Counselling

Advice about ‘Advise’

I usually don’t like giving lectures on issues – because I don’t like receiving lectures on issues; but when it comes to the matter of giving and receiving advice, I think it’s time somebody said something! And I am happy to oblige, lol.
Firstly, both words are not too dissimilar in meaning. ‘Advice’ is the noun – in simple terms I would say it is an opinion on a matter. ‘Advise’ is the verb, the action of giving counsel to someone on an issue. We all have those moments when you just want to know what someone has done or will do in your situation, but there are pros and cons to the information you are seeking .

The Giver: Pay close attention to the person(s) giving you advise. I’m not talking about the people who just poke their heads into your business and tell you things they will never do (I trust you are already able to avoid those ones), but the genuine people you would speak to. What is their state of mind? For example, I have a friend who I would usually discuss things with and eagerly listen to her opinion on a matter. While she is younger than me, her life experiences have given her a broad perspective on issues, and her knowledge has served me well many times. And then one day she got badly wounded by a man she trusted. Suddenly her advise was laced with bitterness. She couldn’t see anything beautiful in the world anymore because of the depth of pain she was suffering. You offer her a rose and all she can see are the thorns. I didn’t want to speak to her about anything, but even my silence was an insult to her.

In another instance, I wanted to make a decision as a new wife. I mentioned it to about five different women who had been wives many years ahead of me. They all said my decision was disrespectful to my husband. I spoke to another set of women and they agreed with the initial five. Only one person felt I was making the right decision, but she was yet to be a wife. So, I listened to those with experience. I can’t tell you how many times in the past years that I have wished for a do-over of that moment. Some of those experienced women have now admitted they were wrong in their thinking, but they spoke from their experiences. It may seem like a no-win situation, but my advice is that you take a few seconds to consider the giver of the counsel you are about to receive.

The Advice: As I mentioned earlier, the advice is an opinion on a matter, it is not the law. You have the absolute right to accept or reject any advice you are given, but be ready to take responsibility for any corresponding repercussions. My husband upset me and I mentioned it to someone. The person said, “don’t give him food until he comes to his senses”. I thought to myself ‘…if my mother hears that I did such a thing, she will leave whatever she is doing to come and smack some sense into my head!” I didn’t think that was good advice for any adult. It may work on a young child, but to withhold food from a full-grown adult because you are waiting for an apology…. hmmm, you are on your own o! There are also instances when the person you are speaking to is in such a rush to give the advice that they don’t actually grasp the full scenario. So, you are trying to paint a picture of the situation and he or she has given advice based on just the first sentence. Sometimes it starts with “…a friend of mine was going through the exact same thing….”. Apply wisdom as you seek counsel.

I have to confess my own crimes now; there are times when I am relating a story and because I am still upset, I may exaggerate what happened a little. If I add a little salt to the story, I’ve discovered that what is heard by the ‘Giver’ tends to have pepper, Maggi, stock cubes and all other condiments, making the end story almost completely different from what actually happened. If you are guilty of this crime like me, please try to calm down before you go and talk to someone. You can only be advised based on the story you have told, so if you want healthy advice – tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, if you just want someone to agree with you and make you feel better, that’s fine. There are actually friends for those times. You just need to be aware of your state of mind and be ready to deal with any repercussions. Selah!

The Application: Nod your head in agreement if you ever had an assignment in maths or physics, where you were given an example and told to solve the exercise – the example was easy and straightforward while the exercise was rocket science! My tutor always said that the principles to solve the exercise were always in the example. The example says 2+2 = 4, but 4 can also be described as 3+1, 4×1, 22, etc. The fact that you have received good advice may not be enough. How you apply what you have heard is just as important as receiving the correct thing.

For instance, I was advised by various women to be constantly ready to provide sex to my husband. I did not appreciate all of them poking into my personal matter and assuming that I would not be equal to the task. However, I have not said to my husband, “…Oya come and do this thing so that I can sleep!”, even if that’s how I feel once in a while – yes, I am human as well.

How you customize what you have heard to your own personal situation is true wisdom. This, in my opinion, is the most important thing about advice.

In summary, what should you do with what you have just read? Firstly, consider the giver. You don’t know me so this one is shaky, but I believe that you trust Dishusbandmata so you can assume that I am stable in myself. Secondly, consider the advice. Does what I have said make sense to you? I have thought about how best to present this article for at least three weeks and I am not angry at anybody or using this as an outlet to get at someone, but it’s up to you to judge. And finally, the application. If what I have said has made sense to you, please put this into practice and share this with someone.

Just doing my bit

Image culled from Google images

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