On Giving and Receiving Advice in Difficult Situations

When we are faced with difficult situations where we are simply unable to make a decision on our own, we turn to those who know us best for advice, whether it be a friend or family member. Even then, when we receive advice, we often still can’t arrive at a concrete solution. Why is this? Why do we turn to the advice of others when we don’t even take it into consideration a majority of the time. We often completely dismiss it or argue with them from every angle. It’s difficult to see things from an outside perspective when you’re in the situation yourself. Of course, it’s easier to give advice than to receive it. When you’re the one giving advice, the answer almost always seems clear.

Say for example, a friend turns to you immediately after getting into a fight with his or her significant other. From an outside perspective, you can easily dissect the argument. You point out the errors in communication (or lack thereof), tell them that they should/should not have said something, or advise them to react differently for future circumstances. As you are giving them with this advice, I can assure you that their immediate reaction is: They are 100% disagreeing with you in silence. That little person inside their brain is sitting there with arms crossed, and shaking their head left to right.

If you’re the person receiving this advice, you’re thoughts begin to populate and you silently respond in various ways:

“But she doesn’t even understand what happened”

“She doesn’t even know him”

“She’s not the one in the relationship”

Your defensive barriers begin to climb higher and higher and eventually, you completely tune out from everything they are saying.

Then, do we even bother asking? We ask because we care about the opinions of those that matter to us. We ask because deep down, we know that they can see things much clearer than we ever could when we’re in the heat of the moment. We ask because we often know the answer, but hope to hear something different. We ask because, even though we don’t want to admit it, they are usually right.

I’m a big fan of Elite Daily and I quite often read articles on topics such as relationships and dating immediately after I get into a fight with my boyfriend. And immediately after reading them, I get even more frustrated and angry on the opinions of these internet strangers. I often respond in one of the various ways that I provided above. But the thing about giving and receiving advice is this- It is always coming from an outside perspective. No matter what, at the end of the day, no one can know the inner workings of any difficult situation whether it be your best friend, your sister, or your husband. They can only tell you things from their point of view.

So, all you can really  do is to try to put yourself in that outside perspective and ask yourself, “What would I do if I was watching this happen live?”

Again, this is always easier said than done, but if all of us tried removing ourselves from the situation, then there would be a significant drop in errors in communication. Sometimes, we just have to take a step back and remove ourselves from the situation and see it for what it is. Often times, we are too emotionally invested to see things clearly. To remove the fog from the glass, try a different window. Hopefully then, a solution will come.

What’s it Worth

The other night, I had a dinner  with a friend whom I’ve know for well over ten years. We talked a great deal about how far we’ve come since we were younger. We talked about how much change has happened since the last time we saw each other. There’s something special about re-connecting with a friend who has been around for a majority of your life. They know you before you became the person you are today. They’ve seen you evolve, struggle, and overcome obstacles through a long period of time. At the end of the day, those are the people that you really need in your life – The ones who will stay with you even when you are at your worst.

We both grew up in the same town and went to the same schools. Now, we both work in a similar job field in New York City. We related on our current lifestyles and the choices that we’ve made since we graduated college. We related on the fact that the life we lead seems so much more difficult than those who are still back home. Everything about New York City is just more difficult.

After several hours of catching up, I finally arrived at the question, “Why did we ask for this?”

She replied, “Because we want more. We’re always hungry.”

I don’t regret the decisions that I’ve made since I graduated college. Frankly, I don’t regret any of the decisions that I’ve made in my life because they’ve lead me to where I am now (although I may not know exactly where that is)

Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am notorious for jumping into things prematurely. I just get too excited like a puppy asking for food. I haven’t quite been fully trained on how to wait. I have never had the patience. However, I am a very committed person. The problem with this is that once I’ve committed to something, it’s very rare that I back out. I will stick around to make it work even though the timing was never right in the first place.

I’ve always wondered why things were so hard for me in the beginning of any endeavor. I have the “Why wait?” mentality, but this mentality doesn’t apply in all cases. And I never learn. I re-encounter familiar situations time and time again, anxiously waiting for the day that things will work out from the get-go. But I’m doing everything backwards – Expecting great results without setting aside the time and preparation that’s needed beforehand. I must be a fan of self-destruction because many of my difficult situations that I’m placed in can be easily avoided if I had just been patient.

I know that I’m not the kind of person to settle for a life that is just easier, but it always makes me wonder if it’s all worth it.

It’s just good to know that at the end of the day, there are people in my life that can tell me it’s all worth it.

Think.

I’m sure that most of you have heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”

Well, most of the time, we do. Actually, it could be safe to say that some of us always do. It’s human nature though. Sometimes, we just can’t help it.

For example, you fall in love with an apartment that you end up buying, but later find out that it has plumbing issues, the floorboards are crooked, and the bathroom has mold. You probably should have looked into this before signing the paperwork, but you were so blinded by your obsession with the great location, the floor plan layout, and the fact that the building has an elevator with a doorman. It’s hard to think about the negatives when all you see are the positives.

Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to be pessimistic, but I’m starting to think that maybe we should be a little more careful with the decisions that we make in our lives as we get older.

It’s much easier when you were a kid. You had the freedom to make silly decisions because silly decisions were all you had. The consequences weren’t as dire because your parents were usually the ruling hand (aside from teachers) The worst thing that could happen to you is your parents take away your toys and you’re left to sulk in silence. How terrible, right?

As we get older, the consequences that we receive come from all types of outside factors that could change the course of our lives forever.

I recently read a Medium article that my sister shared with me called, “I have 46 Thanksgiving dinners left with my family. After that, I’ll be Dead” It really dawned on me about how little time we have left on this earth. It suggested that we really start appreciating the people in our lives and the time we spend with our family, to stop worrying about the bullshit, and to be present in the memories that we are making.

As we get older, the more important decisions could come down to, “Should I switch job industries?” or “Should I fly out to spend Thanksgiving with my family or just stay here with my friends?”

These are the decisions that could change our lives forever. But I warn you, take a few minutes to step back and really think about what you’re doing because some decisions can’t be made undone.

What if the reason you were changing job industries was because there was another realm of business that “seemed” like it was doing better. Or what if you chose to spend your Thanksgiving with your friends because it would have been too much of a hassle to go home during a holiday?

At the moment, it seems like a minuscule decision, but these are the decisions that could breed the largest consequences.

What if you did change job industries and that business tanked? What if you missed Thanksgiving with your family and that was the last time you could have seen one of your relatives because he or she passed a few weeks later?

Sometimes, certain choices seem more appealing at the time, but as you get older, you can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t make split second decisions the way that you used to because you don’t have the same time as you did when you were 17. You never know what could happen. Some people come into your life and you want to put all of your cards down on the table for them, but in the end, you wind up alone because they never wanted the same things that you did. You have to look at the signs. You have to read through all the pages. You have to make the decisions that will be better for you in the long run.

I’m not discouraging anyone from taking risks or fulfilling their dreams. That’s not what I’m writing about at all. I’m just encouraging you to think.

It’s true that we become more afraid as we grow older. When we were kids, we would run as fast as we could without the fear of falling or getting hurt. Now, we’re so much more cautious with our hearts. But we must protect our hearts as we get older. That’s why we need to make more conscious decisions with the less and less time we have left on this earth.

Fight or Flight

Lately, I’ve been really questioning my effectiveness in dealing with my problems.

I’ve been continuing to do a great deal of self-evaluation ever since I’ve been back from my trip to Australia and I’m realizing that I’m, slowly but surely, returning to my normal state of reaction (in the form of panic) towards certain situations – specifically stressful situations

My prime method of problem-solving has typically been to remove myself from the harmful situation.

Easy enough, right? It’s a common solution that almost everyone uses.

If you’ve ever heard of the term “Fight or Flight”, then you’d know that we, as humans, share this common response mechanism with all other animal species.

In a perceived “dangerous” situation, we must protect our own safety and either stay and tough it out or leave and avoid the bumps and bruises.

I agree with the saying, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger?” but how much do we risk at the cost of causing ourselves pain and heartache?

I don’t want to call myself a wimp, but I’ve been leaning more towards the option of flight when it comes to my more recent problems.

I’ve dealt with a significant amount of obstacles this year which made me question my abilities to tolerate stressful situations.

I had to fly 20 hours from my home just to get away from the things that were causing me stress. Yes, it was a much-needed and uplifting trip, but to my disappointment, it’s now over and I’m right back to where I started and have to deal with the same exact problems that I left behind.

How do you decide what is worth fighting for or fleeing from? For example, do you fight for the one you love or do you let them go? Do you continue to work at a job that pays well, but you’re not passionate about?

Where is the threshold in which we need to remove ourselves from a given situation? How do we choose?

I suppose that’s up to the individual. After all, the decisions we make shape who we are.

“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.” – If I stay

Shedding Dead Weight

This morning for breakfast, I had a large, soothing cup of green tea, whole wheat toast with Nutella, and a bowl of plain oatmeal with an added teaspoon of honey. This all came with a small side of cynicism.

I had one of those weekends where you make poor decisions because you’re just in the mood to have fun. Unfortunately for me, I am always left with a handful of regret when looking back in hindsight bias.

What I am referring to is alcohol and lack of sleep. This combination of things really take a toll on your body, especially when you are training for a marathon (and half-marathon)

In reference to my “Saying Goodbye to Alcohol” post, I always end up feeling a strong sense of guilt immediately after drinking (I really hope everyone on WordPress, or anyone publicly reading this, doesn’t think I’m a raging alcoholic- I’m absolutely not) I think subconsciously, I’m trying to get my last few drinks and weekends of fun out of the way before April 1st hits. (I wasn’t kidding when I said that I’m swearing off alcohol starting April 1st)

On Friday night, I went out for what was supposed to be a “chill night”. I’d really call it “an embarrassment towards my lack of tolerance for vodka shots, beer, and mixed alcoholic beverages. To highlight certain events of the night: I had my face planted to a table from the hours of 12AM through 3AM, I found a shot glass stuffed in my purse, I proposed to my friend from college, and ended the night eating meatball sandwiches at 4AM. This may sound awesome, but it most certainly was not any sort of awesome when I woke up the following morning. It must have slipped my mind that I always do my long runs on Saturday mornings.

