How to let people live their lives as they decide

Sep 17 • News • 1492

When someone says “don’t think of a black cat,” usually a black cat immediately pops into your head.

Maybe it’s because it seems like a simple request, but perhaps we just have a desire to do things we’re not supposed to do. Either way, we think about it.

Now, that’s just a silly example, but here’s another one. Imagine you’re 5 years old and your mom tells you not to eat any cookies out of the jar until after dinner later that night. The problem is that you’re a kid and eating a cookie probably sounds a lot better than having leftovers again. Many of us have been there.

But if you do eat a few cookies, then when you get to dinner and you can’t eat any of it because you’re full, mom realizes what you did and doesn’t let you have any dessert with your brothers and sisters.

OK, that was another small example, but your mom didn’t want to spoil your fun, she just wanted you to eat dinner before you had some snacks.

I’ve noticed this happening a lot more as I get older, with more serious situations. Over the years, my friends will ask me for my advice on something and I will tell them not to do it. About 90 percent of the time, they usually won’t do what I suggest because they really would rather choose the opposite.

That’s not to say I’m exempt from this. My friends have advised me not to do something on some occasions and I wouldn’t listen. Most of the time, I should have.

So I present another piece of advice to you, dear reader, which you may choose to take as you wish. When people ask about your opinion on something, they generally don’t want to hear what your opinion is. They want to hear theirs in your voice.

I’m not saying giving your honest opinion is a bad idea – I would just bear in mind that person might not heed your advice. Don’t take it personally.

Sometimes we can’t learn from other people’s words – we need to make mistakes on our own.

If your friend/family member/roommate doesn’t take your advice on something, be there for them no matter what, because you could have been wrong about the situation and everything could turn out fine.

If it doesn’t, don’t be the person to say “I told you so.” That won’t fix the situation. Deep down, none of us likes to see our friends upset. Just being there for them may not be able to fix the situation, but at least they’ll know you care.

Plus, I guarantee you’ll find yourself in the same situation and you’ll want someone to be there for you.

Because sometimes we have to touch a stove to find out if it’s hot and sometimes we need to make our own decisions to find out what would have happened.

Be there for your friends even if you think they’re making a stupid decision Maybe they need to.

KHADIJA DJELLOULI

djelloul001@knights.gannon.edu

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