How to know when NOT to take someone's advice

There are two types of advice:  theoretical and autobiographical.

Theoretical advice is based in opinion.  What someone thinks you "should" do.

Autobiographical advice is based in experience.  What someone knows works (or doesn't work) based on what they've lived.

I've had people get annoyed with me before for not taking their theoretical advice. (Which doesn't bother me at all.  I don't mind being my own guinea pig, but I am not yours.)

However, I have deep respect for autobiographical advice.  Perspective from someone who has "lived it" has helped me many, many times. And I'm grateful for those who have cared about me enough to share their experience. It has often allowed me to navigate struggle without driving myself off into a ditch.

As I've aged, I've learned that most people know somewhere inside what course they need to take--and someone who has "lived it" can help in clearing away the miscellaneous clutter that clouds the decision to get to the heart of a matter. The other thing we often need? Courage. And in those cases a friend with encouragement--experienced or not--goes miles.


Side note: When someone is too emotionally invested in their own advice, I've learned to be cautious. It is a clue that their advice is more about their ego than about me.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall