Monday, January 30, 2006

Behavior Modification

I am great at helping you figure out how to live your life. Especially if you didn't ask. I have been known to deliver unsolicited advice. I admit it. I have a problem with it. I need a 12 step program. To make matters worse, not only do I like to give my opinion, I am also bossy and controlling. And we wonder, Why is she single? Ahem.

I have been trying to practice letting other people lead their lives without judgement or interference. Imagine that! What a concept, Sizzle. You buttinsky. You big mouth. You control freak. Even if I am thinking: It is clear your relationship with your father has so significantly messed you up that you are unable to love yourself. or You have been talking about moving for years but your fear of change has you frozen here. or If you just sorted your laundry before you made breakfast, you could be doing laundry while eating and reading the paper. You'd be way ahead! Multitasking is great!

Leave. It. Alone. Sizzle.

Nobody wants to hear this kind of "advice." People, no matter how much we love them, have to live the life they are willing and able to live. They will meet life wherever they are at, internally and externally. I can't put all my bravery or self-awareness or rigid organizational skills into someone else's existence and have everything be perfect. . . for them. They don't want me to and meanwhile, what about my life? Who is taking care of that?

I have not been taking care of my life. I have been lost in feelings and stagnant in action. My fear of drastically overhauling my life has left me rooted to the past and unable to actualize the future. I need a very, very big change. And honestly, I am scared to death of it. That is why, telling you what to do with your life seems so appealing. But, no. I have made a solemn vow to consciously stop this behavior. Right. Now.

Like anything worth achieving, bravery, hope, enthusiasm, clarity, diligence and a good dose of letting go will be required for the very, very big change. They say the heart is a resilient muscle. I am going to bank on that being true. And that all this internal work I have been doing on myself this past year can finally be put to good use. In my life.


sue said...

Oh, honey...

Melissa said...

Whenever you feel the dire need to lend someone an unsolicited hand feel free to do it to me. Change is difficult and even with the best of hopes and plans for change it creeps up on you. I'd hate for you to explode or something.

Mrs. Ca said...

Um, can I tell you that "Little Miss Bossy" and all of the other books like that were just about my favorite books when I was little? Besides, of course, Eloise, because that is the best book ever.

It is much harder to see what needs to change in our own lives than to see what needs to change in others'. Good luck with figuring it out.

Bill said...

Oh, there you go again, you buttinsky! Telling Sizzle what to do to change her life! :-)

Sometimes it isn't about giving advice so much as it is how it's given. Sometimes it requires a subtle touch - like making advice sound like something other than advice.

And sometimes any change seems really big. So what people need is a sense that the change isn't so big and so difficult, it's something manageable. And they also need a sense they aren't alone, or that it isn't something they have to do alone, or that others have done it so it's achievable.

Nihilistic said...

Again Beaches comes to my mind:

"Continue building the sand castle and I"ll be back to check your work"

Little boy: "She's so bossy"

Little Girl: "Yeah"

Funny thing is...Sometimes people will tell you to "Stop telling me what to do" or "Keep it to yourself" but they very often want and need advice. Hearing other people's opionions help them to form their own. Sometimes they go with what you say sometimes not. But I agree with Bill - its the delivery.

Mo-Pie said...

Sizzle, are we going to have to separate you two...?

If I’ve told you once, I've told you a thousand times...

...You are marvelous darling!

I'm not sure if I've used this one before... If I have... I'm bringing it back out and dusting it off...

"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

ocg said...


I will gladly take any advice you are handing out. I, too, have the tendency to tell people what I think is something meaningful and important for their life...

I am of firm belief that we can give good advice for others, when our own... leaves something to be desired… because we are not emotionally in the middle of other people's lives and can thus separate it out more clearly than they could

We give FAB advice. This I am sure of...

... right?



jenny said...

Ugh. I suffer from the unsolicited advice syndrome, too, mainly when it comes to my friends' relationships. I find it so hard to shut my mouth! And really, I don't know why they would take my advice since I'm the one who is eternally single... ;)

Sizzle said...

sue- it will be alright. thanks though.

mel- careful what you ask for. . .but i don't think i am going to explode. ha ha.

mrs. ca- i l-o-v-e-d those books! i think i need to start collecting them again.

bill- when you call me a buttinsky, i kinda like how it sounds. is that wrong?

stacy- i love that scene. and both you and bill are right- delivery counts a lot in these matters. too bad i can be tactless, huh? ;)

mo-pie- hey stranger! thank god for you and your when harry met sally references. and yes, please separate us!

ocg- . . . right!. . . i guess? :)

jenny- at least i am not alone in this difficulty- a kindred spirit in singletonness and the inability to keep one's mouth shut. :)

Sizzle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill said...

Ooh! Cool new Sizzle photo! But what is she looking at? Or is she looking at anything? Maybe she's simply reflecting on what the buttinsky told her?

Nice shades too. :-)

Moonchild said... all seriousness, I had no clue you were demanding and bossy. Sorry to hear that.

Lushy said...

I expect you to offer advice when I tell you things.

I also expect you to tell me to shut the hell up when I'm yapping away. Thank you for not doing that. You can, though. ;)

English Professor said...

Do your readers have kids? Getting them grown to a certain age will demonstrate how very effective it is to tell others how to straighten out their lives. ;-)

I'm bossy, too, but I'm growing out of it--just too many people in the world for me to solve all their problems. And I still bristle when anyone volunteers *helpful suggestions* to me. "Get the plank out of your own eye . . . " I want to say.

Good wishes to you!

Gary said...

I have found in my life that there are people who like to get advice from others and actually take some of it. I should do more of that myself.

Bill said...

Oh, you buttinsky! (I had to say it again - it's fun.)

I'm the opposite of bossy. I'm quietly manipulative. I gave my poor mother endless grief, and others who complained I would never argue. I think I became skilled to some degree at "suggesting" things without seeming to suggest them.

"Yes, I think going to war is probably the thing to do. And your sons, John and Bob ... why, they're just what we need. I can see them now on the frontline, proudly standing their ground. And I'm pretty sure at least one of them will come back."

Jenny said...

you wouldn't be sizzle if you didn't dole out SOME advice...i luv ya not matter what :)

and sometimes the advice is needed ;)