Dear cynical advice-giver,
When a person is on the brink of a major life change, please encourage them.
Common life changes can include:
- New Job (or leaving a job)
- Chasing a lifelong dream/calling
- Buying a house
- Buying a car
- Loss of a loved one
I have recently moved into a few of these life changes myself & have gotten a personal, up-close look of the poor encouragement and advice-giving.
As I pursued a career in writing, changed my focus of learning to scripture, got married, and found out I was pregnant, I was shocked by how much negativity I encountered.
While these same people celebrated the joyous news with me (particularly the marriage & pregnancy life event), they also left a sour taste of cynicism.
“Oh, you’re THAT type of woman…” (in reference to me being a SAHW/SAHM)
“Yeah, it’s cute you’re all lovey-dovey now…but just wait 5 years.”
“I doubt that job will last.”
“Writing isn’t a REAL job. You should go out and find a real one.”
“Enjoy it while you can…pretty soon you’ll be fighting over kids and money.”
“You should have waited another few years before having a baby.”
“You won’t be able to make it without an epidural, you are such a wimp.”
“Say good-bye to your quiet home & alone time!”
“I cannot WAIT to see how you deal with a diaper blow-out!”
“Kids are so time-consuming, energy-draining, and your bank account will be empty.”
While these jokes seem lighthearted on the outside, the negativity can build up to a bothersome amount – so I think we need to re-evaluate the message we are sending when speaking these things.
For the most part, I know most of these things are said with good intentions…and of course, there is some truth to their statements. But these messages are very powerful, especially during a life-changing event.
I don’t know if these little advice tidbits are a way for people to share how our future might look, if they are shared from personal bad experiences or fears, or because it’s a “rite of passage”…but it can get really discouraging (plus if we ever do need help, it’s harder to come to a person who previously gave out negative praise…as if we need to hear an “I told you so.”).
I ask that instead of giving out lighthearted warnings, you give out praise & encouragement:
“Congratulations on this amazing blessing! What an exciting time for you, be sure to soak it all up! Know that if things get tough or stressful, know I’m here to give you comfort, advice, and encouragement.“
Let’s stop planting fear & doubt and rejoice with them in love & encouragement.