Listening Before Advice: When Your Advice Makes Things Worse

Listening Before Advice: When Your Advice Makes Things Worse listening before advice: when your advice makes things worse

Remember the advice you received from your loved ones or your best friend about your beloved or your knight in shining armor, how they seemed fishy or how something felt off about them. But you didn’t even bat an eyelid, and you ended up staying in the abusive relationship for another 5 years. Then afterward, you listened to advice on what you needed to do to forget about them, advice like finding a purpose in life, getting busy to forget about them, or being advised that you had to hate them so much to the point where you didn’t even want to be with them. Now, you’ve reached the point where you are asking yourself why you didn’t listen to the advice or why you didn’t listen to those people.

Shame and Advice

When you sit down, you reflect on the advice you ignored and start feeling ashamed and embarrassed that you couldn’t follow it. This is what makes advice dangerous; it creates another avenue for your mind or your unhealed self to make you feel like a bad person for not listening. It doesn’t even give you a chance to reflect or contemplate that some of the advice you’ve received in the past has been bad, or that you’ve even followed some of it. Well-intentioned advice can inadvertently create unrealistic expectations, leading to shame when we can’t follow it. We may harshly judge ourselves and feel inadequate, especially when comparing ourselves to those who seem to follow the advice successfully. Regret can also compound these feelings when ignoring advice leads to negative consequences like staying in an abusive relationship for a long time.

We Do Contrary to the Advice

When we receive advice from someone close, our initial inclination often leads us to consider doing the opposite of what’s suggested, driven by the ego’s tendency to assert itself. The ego or your current identity is inclined towards self-preservation, and when advice challenges it, we may react by doing the opposite, inadvertently strengthening the ego’s influence. This can result in the feeling that those offering advice don’t truly understand our situation, and, in reality, people often struggle to fully empathize with someone’s unique circumstances. We frequently rush to provide our own well-intentioned advice without taking the time to listen and understand that even our most well-crafted advice remains inherently biased, stemming from our own egoistic perspective of the situation.

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Do not Beat Yourself Up for Not Following Advice

The idea here is that you shouldn’t beat yourself up for not heeding the advice offered to you. Instead, it’s important to recognize that your reaction is a natural response. Your current self, which includes your unconscious mind, can sometimes resist advice because it perceives it as a challenge. It’s like a defense mechanism — your mind is attempting to protect you by maintaining the status quo, even if that means staying within a familiar but potentially unhelpful or harmful situation. In this light, not following advice isn’t necessarily a sign of stubbornness or ignorance but rather a reflection of your mind keeping you in your comfort zone. Understanding this can help reduce feelings of guilt or self-blame and instead encourage self-compassion and a deeper exploration of the reasons behind your choices.

Advice is Disempowering

Advice is also disempowering because instead of individuals learning how to make their own decisions or stand up for themselves, they often seek advice on trivial matters. When you offer your advice, you are depriving the person of their own inner voice. Instructing them on what to do provides them with a reason to continue staying in their current situation or to stop thinking for themselves, preventing them from engaging in introspection to understand why they are stuck. This leads to the creation of a path of least resistance, where someone chooses to seek advice, and if the advice doesn’t work, it gives them a reason to blame someone else, or it absolves them of the responsibility of bearing the consequences of their actions.

Advice Scratches the Surface

Advice merely scratches the surface, primarily impacting one’s conscious mind, while the message that often seeps into the unconscious mind is more along the lines of, ‘You don’t trust my judgment or think I can make decisions for myself?’ To better understand the limitations of advice, it’s similar to pouring clean water into a fish tank filled with murky water, hoping that a sick fish will miraculously heal, which rarely happens. What’s truly needed is to clean the tank first and then introduce clean water.

When someone is entrenched in a recurring pattern or when a problem is deeply rooted in their subconscious, advice tends to exacerbate rather than alleviate the issue. What that person truly requires is a non-judgmental listening ear; within each of us, lies the capacity and inner resources to confront our challenges. However, we often become burdened when people offer advice instead of simply listening.

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Conclusion

I know your urge to offer advice often stems from good intentions when you’re trying to assist someone who’s facing challenges or who is stuck in life. However, what we can strive to do is refrain from hastily dispensing advice and, instead, prioritize the act of listening — listening with compassion and care. Sometimes, the most powerful therapy one can provide is just listening. There are instances when all we yearn for is to be heard on a profound and intimate level, and when we hastily offer advice, we obstruct that crucial connection.

Furthermore, it can make the other person feel inadequate for not heeding our guidance, and this originates from our own failure to genuinely listen to their thoughts and emotions. This doesn’t imply that we should entirely refrain from giving advice; it suggests that, before we do so, we should emphasize the practice of listening. In essence, it’s about listening more and advising less. In this way, we can create a supportive and empathetic environment where individuals are not just offered solutions, but also the space to express themselves, fostering a deeper understanding of their needs and concerns.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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