In wanting to support our loved ones we often offer “helpful advice.” “You should try this.” “Do it this way.” We mean well, we really do want to help, but often our “helpful advice” and our good intentions simply piss-off the other person.
Bear and Butterfly
In my book, Bear and Butterfly I examine how the butterfly within us (male or female) is not really asking for our help at all. It is simply expressing something that is going through their mind. Maybe it is to keep us up to date on what they are thinking, maybe it is part of the process of solution to verbally express their thoughts. In either case our “helpful advice” is neither wanted nor needed. The bear within us wants to go right to the solution step. This can create friction between even the closest of friends.
Each of us has both bear energy and butterfly energy within us. Solution oriented bear doesn’t waste time talking, talking, talking about an issue, it simply needs to find the place to begin. When we are expressing through our butterfly energy, there doesn’t even have to be an issue at hand. All we want to do is establish community, to feel we are being heard.
How do we avoid giving unwanted “helpful advice?” I am not sure we can always know. What I am sure about is that when we find we have stepped on a communication landmine, the most effective response is to acknowledge the blunder (“I’m sorry, I thought you were looking for my input.”) and hope for understanding from the other person. When we have been the receiver of unwanted helpful advice admit you were just thinking out loud, and thank the other person for their support.
Getting a handle on bear energy and butterfly energy will help in every one of your relationships. Read Bear and Butterfly. Begin by clicking on the cover below.