“I am talking to you,” my sister said, snatching phone from her teenager.
“I heard. It’s the same old thing…benefits of less screen time. I know it…stop advising me on petty thing,” his sharp words pierced my sister’s heart.
“I was just sharing some information,” said Nikita to her father, who began listing down the relatives living in Rome and how she could approach them in need.
“Dad, I regret telling you about my plans. You always do this. I will reach out to you when I need help.”
“Ridiculous! He treats me like a child. Always dictating what I should do or how I should respond to email from my colleagues. Is he a boss or a micromanager?” Patrick said to his colleague.
‘The dress worn by you is not meant for red carpet. It is for circus.’
‘Who is your image consultant?’
‘You need a better designer. This color makes you look pale’
People wrote on a celebrity’s social media account.
All these scenarios raise questions. Where is line between an unsolicited advice and insult? When does love and care turn into worry and overprotection? At what point we cross boundaries? How are we so okay in intruding into other’s personal space?
Once my editor wrote step-by-step procedure explaining how to save the file to protect the suggested edits and not damage the file. On receiving her message, I was surprised and infuriated. Astonished because I did nothing to ruin the file intentionally and angry because she took all the liberty to explain and guide when not asked. The real problem was I shared a wrong file. I brought to her notice that I was treated as a novice. She had put in an effort in something I never needed or didn’t even ask for. She gave an advice which was a waste of time for her and me.
She accepted her mistake and understood how it feels to be belittled. All it required was a mindful thinking and informing me that she can’t see the suggestions she made in the manuscript.
Unsolicited advice also known as unwanted intrusion is game of power struggle heavily evident these days in all streams of our life. Voicing opinions, suggestions and solutions have become like a constitutional right and is conveniently put under the umbrella of right to free speech.
Suddenly almost everyone has found a voice and have the authority to say whatever they feel is right according to them. The concept of using a filter in our language and messages has vanished.
People persist on putting on their judgements and expect it to be accepted and respected. When anticipated reaction is not received baseless arguments start with an attempt to prove another person wrong.
I come back to my question. Where is the line? Why it’s hard to resist advising?
We have reached to a point where we permit ourselves to justify every action. We have convinced ourselves that since we are not allowed to encroach physical space, we can conquer the mental space.
Trolling on social media is an aftermath of our action. We have somehow agreed on bullying the person we don’t agree with from the confines of our safe spaces. We hide behind fake identities. We scream, use abusive language and threat as a tool to prove our judgement to be right.
When did things get so complex? When will we stop this power struggle?
The option left with the other person is to either ask – did I ask? Or to quit – be it a conversation or a social media platform.
Maybe we can try to be a human who is empathetic, believer of inclusion and a patient listener. Maybe we try to look at the other perspective and put our viewpoint in a gentle voice.
After covid we are exhausted. Our tolerance level is almost negligible. That’s a red flag.
We have to put an extra effort to work on ourselves.
We need to step back, introspect our actions and follow the Dutch proverb that was recorded in 1622 in the Ancient Law Merchant – leuen ende laeten leuven – Live and let others live.
About A New You:
We all deserve to have everything in our life exactly the way we want it.The first step begins with believing that every moment is bringing an opportunity to be a new you. As a founder, I provide tools to elevate all dimensions of your life and I teach you the art of writing to reach to your true potential.
Vandana Sehgal | Founder – A New You