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Listen to Me

25 Jul

We know what’s best for us and what we want to do with our lives.  We know where we want to go and what we want to achieve.  Because we are effective in managing our own lives, sometimes we may think we can help others manage theirs.  Maybe we see them making the same mistake over and over again, and decide to give them advice we think will help.  Sometimes we may really have the answers for someone else’s problems, but that doesn’t mean we can tell them what to do.  If we care for them we can certainly offer our help and give them advice that may assist them.  But once we’ve done that it’s up to them to follow it or not.  They might listen to us or they may ignore the advice.  Their decisions belong to them and even if the counsel we’ve offered is helpful, they may choose their own way.  It can be frustrating to see someone we care about stumble when we’re trying to help them but their decisions are theirs to make.  We can’t make them listen to us.  They have the right to choose.  The best we can do is offer our sincerest advice and then let it go.

We can’t possibly know everything about anyone but ourselves and have only an external view of other people’s lives. We can see what they are doing and if they share confidences with us we may have some insight into how they’re feeling.  But we will never know the entire story.  We can’t know their private desires or intentions.  All we can see is what’s on the outside and we can only give advice based on that.  If they want to listen to us they may, but their lives belong to them and every decision they make is their responsibility.  They will make them based on their personal choices and not someone else’s.  Although we may want to help, in the end the choice is theirs.  We are all certainly smart enough to figure out what’s best for us and even if we falter and make a mistake, we can find our way again.

When we put pressure on others to comply with a suggestion we’ve made and it’s something they don’t want to do, they may feel worried and concerned about telling us they don’t want to do what we’re asking.  If we’re very close to them they may be concerned about how a refusal will affect the relationship and how we will respond.  But if they have other ideas about their life and feel confident about them they can clearly decline any suggestion.  We may not appreciate their refusal to go along but we can respect them for standing up for their decisions.  We own our own lives and can manage them and design them any way we want to.  We can do things our way with confidence and grace, and face whatever comes.  If we falter, we will correct our course.  We can give advice and when we get it we may take it or decline it.  The choice is ours.

Today if you feel compelled to tell someone else how they should move forward or how they should do something, you may offer your advice.  You may give sound reasons for why you believe this is the right way for them to go.  Give your suggestions and then let them choose.  They will hear you and appreciate your concern but they must choose for themselves.  Honor that and support them as you move forward.

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