I see this happen far too often. I grew up with it in my house where you had a million people telling you what to do before you knew you needed to hear this. I still remember learning to drive and between my mom, dad and older brother, I generally had three people all screaming at one time where to park, where to turn, or what to do next. Talk about a chorus of crazy talk!
Sometimes people just want to share with you what they are struggling with in their mind. I know I do this. It is part of how I think through things and if I can verbalize it, then my mind is more able to clearly focus on what is happening. I generally talk as a way of seeing options and working through the questions that arise.
Unfortunately, far too many people take this as my inability to figure out what I need to do. Not all that I know do this, but there are several that will readily do this. It really begins to irritate me because most of the time, very few have all the facts and knowledge that I do on a particular matter. They haven't walked a mile in my shoes.
It isn't just me though that I see this play out. I see it in all kinds of people, especially on social media and the internet. If you say you have a sniffle, people are pretty quick to tell you what you should take to get rid of that. After all, everyone is a doctor on social media. If you share a thought online, most of the time no one really reads the whole things, but they are commenting quickly and telling you what you should do, how you should do it and when you should do it.
If you look at the news and politics, there are many that will tell you quickly just what you should be doing with your life, how you should be living and that if you think anything but the way they think, you are wrong. They will tell you how you need get your life in order and that they have the answers for everything you must follow.
Take a look at churches, okay some churches but maybe not all churches. Some of these people will be quick to tell you how much you have sinned or fallen away from Jesus. Some will tell you that if you don't do what they say, your life will be nothing but problems and unanswered questions. They are so quick to tell everyone what to do, it can make your head spin.
Instead of telling everyone what to do, we really need to learn how to listen. When you listen, it means that you're not talking and telling them what to do. It means you are listening. It means the ears are more engaged then the mouth. It means, you're honoring and respecting the other person by giving your attention to them.
The need to tell everyone what to do comes from the ego. It is often hidden from the individual because the ego is crafty and sneaky. It does not want you to see what you are actually doing. Only by becoming conscious and aware can you see what it is that you do.
We don't help the world and everyone around us by telling everyone what to do. We don't help impact the world in positive ways by making sure that others know what we think, rather than just listening to them. The art of listening is so underused, but the art of telling others what to do is so over-rated. May we learn to listen more and refrain from telling everyone what to do.
Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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