Advice vs. Encouragement

People need encouragement more than they need advice.

I’ve seen this a few times around the last couple of days and it’s not a bad reminder.

I’ll tell you this, the biggest regrets I have in my life (not the biggest mistakes, the biggest regrets-these are quite different) are all from a result of taking someone else’s advice over trusting my gut. Every single one. Because of this I very rarely want advice anymore. Of course, it doesn’t stop people and it comes my way anyway. It’s an occupational hazard when you write the type of crap that I write sometimes.

I’ll also tell you this from experience, when I’ve blessed people with my “wise”, “genius” advice-especially when I wasn’t asked for it-it’s tended to piss people off. Maybe not the first time but gradually and eventually it comes through. Sometimes it being told to piss up a rope, but usually it’s a gradual thing where you realize that they shut you out.

Where does that need to advise come from? Sometimes it comes from an itch to show perceived superiority over another, but for the most part people see another in need and want to help in the way they know how. It gets real fun when it’s perceived one way by the giver and the other way by the receiver. Yes, that “fun” was meant sarcastically.

I heard this a while back and I wish I remember where it came from but it blew my mind when I heard it. When someone drops advice, they are telling you what they would do in the same situation. But here’s the thing, it’s what they would do because of their upbringing, their beliefs and morals, their life experiences, their filters and perceptions, and what the combination of all of those inputs says is the best thing for THEM to do in that situation. I am not them, and therefore I can’t possibly have that same combination working, and neither do you or anyone else. So it may or may not be valid or sound to someone else, because their combined inputs are going to be different.

So, my advice can only be 100% valid for me. Your advice can only be 100% valid for you. Same with that guru on YouTube, your parents, teachers, whoever.

Enough about advice, let’s talk about encouragement.

Encouragement can really help us to feel seen in moments where dammit, we really need to feel seen. It tells us that there is someone there in our corner, on our team, wanting the best for us, rooting for us. When you have encouragement from a bunch of people, it can feel like you have your own army behind you, or your own fans chanting your name as you are walking up to bat. When you have that behind you, how can you not feel like at least a little more like a badass?

Here’s the really cool part, it doesn’t matter if you have any understanding or experience with someone’s situation. It’s just a matter of sharing empathy with a fellow being doing their best with this whole life thing.

“My humanity is here to connect with your humanity and sending it love, support, and good juju.”

Often we need to try, fail, learn, repeat a few times, and then find our way to do the thing. Sometimes advice helps, but just as often it can hinder. Encouragement is a safer bet and a guaranteed winner that can help us to succeed or even help us to get back up.

Thanks for reading, if you’re interested in more writing and content like this I invite you to support me on Ko-Fi and get first looks and exclusives, among other goodies.

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Rich Levesque

Rich Levesque

Writer. Guide. Mentor. Visionary. Voice. Presence. Geeks out over MCU, Star Wars, baseball, and randomness. Question everything except your worth.