or do we?
Recently I got very convinced I had someone else's answers. It was a sobering moment.
I had to ask myself, how can I know for certain this person should exercise, lose weight, rest, relax, meditate, read or do anything else? How can I possibly know that?
It all seemed so reasonable. I was convinced I was right. Dare I say, righteously so.
Then I stepped back to realize that my good advice has no basis whatsoever - no matter how sensible it sounds.
I had to admit that what I was really saying was "I know better than you. You should relinquish your free will and use mine." That's ludicrous. No, it's more than that, it's actually damaging to the other person.
Even if they manage to diet, relax, lose weight or whatever - what have I actually taught them? I've only demonstrated that they can't trust their own good sense and that their opinion doesn't count for much (not to mention that my opinion of them is low - since I don't consider them capable of making their own decision but rather only capable of following mine). I've also encouraged them to relinquish the one thing worth having: their own power of choice and the ability to experience the consequences of their own actions. Without that, how can you know you are the actually the only one responsible for how your life turns out? (After all, this is where the good news begins!)
How could what I know about your life ever be complete enough to be the basis for sound advice? How do I know that your imminent heart attack won't be the final straw that reunites you with your estranged children? Or finally helps you draw the line in the sand under a life of substance abuse? How do I know what is best for you ever?
I simply can't know. That is the plain, ego-deflating truth.
And so my so-called good advice may well be something you can do without.
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