Category Archives: judgment

Advice

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Give help rather than advice Luc de Vauvenargues

Are you aware of your God-given gift? We all have it.  We all have the ability to tell other people how to live their lives. Some people offer this advice freely, whether welcomed or not.

What’s amazing is that often the very people we are freely advising are not necessarily open and ready to hear all we have to offer. Some people are actually insulted and annoyed by our generous sharing.

If everyone could learn that what is right for me does not make it right for everyone else, the world would be a much happier place — William Glasser, MD

To test out this idea, think back in your own life, maybe only as far as the beginning of this day. Who has given you unsolicited advice? Did it help? Did it hurt? Were you insulted? Were you enlightened?

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The reality is that no one knows all that is involved in what is happening in your life circumstance as well as you. When someone offers unsolicited advice, usually meant with the best of intentions, the advice is all wrong. As a result you may be no better off and you feel worse about yourself, the problem, or your relationship with this person.  Ugh!

Why do people offer this advice? Certainly their intention is not to detract from your Mental Health & Happiness. However, most people, especially friends, colleagues and family members, want to help solve our problems and help us feel happier. Unsolicited advice is often offered to help contribute to other people’s Mental Health & Happiness in a positive way. Instead this too often is a mistake, detractor and at best a nuisance.

Here are some ideas (dare I say advice) that you might find useful:

  1. The next time a person is complaining, sharing, or moaning about a problem or overwhelming circumstance ask what you can do to help? As the above quote reminds us, offering help instead of advice is almost always welcomed. Amazingly the person may frequently tell you that when you simply listen that is all the help they need!
  2. If you have such fabulous and perfect advice that you simply cannot resist sharing, ask permission to share first. “I have an idea that I think will help. Would you like to hear it?” If the person politely declines, go to the bathroom or the closest mirror. Now tell this great idea to the person looking back at you in the mirror. Do not share it with the person who declined your offer!
  3. If you discover that you seem to be a frequent recipient of other people’s unsolicited advice, start self-evaluating? Are you voicing frequent complaints such that others might perceive that you are asking for help? Are you clearly stating what you want; someone to listen attentively without offering advice?

The simple practice to improve Mental Health & Happiness is to offer help rather than advice. Please know that this advice was offered in the spirit of helping.

Kindness

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Kindness is a language which the dumb can speak, the deaf can understand C.N. Bone

Today Im feeling overwhelmed. The news tells us of an angry man who states he was not raised by racists, but independently found answers on the Internet that led him to believe killing people because of the color of their skin was the answer to the worlds troubles. Perhaps it is reasonable to surmise that he believed this would be the answer to his own personal troubles.

Almost immediately the news tells us that family members of the slain nine who prayed with this young man before he shot them in cold blood have forgiven this man. This is such an extraordinary act of love and kindness that it is beyond my imagining.

What follows this act are the same arguments in todays news headlines, just are they have been so often:

People cry out for gun control!

We need more focus on mental health issues! (Please read this as mental illness, not mental health.)

If the people had carried guns in church this never would have happened.

What do you mean we have race relations troubles? This was an isolated case!

Amazingly there has also been swift action in many southern states. The confederate flag is being removed from public and government office buildings and spaces. Even Walmart is removing the sale of products that display this flag.

One small step. Years and years and years for this action to become a reality.

Could it be that this is an act of kindness? Is it possible that some are changing their opinions and points of view?

My own personal solution, the strategy I turn to for help with my personal Mental Health & Happiness right now is to search for and discover all the many acts of love and kindness committed by many people. My search includes the citizens of South Carolina as well as in my own city. There are people I meet and greet daily who are loving and kind toward me and others.

My challenge is to regularly commit acts of love and kindness. When others are looking to see where there are people committing acts of love and kindness, not acts of hate and terror, I want to be one of the people they discover. I want to help spread more love and kindness in the world.

For me, love and kindness are the answers to the worlds troubles. For me, love and kindness are the answers to my own troubles. For me, love and kindness are the direct path to Mental Health & Happiness.

Expectations

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

How many hours in our lives do we spend trying to fulfill expectations others have of us in which we had no part in creating or agreeing to? The answer is simply “too many.”

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As children we learn that to be loved and accepted and praised, we need to figure out what is expected of us by parents and others and then act in a way that meets those expectations. We know when we do that because we hear, “Good boy!” or Good girl!” or “I’m really proud of you.” It seems logical. Our teachers and parents and other adults lay out expectations and we are obviously responsible for doing our best to meet those expectations. When we don’t the chorus changes to “I’m really disappointed in you right now.”

The transition to adulthood and both the freedom and responsibility that accompany it is marked by the realization that many of those expectations are unrealistic, self-serving, or simply have nothing to do with the actual people we are becoming. But if we have been waiting for others to create those expectations over all those years, it’s often hard to create our own without feeling we have done something wrong, or that our disappointing others is a sign or ingratitude or disrespect.

Nothing is father from the truth. Our job as children growing into adults is to sort through the expectations of childhood, holding onto those that we want to integrate into our adult lives, and moving beyond those which are no longer useful. As we create our own lives, we also create the expectations against which we want to be judged.

True adults are in short supply. And just because we are ready to participate in the above process does not mean that others will be ready; it does not mean they will let go of their expectations or cease judging us.  It takes a truly courageous decision to begin to create the criteria by which we are willing to be judged and also to gently refuse to be held to expectations which we have not created or agreed to.

“Sweetheart, I know you are mad at me for not going to the store on the way home, but I don’t remember either being asked to or telling you that I would. Your judgment does not feel appropriate in this situation.”

“I know everyone expects me to be the one to talk to grandma about her negativity, but I am no longer willing to accept that role or feel like I have done something wrong when I ask others to share that load.”

In short, I aspire to say that in my personal relationships, I will no longer willingly participate in the process of being judged by criteria and expectations I had no part in creating or agreeing to.”  Easy to say; hard to do!