I see the subject raised so many times, yet it doesn’t seem to stop harmful advice from showing up online. Everyone thinks that their solutions, advice, remedies, or ways of looking at life are the best there is.
The question is, how harmful is your advice?
Unfortunately, though, I think this stuff hurts people more than it helps.
Here Are Some Ways
1) You don’t listen when needed
Sometimes we just need for someone to listen. If you interject your thoughts into what the person has been through, you’re saying, “I know what you need and you don’t know what you need.” You’re telling them how little they know but you’re all wise and knowing. Situations like this can lead to harmful advice.
2) You tell everyone the simplified versions that aren’t tested by time.
Far too often our harmful advice overlooks the full breadth of what is taking place. Most of the time we don’t know the whole story, but it doesn’t stop us from acting as if we do. We diminish and negate the person’s experiences because what we’re telling them to do isn’t about them.
It is more about the ego acting as the supreme authority on everything. Again, we treat the person as if they have no clue what is going on, while we with our limited facts and viewpoints appear to know better.
3) You don’t see that the person is in pain
Sometimes we are all dealing with an experience where we are in pain. It may be mental, physical, or emotional, but it can be so raw that it cuts deep into our existence. Harmful advice often discounts what we are experiencing.
The happy positive memes paint every experience the same, while not acknowledging what the individual is going through. We make it sound as if the person struggling through pain is somehow flawed because they can’t just flip the switch and have it all go away. More often than not, we’re in denial in our own lives and so numb and disconnected that we think others should be this way.
4) You make news reports fit every situation
We all know how factual a news report can be with so much in-depth reporting in a two-minute segment. Then someone takes that one size fits all approach and turns it into harmful advice. Because it was stated on TV, it has to be true and fit every situation. Honestly, this blows my mind so much but it happens all the time. There’s no thought process or common sense.
5) You don’t see that physically it could be harmful
Sometimes the things I’ve heard people tell me to do for myself or my pets have been anything but helpful. If you read up on them, you can quickly learn that the solutions are not good. They could be downright life-ending or cause much more pain and discomfort.
There is no way we know all the details and are educated enough to be telling others what they should do. We might think we are and chastise everyone else for doing the same, but we are fooling ourselves. More often than not, there are those who think they have the answers and are offended if you don’t see it the same way.
6) You haven’t healed your own toxic wounds of life
One person I know in a Trager trade day thought I was going to share something that made him uncomfortable. It was in a sharing and catch-up time. While I wasn’t going to share my story, he thought I was and instead of letting me say what I was going to say, he blasted me. Of course, this group was a “non-judgmental group full of love,” and I say that in quotes. No one came to my defense that day. Because he was a “leader” in the group, they just let him bully and demean me. His harmful advice to me was nothing but a bully’s demeaning actions that everyone was complacent with that day.
You see, we can hurt others when we haven’t healed our own wounds and we interject that upon others. It happens so much that no one notices it anymore online or in person. We claim it is our opinion based on facts as we see it, but in all reality, it is our own negative unhealed wounds spewing toxic poisoning as fast as possible.
What Can You Do Differently?
We all despise harmful advice
While we all despise harmful advice, we continue to do it. We’re disconnected, numb, and unconscious so we can’t see that we are doing that which we despise and hate.
We demand others clean up their act. We demand others to not be harmful, but then we go and do the same thing. Oh no, we won’t listen if someone points it out because everyone else is the problem.
Just Be There
We’ve lost the ability to just be there for others. Instead, we spew out harmful advice as if that is the best thing to give. We diminish others and mock them when we forget how to just be there.
Giving your opinions, happy and positive thought memes, one size fits all sayings and statements or admonishments is not helpful in the scheme of life. All too often we do this as we claim we are not judging and we are full of love. Unfortunately, harmful advice is about judging and a lack of love.
Just be there for the individual. Let them know they aren’t walking alone. You’re not there to fix them or solve the issue for them.
Harmful Advice Makes It Worse
Your harmful advice will most likely make it worse. In fact, maybe the person just needs to walk the rough spots so they are strengthened for the more difficult moments ahead in life. If we take that away because we think it is best they don’t struggle, we might be leaving them weaker for the steps in the future.
Sometimes to deal with pain, one has to relive the painful moments. It becomes the gauze of soothing relief over the wound that allows it to heal. If we take that away from them, we might be just allowing an unhealed scab over the wound that never heals. We might be making it harder for them than letting them go through what they need to do.
Replace Harmful Advice
It is better to walk through the fire with them, helping steady them and giving them balance. When we walk through the painful moment rather than giving harmful advice, we’re offering support. They learn they aren’t alone and someone truly cares. This is so missing in this world right now.
We want to fix everyone but most of the time we’re doing it through our limited vision and knowledge and insight. We’re removing the lessons they need to learn because of our short-sighted harmful advice.
Resist the urge to give in to that and you’ll become a better human as a result. Consciousness and love and nonjudgment come when we step out of the way and just hold the space for someone. These days, we do just the opposite of that while proclaiming how wrong harmful advice is.