5 seemingly helpful pieces of advice that can make your life difficult

Our “self-proclaimed life coach” friend was at it again. The mister and I exchanged secret glances. It’s always incredibly annoying — can’t we enjoy dinner without feeling like we’re in masterclass 101?

What’s with people and unsolicited advice?

The world isn’t short of self-proclaimed moral experts like our friend. You probably have a mate like this, too, and even if you don’t, there’s always tons of advice coming your way at every turn. Yet, most of it is unnecessary, unhelpful, and at times layered with selfish interests.

What’s worse? Some seemingly helpful pieces of advice can make your life increasingly difficult. Sample a few below.

1. Money is evil, and wealth is greed

Growing up in the church, I was taught to be content with what I had and not desire more because wanting more was a sign of greed. The rich were bad people whose fate was a one-way ticket to the blazing flames of hell. And although I bought this narrative all the way into my twenties, something didn’t feel right.

Life got so damn hard. Broke, I sank deeper into the hole of unfilled dreams. Fortunately, everything changed when I left my city for another country. Realizing I’d been sold a bill of goods, I shifted my mindset to money is good, and wealth would make me happier and better. I dug into financial books and spoke to anyone who knew the basics of investing.

Two years later, I made the first downpayment for my own apartment, which became the beginning of my investment journey. I was pinching myself. Becoming financially independent hasn’t made me greedy. Quite the contrary, not only have I supported my son single-handedly for years, but I’ve also helped many. The cherry on top? I’m so much happier.

Listen, there’s nothing evil about money. Few things can eliminate the evil in the world, like an abundant supply of cash. Theft and muggings all boil down to lack of money. Illiteracy, teenage pregnancies, abusive marriages are in a way linked to lack of money. Poverty is a cancer. I’m African. I should know.

I’ve seen brilliant and ambitious kids stagnate in life because of poverty. When rich people become greedy monsters, it’s got nothing to do with money. It’s who they’ve always been deep down. Having money amplifies this negativity. Those who say money is evil either don’t have it or have a bad relationship with it.

Speaking negatively about money will only keep you financially crippled. Would you go where you’re unwanted? Exactly. Don’t fall into the trap of romanticizing poverty. If you have a bad relationship with money, change your perspective by reading books like these.

This advice makes your life more difficult because you’ll always block the cash flow into your life unless you change your mindset. After all, money is nothing but energy.

What it should read instead: Money creates happiness. Money creates empowerment. Money creates choices.

“The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money.”― Trevor Noah.

2. Have a baby, and your marriage will improve

In relationships, we look for solutions in all the wrong places. Instead of fixing our bad habits and attitudes, we blame others for not giving us what we ought to give ourselves. When it comes to ridiculous relationship advice, nothing tops the list like “Have a baby, and your marriage will improve.”

Wait, what? Introduce an innocent baby to an already turbulent relationship? Good luck with that!

If trouble is brewing in your small family of two, why the heck would a baby turn your relationship around? Sure, it may act as a distraction for a while, but it’ll only complicate things further for you and the child born into the mess.

The world is awash with hurting people who grew up seeing their parents wrapped up in endless fights, who didn’t experience the nurturing of a loving home. Subsequently, when they step into society, they hurt others because they know nothing else. People can only give what they have. If pain is what they have, they’ll offer just that. Hurt people hurt people.

Any relationship problem is a sign of a deeper issue in one or both parties. Deal with it as soon as you spot any red flags. Don’t wait till you’re too deep into the waters lest you and those in your life drown. This advice makes your life more difficult because it teaches how to treat the symptom rather than eliminate the cause of the marital problem.

What it should read instead: Having a baby will intensify unresolved relationship conflict, not fix them.

“When you’re unhappy in your marriage, your children are the ones who suffer.”— Christina Aguilera

3. Never burn bridges. You may need them later

This is one of those pieces of advice that confuse you more than shed light. On the one hand, you know when a friendship or relationship has come to the end of its rope. On the other hand, you want to leave the door open just in case the person mends their ways. Besides, it’s the mature thing to do, you tell yourself.

