Why do other people never take our advice?
“My husband could save so much time, if only he’d listen to me,” sighs Diane. She used to do what most of us do when the other fails to comply: she repeated her instructions. Maybe, somehow, he overheard her casually mentioning 348 times that if he cut all the veggies first he could save at least four minutes every time he prepared a meal? Or maybe he did not. Instead of happily taking up Diane’s advice and changing the way he operates in the kitchen, he firmly invited Diane to leave.
Diana is not alone in her endeavor to improve her loved ones’ lives. Interestingly enough, when asked about the one recurring frustration of expectations not met, the majority of married women I have spoken to did not mention inconsistency of their husband’s stream of gifts and other tokens of love. Rather, what irked most of them was hubby’s refusal to take their good advice.
Really, this is not about us.
We only want your best, husbands! Oh, and while we are at it: we want the best for our children, too! And for our parents, siblings and friends.
Is it so hard to see that all we have in mind are your best interests? Is it so hard to take our advice?
It is good for you to eat less sugar, exercise more, use less social media, love yourself more, put on warm clothes, take that jacket off, do not be scared of the bully, speak out, take a stand, be careful with strangers, wash your hands, play with dirt to boost your immune system, swallow your vitamins, drink less sodas, drink more water, eat less meat, eat more veggies, do not take your boss’s tantrum personal, get more fresh air, pick up the weight with a straight back, study more, sit less, do not beat yourself up over every little mistake, learn from your mistakes, focus on the positive, practice gratitude and yoga and meditation and mindfulness and playing the piano, because you have that gift and when you finally become that piano virtuoso YOU WILL BE HAPPY GODDAMIT!!!!!
Are you with me again? Now think: Why, really, are other people never taking our advice? Who is suffering when they do not do all these things or any, for that matter? And no, I am not talking about “in ten years, he’ll regret having eaten that second helping of macaroni with cheese.” I am talking NOW.
Yes. You. Notice that. What does it say about you when your husband does not follow your vegetarian diet? When your child has bad grades in school? What does it say about you that your mother thinks life is hard and unfair?
You may have heard it before and you may not want to hear it again. You can only take care of your own shit. Leave other people theirs. It may not even smell bad to them. Either way, it is not your job to clean their house. And your worthiness as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a boss or a sister is NOT defined by other people’s lives or happiness.
Once you get this, you may be open to the idea that all advice you ever give is for yourself. Keep it there. Until someone actually asks for it.