In this age of digital enlightenment, it’s easy to lose sight of the truth that advice is, in fact, personal. Each of us has a lifetime of experiences that have shaped and molded us. Our likes, desires, impulses and aversions have been galvanized by these experiences.
When we receive advice, the giver is speaking from their experience. When we listen, we are listening through the filter of our experience. It’s a volley back and forth as the conversations drive on. Does this person understand me? Do they value me? Do they care? Is the advice relevant? And on it goes.
For me, the moral of this story is to eat the meat and spit out the bones. There is value in the input and feedback of others but I’m not beholden to their opinion. Sometimes they will understand and sometimes they won’t.
The same is true for giving advice. We give advice based on limited understanding and on our experiences. We aren’t talking about simple math but people’s lives that are complex and messy. I used to believe that we could distill life’s choices down to black and white, right and wrong. I don’t think that way anymore.
Now I’ve come to embrace the gray areas. The ambiguous experiences of life. I’ve learned that good can come from bad. I’m not afraid of mistakes because I know I can learn from them.
I have also learned that when you give advice, it’s coming from a personal place. You are sharing a bit of yourself and for that, I am grateful.