Over the course of our life, we all receive advice – some solicited and some unsolicited. If you are from the sub-continent, advice is dispensed freely. Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything and they turn it into life mantras for others – whether they apply it to their life is a whole other story!
Today I wanted to write about the best and the worst advice I have received in my life. From my experience, the best advice does not always have to be direct, sometimes it may be dispensed to you in a roundabout way as life lessons, observations or even statements made randomly.
The best advice to me came from my sister. She is younger to me by a few years but has always been wiser in some ways. We are very different but alike in so many ways. I moved to Australia and she made her life in Delhi. While we live in very different worlds, some of our challenges have been the same. Once when visiting her and talking about our common issues, she casually mentioned to me her take on life where she puts her inner peace over everything else and measures all problems on that scale. That struck a cord with me! Since then I completely changed my stance for every life worry and problem. I now look at it on a 3 pronged scale:
- Can I control what is causing it?
- Do I have a choice?
- Is it affecting my inner peace?
I then rank them accordingly and deal with them as such. It has really helped my stress and anxiety levels. My sister might not remember the conversation as it was a casual tête-à-tête between two sisters but it has been the best advice for me.
The list of bad advices are a plenty! But if I have to pick the worst, it was dispensed by a teacher when I was a young, impressionable 14 year old. In india, there is a lot of importance paid on looks. I have always been boisterous, cheeky and vivacious until I had a really mean teacher. I can only reflect back and say she was mean but at the time I used to look up to her as she was my teacher. She advised me that when I grow up I should make a career in back end jobs as I was dark and did not have good looks. So it would be hard for me to have a career where a lot of people interaction is involved as no one would hire me coz of my looks. That crushed me and sowed serious seeds of self doubt in me. Couple that with a lot of “well meaning” friends and relatives who reinforced the same in my head, I spent a lot of my teenage years in self- shame.
I am thankful that I was also surrounded by a very loving and supporting family and some amazing friends over the years which helped me get over that self doubt and restore my battered self esteem. Even today, comments over looks touch my nerve sometime but only on bad days. Otherwise, that advice and counsel is forgotten and behind me.
So my learning has been that we should always be kind to other humans. If you do have an urge to give unsolicited advice, then give it in a way that is uplifting for others. Otherwise best to keep your thoughts to yourself and keep your mouth shut. If you do feel like stating your opinions and thoughts, start a blog! 😊