I’ve always had an urge to help people with their difficulties in life – especially if I have had some similar experience. This urge has got me into trouble so many times, but still it is there.
When I hear of someone treading a route I’ve already navigated it’s almost impossible for me to step back and not add my two pennyworth! As a result I’ve been accused of butting in where not needed and even one-upmanship. It’s easier when writing, as I can edit the words so that they mean what I am trying to say. It’s a lot harder to do this face to face. And that’s where I often get it wrong.
For example I knew, due to years of gynae issues that there was a chance I couldn’t have children. That was no problem until I had been married a year or so and I suddenly became desperate for a baby. Many years later I could still remember that need and when a work colleague told me she was about to embark on a course of IVF and that she was desperate to have a child, I told her that I understood her desperation and gave her an outline of my experience. My intention was mearly to demonstrate that I had some understanding of her situation and that I was there for her if she needed support. She took it as me trying to belittle her worries and feelings; of me trying to top her situation.
This particular experience stuck with me for years and caused me to retreat into my shell more and more. I became afraid to speak in case my words and intentions were mis-perceived again.
But still, I have the need to offer advice if I have experienced something or can see a point of view that is a little different. What I don’t do is expect the recipient to blindly follow my advice. It’s advice. It’s my experience. It’s not necessarily the answer for someone else. What I hope is that the person will gather information, suggestions, guidance from several sources, sort through it, discard what isn’t relevant, cherry-pick what has a ring of truth and arrive themselves with an answer that feels right for them.
After all, it’s their problem. Their bumpy path. I just recognise it from when I walked there. And I also had life lessons to learn.
It’s funny in a way. I still jump in with advice if I feel I can be of assistance. I still find that I will qualify my experience by sharing a situation that feels similar. For me, I am trying to demonstrate that I DO, truly, understand. And recently, as I have become more aware of my Life Lessons, I find myself offering advice through social media. I see the Lesson that is presenting itself.
Today, someone needed help. I offered my thoughts.
And then someone else suggested I write a blog about Life Lessons.
Maybe this is the direction I need here. Instead of my mental meanderings!
Time will tell.