No One Likes to Feel Judged
That’s why one of the two rules of helping I share in An Amateur’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness is don’t help unless asked. Unsolicited help – or advice – usually feels like judgment.
Judgment – or even the perception of judgment – is bad for our relationships.
I felt judged by a friend recently.
She jumped in with unsolicited advice when I was talking about how I was feeling, and I immediately felt defensive. I wanted to push back and tell her I was just fine, thank you very much (even though I’d just been explaining that I was not exactly fine.)
I thought she was smug and self righteous and a know it all.
And this is my friend!
But then I remembered why I was feeling so judged:
Unsolicited help feels like judgment.
Her methods were misguided, but her intent was rooted in wanting to help. She was trying to love me.
This revelation made me slightly less annoyed and gave me the perspective I needed to step back and let go.
Are you being judged – or loved?
Is it possible that the people in your life who tend to hit your “stop trying to fix me!” button are acting out of love?
Would remembering that make it easier for you to pause and act intentionally rather than react?
You could respond with patience, compassion, and confidence instead of reacting with defensiveness, anger, or resentment.
An intent to help doesn’t make unsolicited advice any less intrusive. It doesn’t make them any less wrong or you any less entitled to feeling hurt.
But relationships aren’t about who is right, wrong, or entitled. They are about connection vs. disconnection.
Unsolicited help hurts because it creates disconnection. Empathizing with the intent, recognizing when a desire to help is rooted in love, can reconnect – if you let it.