Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ripping off the blinders

I (re)learned two important lessons in the past few days: 1) perception is reality and boy, can it differ widely; and 2) don’t give advice unless it’s asked for (and proceed with caution when it is).

I’ve had several uncomfortable discussions (read: arguments) with my mom over the past year regarding money and planning. This past weekend brought about a doozy and while debriefing with my best friend, a realization slammed into me – what I viewed as helpful advice was being seen as judgmental critique. From my perspective, I saw my mom in a tight spot and wanted to help. From her corner, she was dealing with a rough situation and being judged by her daughter at the same time. I’d never considered that my advice might be unwelcome or that this role reversal might be painful. I simply saw a problem and a need for a solution so I stepped up to provide just that. But I didn’t set myself up to see it from her shoes so she didn’t consider the “solutions” as being feasible for her. I’m not sure I’d like that either.

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