The Art of Handling Unsolicited Advice
Have you ever had someone offer unsolicited advice on how to overcome an incurable illness like narcolepsy? If we just ate better or used a supplement, then we could be healed. People who have no idea what our illness is but seem to know how to fix it.
This used to trigger me until I remembered a really valuable lesson from a decade before.
A parenting tip from an unlikely source
In 2006, my eldest daughter was 2, and a feisty one. Everyone who lived around us at that time remembers my daughter’s EPIC temper tantrums. I mean, the girl was so dramatic she would stick her hand in her mouth to make herself throw up. This went on for months. I tried everything to get her to stop.
One night, I was sharing my frustrations with my friends, and a friend who was single and had no kids gave me one of the best parenting tips of my life. I remember taking a moment to decide if I wanted to listen. I chose to listen, and the advice of a single girl changed my daughter’s behavior.
Narcolepsy advice that made a difference
Fast forward to 2017. I was a nonfunctioning narcoleptic, and I was tired of everyone who told me their thoughts on what I should do to get better. I started to get angry at people until I remembered my daughter’s temper tantrums and getting great advice from an unlikely source. I committed to remaining open-minded to what others were saying. Sure, a lot of advice I ignored, but the gems I took were so helpful.
One day, I got a recommendation from a friend who had almost no knowledge of narcolepsy. She recommended I do a treatment called neurotherapy. I could have ignored her because of her total lack of knowledge. However, I decided to listen to her recommendation because I trusted her, and I am so glad I did.
I ended up doing many sessions of neurotherapy. To this date, I have never had anything show me as many results in reducing symptoms as I got from neurotherapy. All because I chose to listen to a friend who had no idea what she was talking about when it came to narcolepsy.
My go-to responses for unsolicited advice
I still get unsolicited advice from people and still listen in case I hear a gem. I also remind myself that people usually are giving advice because they CARE. Caring friends are worth their weight in gold.
It also helps me to have a few phrases in my head that I can say back when I get unsolicited advice. This allows me to process any frustration quickly and without my friend knowing. Some of my phrases are:
- “Thank you for caring enough to look into my illness.”
- “I will look into this later, thanks.”
- “Thank you!” - short and sweet gets the job done nicely.
How do you handle the unsolicited advice of others? Do you ever listen? Do you get frustrated or angry? Do you remind yourself how much your friends and family care?
Do you have a service animal?