"Just walk beside me and be my friend."

Read a great quote this morning...

"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend." Albert Camus

For me, this reminds me of the caution we must take both when taking and receiving advice.

I think we need to be very careful about intervening in the choices made by those close to us.

First of all, we should consider that however strongly we feel about the thoughts we wish to impart, we may be wrong.

We all have our own perspectives on life. We must be humble enough to accept that we are looking at the world through our own distorted lens, and acknowledge the effect this likely having on how we feel about our friends situation, and so on on the words we wish to express.

Secondly, even if we are right, we might consider that if could be more beneficial for our friend to go out and fail, and learn lessons on their own.

I think if we are too direct with our advice to others, we may prevent them from following their instincts. Although failure might cause short-term pain, by allowing our loved ones to go out and fall on their faces, we might find that the long-term result is that they get to where they want to be quicker than if our advice had prevented them from taking that step which caused the initial failure and pain.

What has struck me recently is that whenever I have a big epiphany or realisation, the lesson learnt is normally something I have heard many times over from other sources; but learning it myself has made it actually hit home.

Of course, sharing our thoughts and philosophies with the world is one of the best things we can do, and a good piece of advice can be golden.

But I think we must be careful about giving advice when it hasn't been asked for, and also we should endeavour to give advice with a pinch of salt - with the caveat that this our perspective on the situation, and ultimately the next action is up to person concerned.

We must support our friends, but we are not there to lead them or dictate their lives. The best thing we can sometimes do is, as Camus said, walk beside them and be their friend.

But then that's just my opinion.....

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