Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!

To Advise or to Receive Advice

26/01/2015 16:14

Could it be that one simple letter can make a humungous difference in connotation, our willingness to listen or feelings of community versus isolation?  What if we exchanged a “s” in the place of a “c?”  The difference in spelling between “advise” and “advice” fits exactly within that question.  My experience with received advice has fallen more often than not into the critical pile whereas received advising has most often resulted in positive movement forward & connection.  When I have wanted to be advised I have most often sought out a valued mentor.  Advice on the other hand often comes at me in the form of the unsolicited kind more often than not along with ignorance or passive aggressive criticism.  Yes, one letter can make a huge difference I have found.  How about you?  Is this your experience as well?

The great thing is that whether we are seeking out someone to advise or mentor us or we are receiving unsolicited advice we are ultimately the ones that get to choose whether to embrace or reject either.  I literally cannot remember a time in my life when I did not have at least one mentor if not several at once.  To me listening to the  gentle giants who have already lived  certain life experiences  & choosing to walk along the tracks they have left makes sense.  Everyone is a beautiful original so this is just my view point.  I am not suggesting that I am trying to duplicate anyone else or do exactly what they are doing or have done.  Rather, I am saying that I choose to seek out mentors to advise me in different aspects of my life at times.  It is up to me to decide whether to go in the direction suggested or not.  I love that I have that choice.  There are times when something that has worked beautifully for someone else has been an epic fail for me.  That’s okay too.  When I seek out an adviser it is someone or many someone(s) that I am confident have my best interests at heart & genuinely care about my family & myself.  I seek out people who are the real deal, humble, truthful, spiritually solid & full of goodness. 

How about advice?  Do you enjoy receiving advice?  If you are like me, the answer may be, “it depends.”  I am admittedly quite repelled by the word advice.  Too many times I have been down the road of receiving unsolicited advice.  An example that comes quickly to mind is health.  I have lost count of the number of times I have received unsolicited advice about a health challenge that I have faced.  Often the advice tends to suggest to me that I just need to take better care of myself in some simple way & then I will have great health.  If only it were that simple for any of us right?  I have tried the simple things & I have tried the complicated in an effort to improve all my chronic illnesses for sure.  The newest & supposedly around the corner cures make it into my email inbox in a myriad of ways.  99% of the time, the cure is a total crock like the okra, cinnamon and other silly nonsense that is suggested will cure diabetes.  I wonder sometimes if the people who are writing about these supposed cures take even themselves seriously.  I consider myself an open minded person yet not naïve & I have a nonsense “gfilter” that is the size of Canada.  As an aside, the term “gfilter” is a new finagled word that I borrow from my husband who is a huge Rush fan.  In one of the Rush videos there is reference to the “gfilter.”  It is just kind of a play on the word filter.  My husband has a filter or “gfilter” the size of the world on a humorous note.  His gfilter is so large that he refuses to enter into small talk or do a lot of nonsensical activities that crop up in situations.  He has the superpower to filter out nonsensical advice in real time which is something that I aspire to doing one day.  It means for him that he is able to let things go right away instead of replaying the nonsensical advice over & over again.  Yes, I definitely would also love to have that ability yet realistically I am not so sure that I will become proficient in having that kind of super gfilter.  Sometimes when I share with my husband that I received a piece of mean spirited unsolicited passive aggressive advice he will literally tell me to put it through the gfilter. 

You know what is cool?  We can advise ourselves too.  We can take ourselves out perhaps for a walk or put the fire on & make ourselves a wee cup of tea & sit ourselves down & sort out our thoughts.  We can remember what has worked & what has not.  We can pull out words of wisdom that we have been told either verbally by someone else or have read.  We can think it all through & advise ourselves on how to move forward. 

