Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holding My Power Instead of Wasting It

Holding my power... not wasting it

I think it's in my nature to want to help people. But what does it really mean, "to help"? Call me intuitive or observant, I can sometimes look at a situation (someone else's situation - never my own) and see an extremely clear answer on how to solve it. What has taken me a lifetime to realize, is that knowing this answer is not always helpful. Imagine being given the answer to a difficult math problem. Ok, swell, you have the answer, problem solved, right? Wrong. Because without knowing how to get to get to the answer, what did you learn? When I think back on all of the difficult situations I've encountered in my life, if someone had given me a clear cut "do this to achieve this" I'm not even sure I would have listened because I'm stubborn- I mean, who ever really wants to be told what to do?

For years and years I've been offering unsolicited advice. I've complicated many a friendship by not understanding how much better it would have been for me to keep my mouth shut and simply listen. But I've grown older- and a tiny speck wiser and learned that this wisdom has been gained by learning when to speak and when to stay silent. Discretion being the better part of valor...

In a recent discussion with a good friend, our talk centered around this very subject - the offering of unsolicited advice. He said to me, " I used to do that, but now I hold my power. I don't waste it." It took me a moment to understand what he was saying. At first it sounded like he didn't care, which was odd because I know him to be a very caring and compassionate individual. I then saw that this was like any other unhelpful habit or pattern. It was not serving his highest good and he decided to reclaim his power by letting it go. Fabulous! Right then and there I decided to take mine back as well. Not that I would abandon my desire to help people, but that I would now start to pay closer attention to whether or not I am being asked for advice or if I am simply feeding off of a need to "fix" someone as a way to distract me from my own work.

It is definitely time for me to start focusing that attention inward...

Can any of you relate to this from either side of the equation? 

6 comments:

DaveP said...

Wow. Meanie... for not helping. Selfish... for not helping.

Unhelpful... for spouting on something the receiver may know more about than you/me.

GET ON WITH YOUR WORK... and stop being distracted by these questions you keep answering.

Too many facets to this one for me. Casual request for help? Or a guy collapsed in the street? Both may need help.

Hard one!

Jennifer said...

(Take a deep breath) Yes. I can most definately relate to this and boy is there ever a great discussion behind this! There is a certain quality of offering advice without being asked that takes away your energy away bit by bit. You are too precious a resource for that, Steph. When asked for personal wisdom, the equal exchange begins. Until then, find what feels gratifying by sitting back, quietly grounding yourself, and making yourself available for others when the time is right for them.

Imagine a beautiful old water pump in the garden. The water is there to tend to the flowers. The pump is primed and ready. Someone else just needs to lift the handle to draw out the precious resource. Patience. Breathing. Love.

Speck said...

Oh, yes, I can relate. My first reaction was to write up a long missive on how to fix your problem, complete with communication tools; or at least give you an understanding of the dynamics matrix at work here. But, phooey, your final question didn't ask for any advice! LOL! So, yes, yes; I can relate.

I'm at the extreme end of the Intuitive* scale, so I can usually immediately see the problem, cause, all potential outcomes, and a best solution. The world is full of Sensing* people who can only see what is right in front of them. They make me crazy.

*Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

hap said...

Another brick in the road!! Kudos Steph! It's about the journey, not the destination. You are touching the magic, and the magic is you!!

Angie said...

I can relate to what you brought up here. I used to give advice too, without being asked for it. In my mind, because the person talking to me is sharing their situation, this to me equated that, well, they must WANT my advice! why else are they telling me their problems? But I think I've learned that sometimes people just need to purge. If they say, "well, what do you think?" then clearly they are asking. But that didn't actually happen often, mostly because I didn't wait for the question. I noticed, upon thinking about it later, that it was actually me feeling a little bit high off of the feeling that I possessed the answer, therefore my great wisdom is passed on. Ego trip for me, not necessarily the correct solution for them, right?

JoniB said...

Excellent post! I agree because I'm often the one dishing it out. I, too, am gradually learning not to go with the knee-jerk reaction but to sit back, listen, think, and wait. And VERY hard for me to do, by the way.

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