When you see someone doing something differently from the way you would do it, how do you respond? Do you try to “help” them by offering your advice? What about with your close family? Do you try to correct them when you know of a better way or disagree with their methods?
Oftentimes, we don’t even realize we are doing this because we genuinely care about the people in our lives and want to offer them the wisdom that we’ve learned over the years. Unfortunately, more often than not, that unsolicited advice actually drives a wedge in relationships. I see this all the time between husbands and wives, parents and children, and even close friends. Most people already know the areas they need to work on. They don’t need to have someone point out their shortcomings.
When you set out to “fix” someone, what you’re really saying is “you’re not good enough the way you are, so I am going to fix you.” But that’s not what they need. What people need is to know that they are loved unconditionally. They need to know they are approved and accepted even when they miss the mark on occasion. People want to know that they can count on your love and support no matter what happens. If you find that you are correcting or “teaching” someone in every conversation, you probably need to adjust your approach so that you don’t miss the true riches of the relationship.
The truth is we’ve all been guilty of trying to fix, teach or correct someone else. My own mother used to tell me, “If I could open up your head and pour my knowledge into it, I would.” But she couldn’t, and neither can I for my children or anyone else…and neither can you! Our job on this earth is not to fix everyone but to love and support them and give them the grace to grow.
Today, I encourage you to evaluate how you approach your relationships. Begin by acknowledging the good in the people in your life. Tell them how proud you are of them and how they bring joy to your heart. Use your words to strengthen others and deposit life into them. Give people room to grow because empowering others is what love is all about.