I wish I were better at this. But as a self-described pioneer and not a settler, pioneering means improvement should not be unattainable let alone elusive.
Case in point: what is the value of our personal experience when dealing with a new situation? Maybe you do the same. I find chafing inside when I share “my situation” with someone else and even before the first verbal paragraph I get a “should list.”
That happen to you?
I lament when I do that. So, this is not innocence sharing.
If someone trusts me with his or her problem, dilemma, frustration and need for resolve I go to me. When I hear it initially I ponder what might I do in this situation. However. Wrong. Because what I think, what I’ve experienced, what I think wisdom and good judgment require may completely ignore the inner space and personal needs of the other.
Which means when I can offer an opinion…DON’T.
Rather. Use the moment to LEARN the needs and perspective of the person sharing. And ask THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. Because it’s not about what I’d do or how I’d proceed. Rather, it is best…make that bestest, if I can help the other come to his/her own decision.
This is not academic. Currently, as you faithful blog readers have learned, our family’s dealing with some critical health issues. Currently, we are facing some decisions about how to….
Well, the personal situation[s] aren’t necessary to share.
But, for me personally, I need to get better at not offering advice. I need to get better at listening and at asking the right questions that help the other better perceive their own situation and needs…and if possible, to make their best decision on next steps. Because they are the one, not I, who must live with the next steps.
In all that, though, if I am asked specifically, “What would you do?” I would consider that an invitation…but only to respond with my own thoughts about the plus and minus of thinking on that last option.
So. Pioneer? Yes. But at times, especially when someone’s facing a critical personal decision—about nature of family dynamics, of vocational new considerations or of managing health issues…the best friend is the one who lives with the positive communication ratio of two ears and one mouth.