We were having coffee, getting ready for the work ahead. She mentioned she wanted to go do her hair. She could do this at her lunch break, or after work. Then she asked the question: “what do you think?”
I started my speech about how doing it after work will be stress-free, because no one will be waiting for her to go back to the office, plus she can take her time and enjoy it. She seemed to agree on this.
About an hour later, when I least expected it, she asked: “so, should I go do my hair at my lunch break or after work”?
I stopped what I was doing, turned around, gave her a straight look and without realizing how cold it sounded at the moment, I let my words come out of my mouth with an absurd calmness that was not much appreciated: “WHATEVER GIVES YOU PEACE”.
Needless to say, my friend got a little offended and went on and on about the friend’s dynamics in which someone says something and the other person is expected to answer back, even if you end up spending time talking about the same thing without reaching any conclusion, but feeling kind of supported by your listening friend. Or so she says.
Years ago I learned a very helpful lesson about opinions and how people feel about it.
Some people ask for your opinion, expecting you to tell them what to do and therefore, making you responsible for whatever the outcome might be. On the other hand, some will ask your opinion to simply hear what you think about it, but not expecting you to decide for them.
There are also people who will give you their opinion feeling that you have to do as they advice, and getting extremely angry at you when you don’t. They have a hard time understanding each person has the right to decide what they feel is best for them; to go along with what really gives them peace.
This phrase has been my philosophy not only for my own decisions, but also when asked my opinion regarding any situation. I have used it to help me maintain healthy friendships, having my friends feel that I listen to them, I care about them, but recognizing it is “their” decision to make and I need to respect such decisions; either I like them or not. I don’t have to like them. IT IS THEIRS. They are the ones dealing not only with the situation but with the results as well: good or bad. It is their lives and they have the right to live it however they feel is best for them.
I also apply it to myself when having to make my own decisions. When I feel troubled about something I pretty much know inside that I should not go that path. It is simple for me. I can’t cope with doubt. I just can’t.
The whole phrase has been a reason for my co-workers to make jokes about it and have a good laugh when remembering the context in which they heard it; however, it’s been a nice surprise to have heard most of them (if not all) use this phrase every once in a while. I guess they have connected with the amazing freedom it gives to both the talker and the listener.
I invite you to use it any time you feel you need it, because after all my friends, such simple phrase involves a huge profoundness and truth. Whatever gives you peace… Whatever gives me peace.