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I'm a work in progress. My latest undertaking is reminding myself to let "Stand down," be the first words I think about before offering my opinion. I'm a problem solver by nature, so when someone shares a problem or worry with me, inevitably my two-cents worth is on the tip of my tongue, and I feel obliged to share it. But the truth is that unless someone asks, nobody really wants or needs my opinion. Everyone has their own journey in life and who am I to think it's my calling to be one of their supporting actresses? In fact, most of the time, what people really want and need, is for someone to listen to them. This includes my daughter.
My daughter frequently calls for my advice, which I take as a compliment. But the other day, when she called to talk about a problem she was having, she prefaced our conversation saying, "I'm not looking for advice this time Mom, I called because I need my mama to listen." So I did, and by the time my daughter said good-bye, she had worked out a solution on her own.
I'm not the only person who's learning how to stand down. A book club reader sent me this email bravely sharing her personal "assignment" for the New Year...
"Suzanne, I have a bad habit of giving too much advice, too often," she wrote. "I know our parents are a big influence on us, and my dad was always full of advice, no matter the subject. Unfortunately, I do the same, rarely noticing that my advice is usually not sought. Therefore, my assignment [for this year] is to 'shut up.' It won't be easy however, but even if I simply cut down, I'll be pleased with myself."--Suzanne K.
So there you have it, some advice for the New Year from book club reader Suzanne K., and myself--sometimes you should stand down and simply listen. (Whoops, that doesn't count as advice, does it?)
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is TOMORROW IS NOW, by Eleanor Roosevelt. Click the link below to start reading, and be sure to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Penguin tote bag: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqB1AFE3FA4999&c=CLASSICS