Seriously, a suggestion is just that and nothing more. It’s just a suggestion. Take it or leave it.
This has been a lifelong lesson for me. In the past, I have taken suggestions as someone telling me what I’m missing, doing wrong, failing at, or some other stab at my ego and fragile sense of “self-worth”. Not everyone is passive aggressive, but when you have been around enough people who are, it can be a challenge to hear anything but that type of attitude. And, if someone gives you a suggestion it’s not like they just gave you a list of job duties. There’s very little expectation. If you take the suggestion, great. If you don’t, that’s fine.
The worst thing you could possibly do is throw a suggestion back in someone’s face. Just because you’ve got other issues you’re dealing with doesn’t mean you need to project it onto someone who is offering help in the best way they know how. It’s a great way to isolate and shut people out of your life. So, if you’re into that sort of thing, disregard everything I’ve just said.
What I Should’ve Learned Sooner…
What I’ve been learning more recently is that, most times, if someone has offered a suggestion to me it’s probably because they either care about me or they believe in the power of teaching others. It’s like when people seek out mentors. You find someone who is successful at what you want to be doing, and you see why they are so good at it. Sometimes, you get lucky enough to have someone just offer up their wisdom from experience, just because they can. It’s honestly a gift, and a lesson in humanity. Most balanced healthy people like to see other people succeed, not fail. They’ve failed at something enough times to know how it feels. They know what doesn’t work for them, and, because they care enough to share, they offer that knowledge to you to save you some time. And, time, as you expend more and more of it by living, becomes the most valuable thing you have.
Sure, sometimes a suggestion won’t fit what you need. But, that’s okay. At least you were given an option. If you try it, even if it doesn’t work, you gained some experience yourself.
Now, if a “suggestion” is a criticism cloaked in passive aggressive bullshit, that’s on the other person to worry about. People only have a couple ways to communicate, none of them are telepathy. If someone can’t use their communication skills, then you don’t have to take on the responsibility of becoming their interpreter. You may want to take on that responsibility, especially if it means you can “correct” their crappy choice of communication, but you do not have to. Ask for clarification, if you don’t get it, move on. You may
Most times these “suggestions” come in the form of unsolicited advice. It’s pretty damn obvious when that “advice” is just a fear-based response by someone who is uncomfortable with you being you. First of all, walk away. It’s honestly not worth your energy to get upset over. If you’re anything like me though, sometimes you can’t walk away. If that’s the case, do your best to keep a level head when you respond. Stupid people and stupid comments are not worth your time. Remember, at some point, time will become the most valuable thing you have.
What Works For Me…
This is what I try to do in my life now when it comes to suggestions. I take the suggestion, try it, and see if it works for me. If it does, great, I just learned something. If it doesn’t, great, I just learned something. But, then again, that’s just a suggestion.