Most people would prefer no advice to bad advice. It puts our walls up. We become defensive over what is being said to us rather than listening all the way through. Even if there is good advice included, it becomes either obscured or totally ignored. We don’t hear any of it, because we’ve called up our defenses.
It is hard to tell the good from the bad. Sometimes, the person’s tone or approach has totally set us off from anything they have to say, constructive or not. How do we hear what the true message is? How do we get those walls to stay down? Or at the very least, be no more than a tinted window only rolled half-way up?
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Focus on the intent. Believing in the good nature of the person speaking to you is the first step. If it is someone to whom you have gone for a chance to vent or confess or seek guidance, then it is someone whom you trust and love. Therefore, the advice they direct toward you is with the best intentions.
Maybe you didn’t choose to speak to this person. Maybe they sought you out to give you advice. Maybe they overheard something or witnessed something and feel they know what is best for you. Aggravating? Yes. Endearing? It could be. They care. That is the bottom line: they care about you.
Look at their meaning. Focus on the intent. See past the bombast, the aggressiveness, the wording itself. Recognize that this person really does want to help you. Whether good advice or bad, they want what’s best for you and they truly believe what they are saying, the guidance they believe they are providing is going to be for your benefit.
It is easy to become frustrated and lash out at the person you are talking to, particularly if you wanted no advice at all but merely a person to speak to. That person may be pushy with their words, their demeanor may be aggressive or that of a know-it-all. You chose to speak with this person, either by approaching them or not leaving when they approached you; you can also choose how to interpret their words.
So whether or not you sought their advice or if their advice is sound isn’t really the point. The point is, this person is giving you advice out of love and the goodness of their heart. Try to see that. See past poor word choice or attitude or posturing. Your power as the listener, the recipient, is to interpret what is being said or given to you.
The even bigger power you hold is how you respond.