Q. If one more person tells me how I should live my life I think I am going to scream!!!! People so freely give out advice about how I should do things and they have no idea what has happened in my life. So how do I shut these people up?
A. It is interesting how many people think they know how we should live our lives and they aren’t shy about telling us.
How many people have issues with parents, siblings or other family members to the point of being estranged? When someone finds out about it they may tell you that it is your mother and you should make everything right. So remembering that they may not have a clue about the relationship you have with your mother; you could smile and say nothing. You could say, “Since you really don’t know my story you can’t offer me advice.”
You may be in a troubled marriage and have people telling you to stay because its the right thing to do, its the religious thing to do, your family will be upset if you do. Then there are the people who tell you to leave now, pack your bags and just get out.
Often people tell you what to do because it is in THEIR best interest. After I had my daughter, a friend told me that I should not have an only child and I needed to have another one very soon. (she had 2 boys one year apart). I chose not to take her advice. Years later she told me that she was miserable having 2 children so close together when she really only wanted one. She said she wanted me to be like her………..miserable.
A friend of mine went to law school because her parents told her that would be a good career for her. She wanted to work for a non-profit and help people in a different way. To please her parents she went to law school, worked for one year and now works for a non-profit. She was miserable.
Think of it like this: If you had a blank canvas, an assortment of crayons, colored pencils and paint and the instructions were to draw what makes you happy, what excites you, what you feel passionate about, what would you draw?
How many of you would sit still long enough (without Facebook, Pinterest, smart phone,etc) to seriously think about what you want to draw? You can draw anything you want. It is how YOU define your choices.
Be careful who gets to hear your story and know what you want from them. If you just want to talk maybe share with a really close friend or a therapist.
Bottom line, if you don’t want to hear what they have to say, walk away. It’s your life.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at [email protected]