Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Lead Balloon.*giving unpopular advice

Hello? It's me. Telling you the truth.
Ever notice how it seems like EVERYONE is into self help? Going to a therapist? Working on some 'stuff'---? it is of course the hobby of the privileged. If you're wondering when the Cholera is going to let up or kill your village, you are not thinking about your passive aggressive tendencies or daddy issues. And yes, I realize that it's because I AM into self help that I think everyone gives a psychological rat's ass. Unfortunately TOO MANY people are not looking inward.

But hey, if you're fighting Cholera you're probably not reading my blog, so I'm going to speak to my audience.

When I say Living Your Best Life, you know who I'm talking about. Oprah, right? She has devoted her career and an entire network to self improvement. So have many others. Myself included. Self Love. Self Care. Self actualization. DIYourself. I learn something I didn't know on a daily. The only thing that keeps me interested in life to be honest is that fact that if I overturn enough rocks I might find something.

The Self. Self sabotage is something you can do all alone, and self storage and self check out.  It's weird when you think about it. We're sort of always tripping between co-dependency or crippling autonomy. I like to look inward and I also like when someone else holds the flashlight. (Enough about me, what do you think about me?)

If you've never consulted a witch, tarot card reader, rabbi, psychiatrist, counselor, astrologist or shaman, then carry on. But a lot of us, we like advice. Or DO we. I'm sure a lot of people wish I'd shut up and post a recipe. I hear ya.

Recently, (or maybe not so recently I've always been very up front)---I've been giving some direct advice. Not just to people on the street, and not about things that people don't seem to be struggling with, but that repetitive mind numbing "Why am I like this?" question that a friend or colleague has been asking for a decade? That one where the answer is Soooo Obvious that you just can't take it any more? Like pulling a nail out of someone's tire that keeps leaking air...there! I fixed it! Now move ON in your life---!

I'm that friend. I will tell YOU. Not our other friend behind your back. But to you. You will not like me very much. Right away. But in a while you'll come around. Trust me.

But maybe you liked the leaking air in your tire. Maybe it gave you something to DO. Maybe you want to fix your own problems or wallow in the drama of always having a flat tire. The predictability is comforting. But you've cast yourself as Victim in this play, it's none of my business.

But I can't. I can't NOT. It just comes rolling from my brain to my mouth and falls out and flops around like a salmon on the sidewalk. I won't apologize or back up. That makes it seem less abrasive but it's just both of us making up bullshit. I'll take the heat. It had to be said. I don't really care if you invite me to your dinner party. And here's why.

We all have that friend (we hope) that will tell it to us straight. Who you can call for clarity, no bullshit advice that you can trust. I am that friend. I am not a yes woman, sure! whatever you want! person. I also try not to be Mary Contrary and Devil's Advocate which I always hate to contend with. Naysayers. Loathsome. I have a couple of those friends...who weave in and out of that directness and I appreciate it. Everyone else is a passive aggressive woo bag. There are passengers and drivers. I get carsick if I ride. Follow me?

But you not telling me how to be the Best Me in This Life is just you being lazy and not giving a hoot. You're just pretending to be polite. But the truth is that you've never really considered it, me or my problem. Aha! And that's why we can't be friends any more. Not like Real Friends. We can be gossip friends, what's on Netflix, who are you shagging friends...but I'm not really that into you.

I say what I truly see and feel with my heart. If I don't care about 90% of the people you run into on a daily, I keep my mouth shut. Not my problem. Well, actually if someone asked me and I'd never seen them before I would still give it some thought and offer my opinion---

Woops, there it is. The problem. OPINION.

Somehow one day someone decided to be a tip toe talker and preface everything with IMO. Or worse, in my Humble opinion. Let's get it straight. Once you start saying your asshole opinion is humble, it's even worse. I think that is a horrible piece of art, Margaret, in my humble opinion.

*It's like a Humble Brag (tm Harris Wittels RIP) ..."My doctor says I'm too thin, but trying to eat as much chocolate as I can on the flight to Paris for the photo shoot and then press conference with Vogue...ugh! No time to EAT #jetlagged..."

Shut up.

And online dialogue and forums have degraded into snivel fests. IMO I think that this politician honk honk...just sayin'. IMHO.

OWN YOUR BUSINESS. Stand up for yourself, your rights, your friends! And yea, we got it. It's your opinion, of course. It doesn't get you a pass for being unpopular and it's not going to fix everything, but asserting yourself should be more rewarded. And rewarding, frankly. It takes a LOT more effort, thought, ruminating and careful contemplation to tell you something that is tricky than to just say, 'have a great day!' and forget all about you and your problems.

I am rarely rewarded, and it's always in the future. I have spent a lifetime of people catching up.  I get a lot of "I just wanted to say that what you said to me changed my XXXXX" and that's rewarding. But there is no instant gratification in speaking your mind. Which is why wishy washy persons do not engage in it. Too Much Work.

But if I really think you are careening towards the edge of the cliff, or that yea, I do think you're an addict, or that relationship is going to suck your soul out of your ear, that business decision will ruin you financially or that you need to maybe not be in my orbit anymore because you're a non reciprocal "friend", I'm gonna say it. No preface. No edit. Grown Up Style because I really don't have time to waste in life at this stage. And neither do you.

I'm also going to offer helpful advice on things, or reasons. I promise not to just dismiss you as a lout, a drunk, a bad finance manager---without taking you by the hand and showing you all the ways you're great, or how you may improve or point out the hole you're about to step in. I'm not sure why it's better to hear from a complete stranger like Oprah but it is. She's famous and amazing I suppose. And you can be anonymous because you're watching that in your living room and she won't know that you never ACTUALLY changed the behavior. I will.