These days asking for advice puts you in the spotlight for instant criticism and morphs into fulfilling the needs and wants of the audience instead. Especially if you ask for it via message board. It begins with a simple request asking people if they have encountered an issue similar to yours. A few answers will meander in, some of them may be useful, some not. Then the criticism starts. “Tell me, how did you wind up with this problem?” “How could you let something like this happen?” Then miraculously people begin to defend your honor. A fight breaks out on your message board, now it is no longer about you, but the people who first gave you the sage advice.
How have we become this society? We use the pain of others to raise ourselves up. We brag about our advice, how it is supreme and worthy to be followed. After all, it worked for us. Surely it will work for everyone. We boast our imperfect life and proudly report that we would never allow ourselves to be dragged into a scam, treated poorly by another person, or fall into despair via poor decision making. The truth is there are secrets taking up residence in our mindful file cabinets. If you travel deep into the archives, there is much to be found about the times when life didn’t follow a prescribed beaten path. I have witnessed people being critical of others when they have made the same destructive choices!
What are the steps to lifting people up again, and saying goodbye to our five minutes of fame? Stop trying to walk a mile in their shoes. Your feet will really hurt! It’s not about us, it’s about them. Put away your own insecurities, pain, and loss. Offer a hug either in person or in the message. Icons are fantastic! Send a weepy face, after all the poster is only looking for support however you can give it. Be it a solution to their problem or just letting them know you understand. If you personally know them, send a card or drop some fresh flowers at their doorstep. If its a problem you can fix, offer a solution. We all need to step back and take a breath. Tomorrow it could be us.