Should We Take Advice From Others?

December 12, 2011 by  
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Photo By Angie Rubin

I love to talk.  I love sharing everything that goes on in my head.  I also often ask others: What do you think?

Every person that I ask that question of gives their best shot when answering.  They think about my issue and using their love and care for me respond with honesty.  This can be a truly satisfying exchange if my objective is by using dialogue, explore different possibilities.  But it can also be damaging if I accept the other person’s point of view as my own without that being the case.

The reason is pretty simple: the way each of us sees the world is a result of our own set of values.  What is important to others may not be important to us or vice-versa.

When a friend or a family member gives their opinion it is based on what would make them satisfied.  Not necessarily on what would make us happy.

Making decisions has to do with taking actions that are in accordance with our personal sense of right and wrong.  Making the “correct” decision means maintaining harmony between who we are and how we behave.  And that only us can know.

If we use dialoguing with others as a way to explore our own choices and possibilities then it is a great experience.  But if we follow what others think because we’re uncertain or because we are afraid of taking responsibility for our unique choice, we may end up finding ourselves in trouble.  We most certainly have a better chance of creating harmony with our actions if they are the result of self-exploration.

So dialogue with others but remember in the end it is only you that you need to satisfy with your actions.

There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself; but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above the common level of my life – Henry David Thoreau


Learning To Age

May 6, 2010 by  
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hosOne of the things I’m always sorry about is how few elder friends or elder family members we have around to share their wisdom and experience with us.

We all avoid age like it is the plague but the truth is; either we get old or we die.  So somehow we need to learn how to age.  But where are the stories about people in their 70s ,80s, 90s on television?  Or in the movies?  Or many of us socialize with older people? And how many of us can go to our parents for advice?

Most of my friends either treat their parents as children or never had or are about to have a meaningful friendship with their parents.

I’m close to my parents.  I also seek out making friends with older people because I want to know how to age.  I don’t want to be caught with my pants down when my time comes.

I know aging means accepting the physical changes that happen to us.  Sometimes it is not an easy process, especially for us women whose physical attributes are so cherished in our society.  So I bargain with life.  I let some of my youthful energy go in exchange for wisdom.  And I ask my older friends and my parents how to they do it.

My mom is always saying things like: “we all walk in the dark”, or “we have to be happy today”.  Hearing those words from a woman who just turned 79 years old carries more weight than from a woman in her 30s or 40s because she says it from experience.  And then she laughs and she’s always ready to do things.

When I spend time with her, I realize there is a way to age that does not give up on life.  It’s a way that recognizes the different phases and knows how to adapt.

As I see my parents walking still holding hands and loving each other after 51 years of marriage, I know love lives on if cared for by people.

I’m not saying I’m looking forward to aging but by talking and spending quality time with older people, I know life can still be great in our 70s, 80s and 90s.