Advice is seldom welcome. Those who need it most like it least. – Johnson
In his history of the Lemurian civilization, Dr. Stelle tells of Rhu, the greatest archer of that age, trying to help his brother make a more effective bow. But in the competitive spirit of brothers, Grut would rebel. In time, Grut became interested enough to actually ask Rhu about this. And then he followed his directions to the letter! This story highlights an important Lemurian principle about advice and a well-loved saying from those days,
Advice unasked for is much like salt. A little of it goes a long way. – Lithargos
Lemurians believe every adult has a divine right of self-determination, the right to accept help (advice) from others, or not. There’s a delicate balance to be observed, and giving advice when it is neither asked nor wanted can be a serious intrusion into others’ lives.
How do you feel about advice? Do people listen to your efforts to help, and do they seem to benefit from your words of wisdom? Turning this around, do you listen to and benefit from advice others direct your way?
Have you tried to correlate your giving and receiving of advice? If your hackles rise when anyone tries to suggest a tip or show you a better way of doing something, how does this affect your own efforts to advise others? If you think about advice from others as a pain in the neck, does this deter you from giving advice?
On the other hand, if you look for and find the good in the help people offer you, does this make you a wiser and more competent advisor?
Benjamin Franklin wrote:
Those who cannot be counseled, cannot be helped…there is nothing to be done but wait until experience comes forth to teach its lessons. We can give advice, but we cannot give conduct.
So while we have the right to disregard all help from others – the natural tendency of every two-year-old – we find it pretty slow going if we insist on meeting every experience entirely on our own without guidance or assistance. Yet, as the quotation admits, experience is the best teacher. An experienced swimmer can give us all the best pointers, but until we get in the water and try it, there’s a lot we still have to learn for ourselves.
There’s a problem with advice: to the receiver, it’s only information, not experience. It may work for the person who tells us about it, like a health remedy Aunt Sheila swears by but doesn’t do a thing for us. So we have reason to be skeptical about advice, and careful about offering it. We don’t want to seem less intelligent or like we need advice, of course. But don’t you admire people who listen to and value others’ input?
Sometimes our best help is simple, unspoken support. But what if we have a sound, provable bit of information we very much want to offer a struggling friend who seems deserving and could surely benefit from the counsel we could so easily give him? How can we offer this in a way that will be most acceptable and least offensive? Coleridge offers this poetic suggestion we could all benefit from considering:
Advice is like snow; the softer it falls and the longer it dwells, the deeper it sinks into the mind.
Copyright © 2016 Lemurian Fellowship