We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain. William Alger.
He who can take advice is sometimes superior to him who can give it. Karl von Knebel
Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon and the deeper it sinks into the mind. Coleridge
Advice is something we usually love to give and hate to receive. We think people need the benefit of our worldly wisdom and experience and that we are so totally capable that we do not need any such help from others. It is important that we increasingly learn to be very sensitive to our motives for wanting to give advice and our real reasons for not wanting to receive it. Our ego and vanity are issues that often get in the way.
Generally speaking, we do not want advice. Even when it appears we are asking for it, it is often a ploy or rouge to make ourselves look good and humble. Quite often, we are too stubborn, arrogant or conceited to accept advice. We would rather do things the hard way. Men are notorious for trying to put things together without reading the instructions or when trying to locate an address without asking for directions. It is less than manly for men to ask for help or advice. They fear appearing weak and vulnerable. They want to show they can do things without help. Men do some pretty dumb things. Women do not seem to be as susceptible to this type of problem.
When a person does not want our advice we are wasting time by trying to give it. Unless it has been asked for, directly or indirectly, it is not wanted. We have all been in situations, where we have had the opportunity to give advice to someone that really seemed to need it, but for whatever reason they just were not interested in getting it. They clearly did not want to hear what we had to say.
If there is a best piece of advice for getting or giving advice it is the following: Be extremely aware of your motives for not accepting it or for giving it while be aware of the other person’s frame of mind as well. If we are offering advice from a spirit of love, there is a better chance of our advice being received. If our motives are anything different, this will be perceived and our advice will be ignored. Similarly, if someone who is trying to give us advice is doing so in a spirit of love, we would be well advised to overcome our reluctance and to listen to them. Ego and vanity should not be a part of advice giving or even receiving.
Challenge: Are you a giver of advice and are you willing receive advice from others? You can do better at both ends of this by always being aware of your motives and reasons. Be very sensitive to your true motives. At the same time, be aware of what someone’s motives are for offering you advice. Stay away from ego and vanity. Make sure the next time you want to give advice it is because you truly care and for no other reasons.
Wisdom: He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other. Francis Bacon
Dear children, let not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8
To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness. Ecclesiastes 2:26
We would all be better off if we were to seek our advice and guidance from God himself. Just as parents seek to give good advice and counsel to their children, God wishes to help us make better decisions and to go down the right paths. If we do not want advice and choose to do things on our own, we will make lots of mistakes in the process. We have all made our share of mistakes. We have someone who would love to help us to do better.
Prayer: Help me to be aware of my motives. Help me to be more loving and kind and to make better decisions.