November 2017
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struggles with lack of direction, desire / giving advice vs. sharing experiences


Last week I was having the worst time with my schedule, trying desperately to flip it around so that I could get more light and get back to my routine. I finally managed it a few days ago but those few days have been very strange. Even though I am up early enough to get plenty finished before my partner gets home, I haven't been able to motivate to do anything. I wake up and do nothing for hours. Even though I don't have anything that I have to do, I generally keep very busy with reading and writing and various creative endeavors, but lately? I just waste time and feel miserable, until my partner comes home on lunch. After that my mood seems to change and I'm able to do things like update my etsy (which is a big project -- taking photos, editing, writing descriptions, updating) but still, communication seems impossible. Last night I finally was able to make a post -- even though it didn't actually express anything, it seemed to help. Today I woke up and started my exercise & reading again. And now I'm writing.

but now I seem stuck again. agh! It really adds to my frustration that my car is not working because I get cabin fever something fierce when I can't go anywhere. and I feel like something is happening, something really strange and frustrating. I don't know what's going on. I do know there is nothing I can do about it so I'm just bearing it the best I can.

another chrysalis, perhaps? That's what it feels like, it feels like being trapped, unable to move.

---

I also realized that part of the reason I have a hard time expressing pain/unhappiness of any kind is that people immediately start giving advice in command phrasing. I find that disrespectful and unhelpful. When a moth is struggling to get out of a chrysalis and you cut it open for them they will always be crippled, because going through that struggle is necessary to make their wings healthy. I feel that people do this to me when they offer me advice which I did not ask for, and I find it very upsetting. ((note: this is not directed at any one person, it's a general trend))

Saying "Do this..." (including when prefaced with "you need to" or "you should") is a command, even if it is not the intention of the speaker. Say someone complains of a headache and I say "take this painkiller, it'll help" -- that is a command. However, if I say, "your headache sounds like one that I had, and I took this painkiller and it helped me a lot" -- then I am sharing my own experience without assuming that it is the best course of action for the person I am talking to. I am leaving them room to decide if what worked for me will also work for them. I'm also leaving room for the possibility that they have considered or are already doing that, or the possibility that I have misunderstood and their experience is not similar to mine after all. And I'm not assuming that they need to change their behavior. (AND if I have never had a similar headache then I am automatically stopped from giving advice which I would not be qualified to give)

When people say "you are this way" that might be a little presumptive but I don't mind it (in fact in some cases I like it). It is only when people use commands in their phrasing that it becomes unhelpful and upsetting. Even then, I try to be aware that they do not actually MEAN it as a command, and so I generally ignore it unless it is a habit in their communication with me. The irony is, most people generally only do it when I'm feeling terrible already -- and they're trying to help but they're just making me feel worse. I don't think anyone consciously chooses to command someone when they give advice, but for some reason it is considered selfish to talk about one's own experiences when faced with another person's pain. I disagree with that idea. It is not selfish to acknowledge that our starting point for every idea is ourselves -- it's honest. I don't want to know what you think is best-for-all-people -- I want to know what has worked best for you.

I love learning of experiences that people have had. I love when people share their thoughts and opinions. But when you phrase your ideas as commands, I find it very difficult to see your kind intention. So when I'm feeling bad and you want to help, please do not use command phrasing when you offer me your thoughts.

Also, this is something that I try to live out, so if I slip up and use command phrasing with you, please do call me on it if you are okay with doing so.

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Comments
finding_helena ══╣╠══
According to the personality type theory I have read, this is actually fairly common--some people prefer to communicate by "role-informing", where they offer information and let the other person decide what role they want to play in the interaction, and other people prefer to communicate by "role-directing", where they direct the other person what to do and in so doing assign the roles each is going to play in the interaction. Sounds to me like your preference is for role-informing. I'll try to remember that. I myself am very much a directing type, and I don't mind either when other people direct me. But I know I don't actually know the right answer for anyone, I just have suggestions, so I always try to phrase them along the lines of "You might try xxx because of yyy". The strongest I will get as far as "you should" is "you should consider", to allow for the possibility that they already considered it. I wouldn't want to tell somebody they should try something, in case they already tried it or are aware of it and aren't interested, or whatever.

With regards to the cabin fever thing, I can definitely identify. When that happens to me, I usually end up starting new knitting projects. Which then frustrate me later, so it's not really a great long-term solution. Hope you feel better soon.
adamantplatypus ══╣╠══
I try to phrase my help as "Perhaps consider..." so that the idea is out there, but it's not like "OH MY GOD TOTALLY DO THIS".

