Has this affliction ever affected you?
It starts almost unnoticed. Someone asks your opinion, and you give it. Someone else asks for your advice, and you give it.
After a while you find yourself offering your thoughts when someone else is conversing. Sharing your ideas even if the discussion has nothing to do with you or what you’re doing.
Before you know it you’re telling people what to do, how to deal with their problems (and non-problems), and how to think. How they can do better, feel better, how they can free themselves from whatever it is you think they’re suffering from.
It doesn’t take long to turn from innocent helper to know-it-all busy bee.
I think I fall into the latter category more that I should.
I find myself sharing my opinions even when I’m not asked. Advising friends and family members who never really asked for help. They’re letting off steam; I’m opinionating.
Now, having an opinion is fine and dandy. That’s what makes us human. Citizens of the Earth and all. Sharing your opinion is fine and dandy as well. People should know who you are and what you stand for.
Telling someone else how to raise their children or deal with their job or their extended family members is not the way to go. Especially if you’ve never had their kind of job or their kind of kids.
We all try not to do it. But we all do it.
We are all asked to help, advise, listen, and share. And we all want to help, advise, listen, and share.
But we have to realize that our opinion is our opinion. That we are neither right nor wrong but just an opinion. We don’t know what others are going through. We don’t know their secrets, their background stories, their small triumphs and minor setbacks.
All we know is what others want us to know.
We have to be smarter than our old selves. We need to understand when we are being asked for an opinion and when we are being asked to be a sounding board. We have to learn to share without pushing. Give our thoughts without proselytizing. Offer our support without trying to change lives.
We cannot change someone else’s life — we can only support them when they decide to change it themselves.
We can all use someone else’s thoughts, point of view, love and support. But in the end we don’t want someone else to tell us what to do.
Especially if that somebody else is a know-it-all busy bee.