We’re taught to tell the truth from a very early age. There is even a

Commandment stating “Thou shall not lie” and a further commandment stating

“though shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour”, which translates into,

you shouldn’t lie when testifying against your fellow man. Seems pretty clear,

doesn’t it? Don’t lie.

But do we even know what the truth is? At truth is defined as “the

true or actual state of matter” So, is there any room here for interpretation? or is

it “black and white”? It would seem from the definition and the commandments.

it is very straight forward Absolutely no lying!

My sister and I were grown and out on our own… Brenda (13 months my junior)

was living in a college residence at Dalhousie University. I was in Annapolis Royal,

boarding with the wonderful Lane Family (an experience which forever shaped my

life for the better!).

Late one night, my sister calls. She tells me of the most recent events in her life.

She wanted “to talk” She’s audibly uncertain about some of these events, but,

she had reached adulthood and I suppose talking to her big sister was preferable

to confiding in her dorm mates.

There were some life-changing things happening in her life.. things that would

impact her outlook to her future. She was talking very slowly, as if choosing her

words very carefully. I could tell she was having a hard time getting her words

out, almost stuttering trying to explain so I could understand “where she was

coming from” At times, I strained to be sure I got the entire story I had difficulty

hearing her. she had done something ..something I didn’t agree with. There was

a huge silence on both ends of the phone. I proceeded to tell her my feelings on

the subject…. more silence… deeper silence…… Was she crying?

I couldn’t sleep that night. I called her first thing the next morning. I was finally

realizing something. Remembering the previous evening, It occurred to me that

Brenda hadn’t called for my advice. She hadn’t asked for my opinion. The next

morning I apologized for being judgemental,, when really it wasn’t my place or my


Why, oh, why, couldn’t I have done that to begin with?

To this day, my stomach churns and my eyes ear up thinking how all Brenda

wanted was to talk to maybe get an encouraging word maybe an “it’ll be okay”.

But NO! I had to tell her how I was feelings about it. My truth!

About a year ago, My good friend, Anna, was here at my home for a small get-

together. After almost everyone was gone, three of us were left sitting around the

Kitchen table. telling “tales from the heart, which tends to happen at kitchen

tables. The topic somehow turned to “truth” and how we deal with it. Anna said

how she was talking to a young member of her family with whom she’s quite

close. He was doing things with his life that seemed to be potentially taking him

down the wrong path. being older and more experienced with life, Anna

explained how she expressed her fears to the young man. It was her truth. Our

other friend asked if Anna felt better after giving her opinion, Anna said no, she

really didn’t But, it’s a good question .

It’s clear, in both of these circumstances, the receiver of our truth had not

requested it, but both Anna and I felt completely justified at the time sharing our

unsolicited opinions.

Why do we feel we need to give our “advice in these types of situations? Is it to

make us feel we’ve done everything we can to help the other person? Or is it to

demonstrate our superior knowledge? Did they want or need our help? With

Anna’s loved one as with my sister, both were telling the elder family member of

events in their lives.

I know in my own situation with my sister, I succeeded in making my sister feel

unloved and misunderstood, not my intent at all!

Do you have a situation where you’ve shared unsolicited advice. that you’d like to

share? Become a follower and tell us your experience!


About sandrastandingtall

I was the little, curly-haired redhead who dreamed of a pair of red shoes… shiny, red, patent leather slip-ons with a small black heel and a gleaming gold buckle on top. The shoes caught my eye from the window of the shoe store our family frequented and were a huge departure from the requisite, dull, ugly, brown, lace-up Bobby Browns my sister and I were made to wear because “they are good for your feet”. I finally won the red shoes battle which would became a sort-of metaphor for the many battles I would fight in my life. The battle to find a job after graduating high school in an over-crowded employment market led me to study for, and receive, my Real Estate license, resulting in a sponsorship and job with a local broker. Following three years of University, the job market had improved little. However, a close friend and editor saw some talent in my writing and offered me a position with her newspaper, as junior reporter, which I parlayed into ad sales and promotion writing and learning every aspect of the pre- desktop publishing industry. The twists and turns of young adult life did not see me married with eight children, living a “back-to-the-earth” life in Canada’s North as I had anticipated in the many years previous. Instead, I found myself following my mentor’s lead, making a career in the community newspaper industry, taking on the Editorship of two of the same company’s small-town papers. That brings my life to present-day, living a quiet life in a small, rural farming community on Canada’s Atlantic coast, playing Grandmother to three amazing little boys, having battled a severe stroke which ended concurrent careers as an Election Returning officer, and as a Customer Service Rep for a large communications company. That battle, close to complete, has lead me back to my first love – writing.
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