when every one is an expert
January 19, 2010 Leave a comment
Here are the criteria I evolved to handle this unsolicited flow from people I had not asked for help, and who barely knew me:
- Are the advisers experts in the area they are advising on (medical professionals, experts in caregiving, in nutrition, exercise, rehabilitation)
- If they are not experts, do they even know what my mother suffers from, or the full list of what I am doing and why?
- If they are not experts, do they have a stake in my mother’s welfare, and would they be willing to help implement what they are suggesting?
- If they are not experts, and if I fall ill thanks to the workload they are proposing, will they take over caring for my mother in the meanwhile, or look after me when I fall ill?
- If they are not experts, have they experienced a parallel situation, and did they do themselves what they are proposing I should do, and did they remain sane while doing it?
If the person advising was not an expert, not someone who understood my mother’s exact problem , not a stakeholder or a volunteer, and not someone who had experienced and gracefully handled a similar situation, I took the input quite warily. I listened politely; if it needed checking out with an expert, I did so, otherwise, I set it aside. Handling advice became amazingly simple after I set these criteria 🙂
The inflow of advice is near absent now. I can see the discomfort of would-be advisers if I describe my mother’s condition. Looking back now, I suspect a lot of advice I got earlier was not about my mother – it was a statement of how the persons advising me wished to be treated if they were in place of my mother (as they understood it). Perhaps many of those authoritative statements were seeds they sowed in the ether that connects all beings, in hope that their children would behave that way when the occasion arose. And now, when it is too painful to picture themselves so helpless, they have no advice for me, only avoidance.
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