Photo Credit: Frame Harirak,

Ah, unwanted advice. It’s a staple of living–assuming you don’t live on a desert island. We’re all connected to well-meaning others with thoughts, feelings, and opinions about what we should or shouldn’t do. Sincere loved ones and friends who just totally get it wrong. Yikes.

Maybe any given bit of feedback or expression of concern’s kindly and constructively shared. Yet you know it’s off the mark. You know the guidance-giver isn’t hip to something essential about you. About your path, whether momentary, this season, or over the long haul.

Been there? Then take this in:

The disconnect is just part of living.

Unwanted advice isn’t about you somehow. Except when it is. More on that in a minute . . .

Meanwhile, these experiences are just part of the human journey. No doubt we’ve also been on the other side of it. Consider this whenever you’re giving advice: it may be “out of the goodness of your heart,” but remember how it feels to be on the receiving end of an equation in which two plus two may not equal . . . you.

For one thing, did the person ask for your perspective? If not, you can predict the outcome of that particular outlay of energy. And even if somebody did seek your opinion, your response may end up disappointing you if you expect a particular outcome from it.

Truthfully, though, these experiences are often useful, despite whatever understandable tension comes with them. After all, we can get increasingly crystal clear on whole new levels about how we feel, where we stand, what we believe, and what we need in the face of the thoughts and opinions of others.

The bottom line: this is about power. Your power.

In fact, there’s tremendous power in being authentically yourself in those moments and relationships. Really owning and honoring your hopes and dreams, strengths and weaknesses, values, choices–and, yes–responsibilities. Including responsibilities to self.

Further, these experiences of fielding unwanted advice, when who we really are bumps up against the views and values of others, are golden opportunities for being and sharing ourselves. Deeply. Really. And the beautiful truth’s that anybody working to be their authentic best is also modeling that in ways that help move us all forward.

These conversations don’t always go well.

Just like Olympic athletes can’t get to gold without consistent, committed work, heart-centered dialogue from a place of individuality is a challenging part of the game of life. All the better when these conversations are with people we really care for and who really care for us.

Think opportunity.

So, just like those Olympians do day after committed day, think life-changing opportunity. To deepen a relationship and hone new skills in honest self-expression. To truly experience individual freedom and meaningful connection. These moments can be good–or great! They may be work, but it’s work worth doing.

And earlier I noted that sometimes experiences of unwanted advice are about you. Let’s go there.

Sometimes life brings us messages we need to hear.

We may see a temporary or habitual blind spot in our approach through someone’s advice, even if it doesn’t quite meet the mark–or see something in a new way. Maybe an interpretation of events or circumstances that’s holding us back. An assumption that’s limiting the options we’re considering.

Notice these experiences. Be genuinely curious about them. In fact–best case–take time to reflect before responding or acting. Proceed with that genuine curiosity about potential gold in the experience, and even circle back for more conversation if it might be helpful. There’s power in that quality of conscious connection and attention, too.

And in bringing your best to important relationships, your curiosity about others will help you connect beautifully with them in your honest expressions of “this is who I really am.” Ultimately, even with unwanted advice in your life, rock your very own stripes. Enjoy the wild, wonderful journey, and reach out for the expert support you deserve.


Photo Credit: Frame Harirak,