Jesus worship and church attendance.

You see, I wasn’t trying to convert my grandfather out of some type of superiority complex. I did not relish in his status as a sinner. If I didn’t compel him to change his mind, he would go to Hell. I loved my grandfather and believed that belief in Jesus would be the only lifeline available to him after his physical death. It was up to me to convince him to take it.

“Stop harping at me, Jasmine. I’m a man and I’m going to do what I want to do and I’m not going to no church.” My grandfather said. I froze. My heart plummeted to my stomach. A wave of embarrassment, shame and nausea washed over me. I can’t remember what happened next. I guess I blacked out.

While I’m no longer a devote Christian, I haven’t stopped trying to seduce people into shifting their worldviews and altering their mindsets. I speak with deep personal conviction because I want to help people overcome their personal afflictions that stem from limiting beliefs, childhood trauma and bad habits.

I’ve done the hard work of self-healing. I think it’s made me more self-aware and compassionate. I’ve felt, for a long time, that it was my mission to compel others to do the same.

But it’s not and there are very real consequences to telling someone how to live their life. I didn’t get it until a friend of mine told me she had enough of my “advice”.

“In the future I don’t want you to use the patronizing “coach” way of talking to me. You’re a coach, but you’re not my coach. We’re friends so your opinions are just opinions from my POV, unlike your clients,” she said.

Ouch.

If I had learned my lesson as a young evangelist I would know that I have no right to tell anyone how to think, how to view the world or indirectly, that their way of thinking is somehow inferior or self-destructive.

Hell is paved with good intentions, right? And easily I could build myself a metaphorical hell of friendless-ness because I’ve psychoanalyzed my peers without their consent. My job, unless explicitly defined is to shut up and listen.

I get it.

Not everything is up for commentary. And if someone wanted to change something about their life, they would do it or ask for help. Jesus himself said, “Seek and ye shall find.” I think I’ve been imagining that my role is to be the surprise Jack-in-the-box catalyst for people’s personal change.

It’s not.

Instead, I can ask if someone is seeking advice and respond accordingly.

I have no right to tell people how to live or think. And when I go around giving unsolicited advice like somehow I’ve “made it”, I can come off as, well, patronizing and can make someone feel belittled and child-like.

That’s the last thing I want.

Ultimately, being friends with people means listening to them talk about reoccurring grievances and being supportive. We all have our self-sabotaging mental and relational loops, unshakable habits and limiting beliefs. Being a real friend means accepting someone as they are and regarding their universal human struggle with compassion.

I’ll make it my mission to do that.

Published by AnnaHopeCoaching

Your Baltimore-based Life Coach helping you become the best you can be.

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