I’ve been burned too many times to stamp this as terrible advice. Every time I allowed someone back in my life after hurting me, they did it again. It’s why I’m not friends with ex-girlfriends or ex-lovers. I now know that every time I left the door open for a comeback, I did it out of fear for the future. What if I never meet anyone to fill the gap?

But I learned that without burning bridges, one is never free. If someone hurts you once, they’ll do it again and again. A cheetah never changes its spots. So, if they really value your presence in their lives, they shouldn’t sabotage it in the first place, just like you shouldn’t hang around for them to realize your worth.

Bridges are meant to take you over to the other side, not take you back to your past. The past is the past because it’s dead. Nothing lives there. The people you want and those who want you are on the other side of the bridge. This advice makes your life more difficult because it keeps you stuck in a painful past.

As long as the bridge is intact, toxic people will always crawl back, making it hard to meet people who’ll appreciate you. Burn that bridge, baby.

What it should read instead: Burning bridges takes too long. I prefer explosives.

“Stop telling me not to burn bridges. Some bridges are meant to be burnt, some roads are never meant to be traveled again.”― Steve Maraboli

4. Be yourself, and the right person will come

You don’t want to know who I am when I’m myself. I’m as lazy as a fat cat. I can shop till my bank account bleeds and, I can stuff my face with white chocolate all day. Now, what would that make me in a year? Obese, broke, and unhealthy. What would that make me when I’m eighty?

Chained to a hospital bed with a coronary illness, living on the streets or, at best, brooding over a heap of regrets. Be myself? No thanks! I’m guessing you’re probably like me. No one wants to grind all day. But we must grind if we want to better ourselves and create a future worth looking forward to.

Be yourself is dreadful advice. But becoming the best version of yourself? Now that’s dope. As someone passionate about helping people find their soul mates, I hear an extension of this awful advice. It goes like this: Be yourself, and the right person will come.

Well, it just doesn’t cut it- unless you don’t value being in a relationship. You toss out the garbage and make your bed when expecting a guest for a few hours. Why wouldn’t you clean up your physical appearance, attitude, and character flaws for someone you wish to spend the rest of your life with?

Single-but-wishing-they-weren’t folks continue to sit by the wayside as Mr love and Miss romance strut right past them. What if they spent that time fixing themselves and wiping off the stench of bad habits? It would not only give them the worthy feeling of attracting a partner, but they would also improve on a personal level.

This dreadful advice can make your life difficult because you can’t become the person you’re capable of being or meet the person you desire if you’re hellbent on remaining the same. In the scope of life, stagnation is non-existent. You’re either growing or disintegrating. Period.

What it should read instead: Be the best version of yourself, and the right person will come.

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ’Til your good is better and your better is best.” — St. Jerome

5. Good things come to those who wait

Do they?

There’s this idea that if you sit in a corner like a good little boy, eat your broccoli and wait patiently for what you want, and it’ll magically appear. But anyone who’s achieved something worthwhile can tell you how dreadful this advice is because it implies that patience alone is enough to give you what you want. Good things don’t come from waiting but doing.

When you’re simply waiting, your mind remains shut to ideas, and you’re not motivated to take action. As a broke single mom in my early twenties, I could’ve waited for my parents to get me on my feet. Or I could’ve waited for the system to change in the hope that I’d secure a job to support my son and me. I cringe just thinking how that would’ve turned out.

Yet, somewhere in my broken self, I knew waiting would only sink me deeper into misery. Everything changed when I took action to change my situation. What makes this advice so deceitful is that things don’t always go according to plan. What you think will be your breakthrough is often not what manifests.

Situations don’t always align as you wish. The help you need usually doesn’t come from the people you expect. If you keep waiting, you’ll end up with nothing.

What it should read instead: Good things come to those who wait and act.

“Good things come to those who wait, but only what’s left from those who hustle!” ― C.W. Abe Lincoln

Final Thoughts:

Just because people are willing to dish out advice doesn’t make it good, necessary, or helpful. Not all pieces of advice come from a good place.

Good advice should lead you towards the light, not make your life more difficult. Whilst you should be open to receiving advice, it’s wise to use your judgment to gauge its suitability for your life and goals.

This article first appeared on Medium.

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Contributor @samcx.com. Passionate about everything Sales, Marketing and Account Management.

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