I was thinking about an experience I had at the beach in FL a couple years ago in relationship to getting unsolicited advice. People offer perspectives and advice all the time, sometimes we get offended about it. So here's my beach experience. I LOVE the water, particularly the ocean, even when it's cold! I cannot go to the beach and not get in the water. The kids and I were at the beach, it was pretty cold and I had not planned to go in the water that day. I waded in a little and was edging my way a little further out. My intuition was telling me to stay out, but I loved the water so much I kept going. My kids were not close, but were about to follow me in (dad was there too).
Just when I was about to walk out further a woman who had been standing on a higher point that me- outside the water- came up to me and pointed to a shark that was directly across from me and obviously watching me. I was not angry that she pointed out to me the danger that I had not seen, and had ignored intuitively. I was grateful. I quickly moved out of the water and we looked at the shark. The kids and I had studied sharks and knew that it would have taken less than a minute for the shark to get to me and I would not have seen it coming.
Someone else's choices are not necessarily my business and it's none of my business what others think of me. However, what would happen if we never raised opinions or objections? What would have happened if that woman had said to herself,"It's none of my business what she does." and chose to say nothing?
I am the youngest child of nine. I have had a lot of advice given me, most of it unsolicited. It's irritating at times when you're an adult having older siblings give advice and input, but I am so grateful for it! I get to learn from my own mistakes, but I am so grateful for the times I have been blessed to learn from the mistakes of others because they took the time to share some details I had not seen or considered.
Getting others perspectives gives us the opportunity to lead a more examined life, to live with more purpose and consideration. It is not our standard of measurement, but it is a great tool to aid in understanding our lives and our choices. I think of this particularly in child raising. Children get to make their own choices, yet a parent who never gives input and direction disempowers their child. Making choices without information to build on is guesswork, not choice work.
I am grateful for all the objectors in my life that have given me the opportunity to get more information about choices I'm making. I'm grateful for parents who felt it was their duty to raise those objections when they saw them. I still had choices, and I made them educatedly as I was brought to consider details I had not seen from where I stood. I am also grateful for friends who love and support me and give honest feedback, even when it's not in agreement with my current direction.
I am grateful for people who warn me about "sharks" I couldn't see from where I was standing and bring to the forefront of my mind the warnings I'm trying to ignore within myself because the "water" is so inviting. These people are angels in my life! I thank God for sending the objectors to help me get crystal clear on who I am, who I am not, and where I am headed.
~Liz King Bradley