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Your story is better than giving advice

Have you ever listen to someone taking advantage of the platform granted only to enforce his household frustrations to you? I have noticed the number of people that offers to run seminars as marriage and family advisors as either bored nothing happens at their families or going through tough times. Once they feel like a relief from all struggles for some reasons they feel like they graduated to be family counselors. Hang on bud, well done on having to take full responsibility of your family, but what you’ve gone through might not be the same as in our family!

It is ok to at least give a testimony on how you are managing your family problems fairly and squarely. We are here to learn from you, but to tell us how to run our relationships your way is too autocratic. My kids might not so disrespectful like yours so the method to take care of our relationship differs. Speak for yourself as to how you run your relationship. I was listening on the radio not so long ago a guy giving his take on what he found out of initiation schools in South Africa. His argument was there are no benefits in whatsoever in going to initiation school. I was like, hang on bro those schools were not meant to benefit anyone but common beliefs and values among a certain group, tribe. So you ought to respect those who honor the custom. Unfortunately, you did not get what you were looking for, so speak for yourself.

One time I was still listening on radio one presenter was asking especially men to call in and tell their stories on that specific topic about men and their issues at home. I said to the person I was listening with, there are no men that will call until the presenter, who was a male himself shares his testimony. Then we will trust him in sharing our stories. An hour went by without any male call until he made an example about himself on how he got out of a situation. I also find myself sometimes overthinking over a situation when I am supposed to have made a decision, take action and execute. People will mostly trust you when you share your story to offer advice for them.

I always find it so difficult to listen to someone telling how others should live instead of offering a piece of advice based on his or her experience. Have a sense of telling your story more than enforcing your options, ideas to other people. Test every idea on yourself, and share your experiences with others so they can learn. Unless you have been asked to be a personal coach, advisor but still your knowledge, past experience will help advance your demonstration.

If something worked for you doesn’t mean it will for everyone. Children read and learn our movements whether bad or good ones but most of what you say doesn’t really make sense more than what you do on their watch. Have you ever listen to someone who’s gone through a tough life speaking out of anxiety telling people how to live. You can hear from the sound of it someone is bitter and the only way to take it out is on others. You will hear them say, ‘men should, ought, must. Women have to do this and that for their marriage to work, etc.” For some reason, they have a solution to everything. It is okay when you are invited to share your story on how you got out of a very toxic relationship, workplace, and community. That is the platform but to never tell what people ought to do. If at school it’s called career advice not a choice assorted. Telling your story is better than giving advice.

In order to pass the message tell your story first. In fact every speech, motivation, writing is telling a story. Above everything else speak of yourself, how it works for you, not us. We don’t all live in the same street as yours. Problems in Vegas may not be the same in Johannesburg. Even apostle Paul in the Bible would say, “I wish everyone be like me, be unmarried but each has a different gift.” On many occasions, the same Paul would say, ‘‘it is I, Paul talking, this is from me, out of my experience, not from God.” See that’s honest advice, but nowadays you will hear preachers speaking over you as to what you need to do as if God or your highest being told to tell you that. Life is a story to tell and everyone can find a solution out of your own story.



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Malibongwe Sithelo

I'm a freelance writer, a runner and a public servant in South Africa. I write about everyday life experiences.