Messages are more effective when they are repeated. That is a simple rule of marketing. Some call it nagging. Some find it annoying. But, we all know that a repeated message is one that sticks. But, how many times do you have to repeat yourself to your significant other, kids, family members, before they actually heed your advice? The answer is….they may NEVER ‘hear’ it when it comes from you. Often times, the sound advice you have to offer is missed because they view it as nagging or they allow their ego to get in the way. That same advice can be mentioned by a friend and suddenly your significant other, kids, family members embody the advice and move forward with it right away.
What is the disconnect? Why do our egos get activated enough that we’d rather sabotage ourselves versus taking the advice of a loved one?
Frequently what happens is we get into subconscious (and sometimes conscious) power struggles with the ones closest to us. Often the subconscious is emulating a childhood power struggle with a sibling or parent and NO ONE wins in a power struggle!
Check out this scenario…
Recently I had a friend who was struggling with anxiety. After learning more about his struggle and hearing his partner suggest meditation multiple times, my friend dismissed his partner’s suggestion that meditation was an avenue to explore for relief. He continued to brush meditation off as ‘a whole lot of that mindfulness BS.’
Weeks later, I reconnected with my friend over coffee and he told me he received some helpful advice to meditate and found it to be working to decrease his anxiety. My friend mentioned meditation as if it was the first time it was suggested to him. I was not going to be the one to point out that his partner had suggested it multiple times, I’m sure she took care of that, but it did raise the question and thought:
Why is it so hard to HEAR the suggestions of loved ones? How can we deactivate our egos long enough to even consider what they are telling us?
Once of the ways we can do this is by changing the filter so we can actually receive the advice. The first step is noticing that you are on the defensive, like my friend was by brushing off meditation as mindfulness baloney. If you find yourself on the defensive when a loved one is offering advice, try asking them to write down the suggestion. This way, you can take the suggestion and read it at a different time when you are feeling less defensive. You can be in control and see the advice through a filter that is more open and you are more likely to accept it.
Second, you can also look to a professional, such as a therapist or life coach, to help you understand why you feel defensive around certain advice. This professional can help you work on taking that barrier down so you can be more accepting of your loved one’s advice. They can also help you dig deeper into the underlying reasons you are getting into that power struggle. Resolving those issues will not only increase your ability to receive advice, but will also allow you to live more in the moment and with more clarity on a day to day basis.
So what’s the next step? Maybe reading this article again, since messages are more effective when repeated? All joking aside, taking advice from loved ones can be hard, but also productive since they are the people who truly know and LOVE you best. Take a moment and evaluate what is getting in the way of you taking their advice. That’s the first step!