:D
mermaiden ══╣* Pagan: Light╠══
Oh, honey, I'm sorry you've been going through that. :/ *sending love*

When I feel that way, I take a walk or try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Maybe that might help? *HUGS*
writer_lilies ══╣Chiyo sigh╠══
I'm sorry if I've given advice without you asking for it. It's my nature to try to help people fix problems. Thing is, it pisses me off when my mom does that because sometimes I just want someone to hear what I have to say. So I'm on both sides of the fence.
folkchick3 ══╣╠══
Just a thought
No commands, no advice, no "fix it" answers (even if I had them).... I am just sending positive energies and wishes for you.
You are in my thoughts, and I am sending hope for a renewal of Joy.
Spring is coming - and you are an amazingly beautiful butterfly. I am certain the trees miss your sweet spirit. Perhaps they can offer healing? Trees never say "you should" or "you ought to". Mostly they say "Child welcome home".
moonvoice ══╣ghibli - PM - night-walker╠══
I must admit I do try to avoid presumptive language, usually by prefacing with 'have you thought about doing X' or 'I think doing X could help you,' or 'have you ever thought that you might be doing this because of X,' but I do slip up occasionally. I thought finding_helena's reference to role-directing and role-informing was a really interesting one.

If it's something that makes you uncomfortable, even if you logically recognise what's going on; then no wonder you don't like posting about pain sometimes if you're frightened of that reaction. It sounds awful. *hugs*
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
*hugs and holds you tightly*

I think the sky is still sending you such love, with the sun casting long shadows with the rough arms of the trees, and the earth still hugs you closely, closer and closer, drawing you near to zir bosom.

I believe you are earth's child and sky's child. You are a marvelous being of divinity and wild abandonment of pleasure, joy, beauty, and light and love.

Always holding you with such magic it takes my breath away, even as I gently, oh so gently hold the bubble for you.

You are my heart, dear one, with fringe and bells and a beautiful laugh. You lift my heart, you comfort me, and I do believe we're in a place of great transition.

I'm always here for you, sweet dryad. Always holding you as you twirl and spreading a cloak for you to rest on.
rapidrabbit ══╣me╠══
This is interesting, primarily because it's so different from how most people feel.

My first instinct, when hearing someone talk about a problemt they're having, is to share an experience of mine that was similar, and the insights I gained from it, or how I felt at the time. This has never met with much approval (and earned me a lot of "God, is everything about YOU?!" sentiments) to the point that I'm afraid to empathize with people now. On LJ, if I ever share my experiences in response to someone else's, I usually end up editing my comments down over and over, making sure my references to my own experiences are as short as humanly possible, if not tossing them out altogether, because I'm so afraid of getting reamed out for being selfish, when all I'm really trying to do is expand on the concept of "I understand."

In fact, see that paragraph? WAY longer than I'm normally comfortable with. I'm fighting with myself to keep from chopping it down.

I'm not as offended by advice as you are, I don't think, but it's rare that I take "orders" like that very well. Specifically, I keep getting advice when I say "DEAR GOD DON'T GIVE ME ADVICE, I DON'T WANT ANY," and then I'm left struggling with how to reply to a heap of advice I specifically asked not to get. (I don't want to bite the head off of someone who was just trying to be helpful, but seriously...why did they have to ignore me?) Especially since, now that I'm a parent, I get loads of it. Parents who are "more experienced" (have older kids, have more kids) love to dole out advice to those of us who apparently have no idea what we're doing, and it grates on my nerves. I do not think that quantity of hours devoted to a particular subject (be it parenting, or anything else) necessarily means you're any better at it. I could spend years practicing how to sculpt, and I still wouldn't be as good as someone who just started and has a natural gift. Besides, if our approaches are totally different, and the results we desire from our art don't line up at all - what good is that advice, really?

Hmm. Perhaps I'm getting off-track. But for the sake of you saying you enjoy shared experiences, I'm specifically not editing this comment down. That'll teach you to encourage people like me to open our big mouths. :-P

ANYWAY. There was a point in here, I swear: I'll try to keep this in mind with you, and be willing to share experiences, even if my inner skeptic is telling me to stop being selfish. I don't think I'm normally a "commander" when I give advice, but now I'm a bit worried. I'm honestly not sure, because I generally try to avoid giving advice in any specific sense (which, I guess means I try not to order in the first place?), but rather support, and sometimes suggestions. Though I really can't tell now. I suddenly feel the need to poll everyone I know, to find out if I'm that much of an ass.