Almost daily so far in 2015 I have advised myself to not get impatient & write off this year as a total miss.  Every single day except 2 so far this year have proven to be problematic in a health way.  Lately, I noticed a real transition too with a great number of people near & far that either have the blahs or at least are less cheerful than usual.  Is that perhaps par for the course in January?  We have had some bone numbing cold days out there so perhaps a number of us have a touch of cabin fever or imploding endorphins.  Are you familiar with Stephen Covey’s books?  Over the years I enjoyed most of his books & especially loved participating in a “7 Habits” 3 day workshop.  There is a gentleman who has left behind a legacy of thinking positively & without a box.  There have been so many times in life where I have shaken my head either physically or on the inside when I have found an interchange where the only go to position the other person will entertain is either lose lose or win lose thinking.  I remember it being a huge eye opener for me to learn that compromises through Stephen Covey’s model are lose lose.  It is disappointing to see just how often compromise tends to be the go to position in the world versus win win.  Worse than that though in my mind is the win lose where basically one person gets his or her own way at the expense of the other person.  I do not consider my life to be an experiment in compromise or living on the fence or some middle ground of neutrality that merely exists in an almost make belief fake world.  No thanks.  I am all in.  My health has been a mess.  I will not pretend that it has been otherwise.  Within the mess though I am okay.  I don’t like the mess but I know that I am far beyond my body & health & that is comforting.  There are people in my life that I value in the advising role & I continue to seek them out & I am also quietening my own mind to find different ways to combat the health difficulties that have been challenging me.   One of the things that I have given to myself is more patience to get better.  Instead of admonishing myself for having yet another sick day, I tell myself that I am all in with this fight…the fight against type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, and the other health challenges.  The challenges will not win & I will not lose.  I will not give up.  I will find a way to feel as well as I possibly can.  I will not stand down to the challenges.  I can be tired but I will not give up.  And I just call a spade a spade…like diabetes sucks…yes it does.  Feisty, stubborn, steadfast, determined are not words to live by but rather a daily and even minute by minute action plan.  I have advised myself to embrace these characteristics already within me in an even more magnified way & to appreciate that this is how God made me.  He made me strong enough.  Through grace I am strong enough.  Even when I don’t think I am strong enough somehow, somewhere or from someone, I get a tap on the shoulder when I need it with a shout of “Yes you are!” 

Recently, a dear friend of mine was speaking to my husband & mentioned to him that she could tell that I was not feeling well when she had seen me last.  That was almost a new one for me because what I usually hear from people around me is “I cannot believe that you have diabetes (etc) because you don’t look sick.”  Three out of four of my chronic illnesses are invisible so for sure I usually don’t look sick even on my most challenging days.  I also don’t go around all mopey in the world & dramatic so maybe that helps too.  I will admit that it drives me up the wall when someone who is otherwise healthy goes on & on about a cold.  The bubble captain above my head would say, “oh get a hold of yourself man!”  The thing is though, how could someone else understand another person’s challenge if they have not lived with it too.  I try to be patient realizing that 8 years ago I had no idea what kind of a fight for your life people have with diabetes every minute of every day.  I have chosen to try my best to be patient with people who don’t understand the battle of diabetes as long as the other person is not going out of their way to be mean spirited.  Most people’s hearts are in the right place.  I will not allow diabetes to change who I really am.  Diabetes can beat up my body but my mind & spirit are strong & get stronger every single day.  In getting back to the conversation that my friend had with my husband she shared something with him that stayed with me upon hearing it from my husband.  She shared that it is her belief that people who are pursuing a Holy path are attacked every step of the way by the evil one.  Having had read “The Screwtape Letters” a number of times I realized that I was sure that she was on to something.  My body can get worn down yet I refuse to get spiritually worn down.  That is my choice.  Being aware brings more energy for the fight.  Thank goodness there are so many beautiful & loving forms of strength in the world to embrace.  And there are angels & some of them are disguised as people.  You will know when you meet one.

My heart’s hope for you is that you always have genuine, loving, truthful caring mentors to advise you when you reach out for this.  And on any given day may you feel the arms of love surrounding you.

Smiles,  Saundie :)

This week & every week may you say the words to yourself, "I am strong enough...yes I am."  Yes you are!  Next Monday's story is "Groundhog Day Celebration."  And I am big, big, big time excited about the Monday after that (Mon. Feb. 9th) since I have just finished writing a true story in honour of my Dear Heart Dad.  It is heartwarming how he showed his love in a way that will cause you to smile from ear to ear.  Yes, I am bursting with excitement to share my Dad with you xo.