How To Give AdviceSeptember 8, 2018
I often write about the adventure called life. There will be problems, situations, and obstacles that have to be dealt with. To stay on a humorous side, life is similar to a yo-yo. Our world is full of ups and downs. The one thing I learned about Wall Street, the market does go down, but it always goes back up. And that is similar to how life is, there will be the down times, but things in our lives always heads back up.
I have observed about life in general, that a persons direction, decision, and where they may be at in life itself, either up or down, can be the result of receiving the advice of someone in their world, and acting upon it. Now, this is not being said to place the blame on anyone for giving a person any type of advice, but, what it has taught me early on in my life is this, there is only two kinds of advice: Good or bad. Unfortunately, we often find out what kind of advice it was from the results that come after the fact.
There are people who honestly desire to help different individuals during difficult periods in their lives. And they may give advice to a hurting person, sincerely attempting to encourage this individual in some way, and yet, not really know how to address the issue or give the advice that is needed to help them. The end result is, more harm is done, than actual good.
Now, I have worked with people for many years, along with being a pastor of a church, and I have to admit that I was not born with the ability, knowledge of how to give good advice. I have had to learn this art through trial and error. And I call giving advice an art or skill because that is exactly what it is. You have to practice at giving advice in order to become skillful at it.
Furthermore, I am not an expert in giving good advice, but, I want to share some methods that I have acquired through the years about giving advice to others. Also, I have often stated, that the wisdom that I have attained, giving me the ability to give good, sound advice, comes from learning from the mistakes I’ve made in the past. In other words, when it comes to life, I have made right decisions, as well as wrong decisions, haven’t always handled things the right way, and these learning experiences helps me on how to give advice to others. Be rest assured, you will come across someone,who will be where you were at one time, and this will enable you to advise them accordingly.
Parents give advice to their children because of love and concern for their welfare. Children believe they have all the answers, and really have no idea that their parents are trying to spare them from making the same mistakes as they did. Advice may be given to a new employee on the do’s and dont’s, desiring to help them succeed. The advice that I give to my church is always delivered to be a help for someone, because of love and concern for their spiritual well-being.
However, giving advice is one thing, but, knowing how to give advice is another. Some people have labeled me as an expert on giving advice, but I have always dismissed that title, knowing within myself, that I am only able to give out good advice because of God, and from my own experiences. In the beginning, I always try to create an atmosphere that there is no big I or little you, but I am just someone who desires if I can to give some good advice to help the current situation. I have found that this helps break the ice, opens up a conversation, for a person to feel comfortable in talking to me. And before I go any further, this is a must, I always state, that I am glad they are here to talk to me, because it tells me that you do desire help, you do want your situation solved. The whole idea is you want to start a conversation about what is on their mind.
The first step in healing, is venting, talking about what is going on. At the same time, I listen very closely, trying to learn, understand about the situation, why they are here, what they hope to gain from talking to me. Perhaps I will ask why they are here, and what do they desire to see happen as the result of our conversation. Remember, the more a person is willing to talk, the more information you will have and a greater chance will be given to you to offer good advice. Here is an important rule: Why is it necessary to be a active listener? Because you need an understanding of the problem, why they are talking to you, before even attempting to give any advice. Never make the mistake of giving advice before knowing all the facts!
Also, in most occasions, when I am notified that someone has a need to speak with me, usually they will tell me what it is about or I will ask why is there a need to have a conversation. I like to have a general idea of the situation, and I always schedule our meeting several days ahead, of course if this is possible. Why? Because this gives me the time to ponder about the situation, and of course to pray for God to help me to give the best advice possible.
Now, once the problem has clearly been explained, I always try to give illustrations of what has helped me to get through some tough situations, and attempt to show that this could help them in their dilemma. Yet, here is something very important to also remember, you can not force anyone to take your advice, it is up to them to decide to apply it to their lives. If someone decides to ignore your advice, do not make it a personal issue. It is called having a personal choice. This will help you not to be so frustrated if they decide not to listen.
Here is another important point, don’t give advice that will do more harm than good. You do not want anyone who has come to you for help leaving feeling worst than when they first arrived. Don’t give the impression that you are blaming them for their situation. Never insinuate or advice that their dilemma is the result of what they should of done or didn’t do. And never give advice to anyone by saying that your just going to have to deal with it. Or, you are not the only one who has problems. Giving this kind of advice will only result in a person not coming back to talk to you, and resulting in an unsolved situation only becoming worst. I need to insert this, perhaps when you begin to see some progress as the result of your past advice, can you initiate the idea that maybe they could of done something differently to help their situation.
In closing, I want to say, that I have always enjoyed giving advice to someone in an attempt to help them in some way. And it is very self-gratifying, when a person comes to me to say that they tried my advice and it worked. My feeling is always, good. mission accomplished!
Hello, my name is Meredith Miller. I am married to a beautiful woman named Elizabeth. We have four wonderful children and three fantastic grandchildren. I have a Doctorate in Theology and a Ph.D in Religion. I have been in the ministry for 30 years and a pastor for over nine years. I really enjoy life and the opportunities that I have had in trying to help others during difficult periods in their lives.
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