Second point: I think it's totally justifiable to hate "commanding" advice. I hate it, too. Even if the advice is really, really good, I think adults all have the right to make their own decisions - even if they're stupid ones.
rapidrabbit ══╣╠══
*I should specify that third paragraph, in that I don't gather that you're actually offended by advice as a whole, but by this commanding type...I think I felt that was implied, but it doesn't seem so much on the reread. I think I just hear those "commands" so often that I've learned to brush them off, lest I lose a very large percentage of the very small list of friends I currently have.

Bah. I'm always expanding on my comments after I make them. Sorry.
rapidrabbit ══╣╠══
*Fourth paragraph.

Dammit. I need comment editing.
nebulosity ══╣space: pink/green orion nebula╠══
I also realized that part of the reason I have a hard time expressing pain/unhappiness of any kind is that people immediately start giving advice in command phrasing.

*hugs* All I can say is that I know exactly what you're talking about. For me, it's to the point that I don't post about certain topics any more. :(

I hope everything works out. <3
shadowlily ══╣╠══
i've found expression is harder in winter, when i'm physically bundled up and there's nothing growing.. going out and taking a walk, or dancing around the room, or anything that gets me back into my body usually helps make connection more natural.

and yeah, i feel you on the not-wanting-directives. it's just frustrating when someone thinks they've got a simple solution for you, when what's going on is way too complicated to have even explained it right.
being heard can be more healing than being directed, i guess.

:hugs:
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I can really relate to what you are saying about advice giving. I find it really hurtful when people give me commands rather than offering comfort and sharing experiences. The latter is so much more helpful for healing than the former.

*hugs* I find that when I have cabin fever, stepping outside and touching a tree or breathing in fresh air helps immensely.

jendaby ══╣╠══
I have this tendency when someone says "you should do this" or "you ought to do that" or "you need whatever" to suddenly be very against doing that thing. Even if it something I already planned to do, I feel like "Oh, now I have been told to do this, and I want to be in control of what I do, so I won't do it!"
I hope that I have never inadvertently told you what to do.

Also, kudos to you for updating your Etsy site! That is very cool - I will have to check out what you'e added! :) *hugs*
suesniffsglue ══╣╠══
I found it refreshing to read your point of view on advice giving. I consider myself to be a good listener, especially because I typically genuinely enjoy the listening process. I try to be very, very careful when I give advice because I find that I end up sharing a lot of myself, and I've realized lately I'm very apologetic when offering suggestions. I almost always start with "Well, when this happened to me," or "Once I was in a similar situation and I found this helped" or blah blah, because like you were saying, our own experience is undoubtedly the basis of anything we have to bring to the table. But I always feel like I have to throw my little "Not to talk about myself--I really want to get back to you, this is just my way of relating" in the mix, because I do not want people to think I'm trying to take the spotlight off of them.

It was just nice to read that someone like you is more receptive to this kind of help; it's something I think about on a daily basis and always feel very unsure about.
phydeau ══╣╠══
I know exactly what you mean. I love advice, but I don't like being ordered to do things when I'm in a GOOD mood, let alone when I'm in terrible shape. I hope I've never done that with you.
darkpool ══╣╠══
Interesting thoughts. I'm to tired to make any intelligent comments right now though.
saturnsdaughter ══╣beyond_demonics - Sasuke╠══
Advice dispensing is something I commonly do, so I'll try to keep this entry in mind if I ever feel compelled to try and give some to you. I can't say for certain how often I might use this command style you mention, although I honestly don't think it happens a lot, but I know I'm not perfect.
delicatexflower ══╣calm; candles. "glowing wicks"╠══

oh sweet sweet bel. *warm hugs to you* i am sorry if my advice hasn't helped you. i feel so much for you right now. i seriously wish i could reach over and hug you right now. i lit a candle just now for you and said a big prayer... i hope it finds you soon!
frecklestars ══╣contemplative╠══
Hopefully it will get better and that chrysalis will break. Or rather, you'll kick its butt! :P I have faith that you'll be able to get through this and emerge a more beautiful person than ever.

Also I do hope I've not done that to you, and sincerely apologize if I have given advice in the form of a command.
riverwynne ══╣wolf╠══
I completely agree with you. I cannot stand when people talk only in commands. My housemate does this and it makes is difficult to live with zir. It both frustrates me and makes me angry. When I've tried to tell zir how this makes me feel, ze personally attacks me.

It's gotten to the point, when I hear a command such as "you need to" or "you should" I cringe. I try not to use them with my friends.

I've added you. I hope you don't mind
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.