… full of contradictions that is!
I make a great effort to rarely give advice in response to a question. The rationale is very simple. So often, advice is being asked as a result of low self-esteem, and that low self-esteem simply makes decision making difficult. A fear of making a wrong decision perhaps! If I offer advice, and it is good advice, then the other person simply appreciates my information but it does nothing for their self-esteem. In contrast, if I offer a number of suggestions which are presented in such a way as to make the final choice relatively easy, then the individual has to actually make the final decision. If all works well (i.e. if I have done my job well), then the individual can take the credit for choosing wisely which will, of course, boost their self esteem.
A number of Posts recently have been addressing issues around sincerity, honesty and generally being “up front” with people. So many people create a public persona, or consciously wear a mask, or otherwise present an image which they perceive to be necessary. My suggestions in these circumstances is to always be open and honest. Easier said than done for many people, but it makes so much sense. As I noted very recently, you may be able to fool the people around you, but you will never fool yourself. The question becomes “Do I want to live a lie?”
We all know that if we are totally honest with everybody (It’s a given that sensitivity and discretion are applied!), then some people are not going to like us. My defense mechanism for such rejection has two aspects.
One is that not everybody is going to like me anyway, so there’s no revelation there.
The second aspect is that I am more likely to love me, if I am totally honest with how I present myself. There’s no long term satisfaction in pretending that I am another personality. If I am very happy with who I am, then if you don’t like me? Well that is your loss! You will never know what you are missing by not having me as a friend!
Having suggested the concept of simply being oneself, I have recently taken quite the opposite approach. The circumstances were very different, but it never ceases to amaze me how I can find a solid position on an issue… and later spin it totally upside down!
This latest situation involved an imminent extremely stressful time for a family, and I offered the suggestion to the parents that they should consider presenting a very solid “front” to their offspring who was having difficulties with the situation. I knew that the parents were, quite naturally, also having difficulties coping with the family circumstances, but it was specifically their offspring who was at the center of the situation. In effect, I was suggesting that it was probably necessary to hide their own concerns, and show their offspring that they were in total control such that they could be relied upon for unwavering support as necessary. I suggested that they wear a mask!
Upon reflection, I see no reason to change my position in either situation as it simply confirms that life is complicated. There is rarely a “black and white” or a “yes/no” answer as it depends on perspectives and circumstances. Life really can be full of contradictions if we choose to see it that way!