Have you ever found yourself in the very unenviable position of listening to someone else’s bad advice?
I’m not talking about merely misguided advice. I’m talking … horrible advice … in fact, hideous advice.
You’re not exactly sure how it happened, but of course, it started when you broke your own rule about not sharing too much information with people, friends included. You crossed the line when you said something that reeked of personal confusion and there you have it. The die was cast. What you just said was interpreted as a cry for …
And now, here you are. You are reeling and your head is spinning. That’s because as you were trapped while listening to your friend or loved one’s hideous advice, all you could think was …
“Is THAT how you see me?”
“YOU wouldn’t even do THAT yourself! So why are you suggesting I do THAT?”
I’m sure you can find plenty of examples and quotes of your own to fill out this essay. That’s precisely how common hideous advice can be.
I mean, literally, as you’re hearing out this hideous advice, all you want to do is tell the other person …
“Shut up!” “Please shut up!” “If you don’t shut up right now, I’m going to rip your tongue out of your mouth!”
But of course, you don’t do that because that would make you a very ungrateful and anti-social turd.
I’m thinking about Job right now. Remember Job? Remember when he went through that horrible time when he lost his family, his home, his wealth and he was stricken hideously ill? During that time, his three, arguably well-meaning friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came along and offered up their advice.
While their advice wasn’t all bad, it ultimately didn’t help Job. Sometimes, well-meaning friends can seem more like enemies. That’s why you’ve got to be mindful of who you share the intimate details of your life with.
I call it “hideous advice” because we’ve all been in situations where someone is telling us something that has absolutely no connection to how we see ourselves or who we actually are. They’re speaking to you and they may as well be speaking gibberish. Their advice simply isn’t registering with you.
Okay, now is when you expect me say that perhaps you should open your mind and heart and listen to what they’re saying. However, I’m NOT going to do that because I don’t want YOU to accuse ME of giving you hideous advice.
But here’s the thing …
I’ve been in this situation enough times to know that when people are giving bad or even hideous advice, they’re simply sharing with you whatever it is that THEY know. They’re giving you the best – or worst depending on how you look at it – of their own experience and point of view.
I’m thinking right now about some of the hideous advice I’ve received … some of it just recently. When I heard it, I literally wanted to puke. It was hideous. I didn’t see myself in their advice. What they were saying was not an option for me in any way.
Yet this is where I think grace comes in. It’s easy to get angry and fly off the handle and reject whatever they’re saying to you. However, it takes a little more skill and character to just sit or stand there and listen.
Fortunately, listening doesn’t cost you anything … but perhaps a headache.
Which is better? To get hideous advice from a dear friend or loved one … OR … great advice from an enemy? Surely, the friend didn’t mean to give hideous advice and the enemy didn’t plan to give great advice.
I don’t know.
I just keep reminding myself that each day is really a gift. Getting bad advice doesn’t mean you have to internalize it. You can let it flow through one ear and right out the other ... OR … you can even let it bounce off the receiving ear.
Yes, hideous advice sucks, but here’s something I always do regardless …
Consider the source.