Alas, I did do a semi-long run. It was definitely no where near the amount of mileage that I was anticipating to run this weekend. An hour and a half and less then 10 miles later, the nausea started to kick in which is quite shocking for how fast I ran.

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I had some slight relief of guilt knowing that I was motivated enough to even peel myself out of bed.

After my long run on Saturday afternoon, I met with a friend for burgers/frolicking around Union Square for several hours. By 9:30PM, I felt my body slowly breaking down and switching into off-mode. Once I arrived back to my apartment Uptown, I was ready to call it a night until I received a text from a high school friend telling me that he was in the city. Immediately, I felt obligated to meet up with him- It’s always such a rare occasion when my friends come to visit the city.

I restarted myself from sleep mode and forced myself to meet at him and our other friends at a bar on the West Side. I arrived to the bar around 12AM. After 45 minutes of waiting for them to get there, I was in an awful mood. I had a long headache-of-a-night prior, a long day with a semi-long run and hours of walking around Union Square, and somehow had what was left of my energy to make an effort to meet up with them. Once they arrived, all I wanted to do was throw my anger in their face, and that’s exactly what I did. I gulped down my last sip of the beer that I didn’t even want, released my anger, got in a cab and left.

When I woke up this morning and thought about the money that I wasted on two cab rides and a beer that I didn’t want, all of my rage came back burning inside the pit of my stomach. Naturally, I went to the gym to relieve my stress.

You would think that going to the gym would just make all of your rage magically disappear, but instead, I just got progressively angrier as I was frantically hurling myself back and forth on the elliptical. Ironically, I ended up having one of the best workouts in a very long time. Afterwards, my rage finally left me and I experienced a sense of euphoria.

What I meant when I titled this post, “Shedding Dead Weight”, was that I am going to stop trying to please all of my friends and accommodate for everyone by going out drinking. I should have picked an earlier date for my “no drinking” policy. Alas, the epiphany that I experienced was that I realized that I need to get serious about my life, my routine, my marathon training, my money, and my real friends.

So I end this post with this lovely e-card:

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The time for play is over. I need to hit my 20-mile long run soon.

Factors

As suspected, I’m doing quite a horrendous job at keeping up with my goal of writing a blog entry every day. I was a bit over-ambitious when I conjured that up, but my intentions were there. It’s safe to say, it’s quite easy to veer off track when there’s so much to do and so little time. I clearly need to prioritize my time better when it comes to writing. That being said, I’d like to ask the question, “Can you do it all?”

Time management has always been a skill that I’ve been slowly, but surely improving on from high school up until present day. I like to put a lot on my plate, to the point where things are about to spill off the edges. Fortunately though, I always find a way to contain everything from overflowing.

In high school, sports defined me. I defined myself through my accomplishments in how far I’ve come after hours of hard work and practice. Naturally, running was a perfect way to define myself in that aspect. With running, you reap what you sow- or in simpler terms, you get out of it what you put in. This, of course, can apply to an endless amount of scenarios and situations. It’s a motto for life. But let’s get back to running.

I’d say that I’m a talented athlete. I’m good, definitely not spectacular and definitely not graced with the X-factor to become an Olympic athlete. But I’ve come about as close to “spectacular” in my own definitions of myself due to the dedication that I’ve given to the sport. After high school, the dedication fizzled out because I wanted to experience college on my own time, by my own rules. I couldn’t stay away though.

I continued to sign up for various 5Ks throughout college- about one per season just to make myself feel better and to keep the spark alive. However, I wasn’t fully committed. As stated before, time management became an essential skill for me. Between juggling academics, a social life, fitness, mental health, etc., running wasn’t at the top of my list. But I couldn’t stay away.

I yearned for the thrill of competing and I missed the feeling of training for a race.

You really have to sacrifice your body, your mind, your time, your energy, your life when it comes to seriously training for a race. Even the slightest factors can make the difference in shaving off minutes.

When I first signed up for the Big Sur International Marathon, I was just excited to say that I was even running it. I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t care about time or if I skipped a run here and there. But as time is getting closer and I’m getting deeper into training, I’m beginning to realize how much this race actually means to me.

Factors play a significant role in running and in life. The decisions that we make day to day create a path for how the rest or our day, week, month, year, and so on turns out. You can choose to go out for a run, you can choose to eat something that you know is bad for you, you can choose to hate instead of love. Whatever your decision may be in life, think about how it will make you feel afterwards.

In closing, I found a random quote which I thought applied to this random collection of thoughts that I’m publishing here. Here it is:

“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us”