How do I feel when someone gives me unwelcome advice? First of all, it interferes with my “world-view” that I am perfect. You may laugh, but this may be a condition we all face.
Some people were shocked when I told them I can’t see my own faults and I need them to point them out to me (gently, of course). I think they thought they saw their own faults clearly and of course I could see mine. The truth is neither one of us saw our faults clearly and they have behaved in a way that I think they don’t want to hear their faults from me.
When I get unwelcome advice (or criticism) my “world-view” of being perfect is shattered. I am immobilized for a while while I try to reconcile the two opposing “realities.” I used to just dismiss criticism and advice, saying to myself that they are crazy, who are they to talk, and dig up negative memories of them. Then I met Jesus. And he gave me the desire to grow. And Dr. Charles F. Stanley said that God speaks even through those who don’t have your best interest at heart; even through those who hate you.
It took courage to stand and say nothing, listening to someone tell me how wrong I was, and thank them for their comments afterward; like Dr. Stanley said. It took a lot of will power too. My mind was flooded while they spoke; of how wrong they were, how unjust the criticism, and how embarrassed I felt, and how I just wanted a safe place to hide.
But eventually it was over. I thanked them. And I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered “self”-view and wondered what to do with this new information they gave me. Sometimes they are just wrong, it really is their problem, and I can learn about them from it. But by far, most of the time there are nuggets of gold hidden in their comments.
What hurt the most may be where I need to grow the most.
Jesus said through Proverbs in the Bible: the wounds of a friend can be trusted. I think also the wounds of my enemy can be helpful. Though counter-intuitive, if I can welcome the pain-filled information, I may learn things about myself that no one else will tell me.
Disclaimer: When I am at my best I can consider when I am at my worst. I don’t always follow the above advice. But it is my goal.