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Don’t pass judgment: only give advice on things you’ve personally experienced.

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

One of the things I’ve learned through my divorce is to never pass judgment on anyone because you don’t know how difficult it is to make decisions in certain situations. We must understand that the battle between the heart and the brain is one of the hardest to face. It’s a dilemma between what your brain knows is the right thing to do and what your heart wants to keep. A debate between what your brain knows is the truth, and what your heart doesn’t want to believe. It’s the unknown versus what you do know. And trust me when I say it's not easy. What IS easy is passing judgment as an outsider, judging a person for making or not making a decision when you have no clue what they are battling internally. This brings me to my newest pet peeve, people who give advice on things they’ve NEVER experienced. Unless you’ve come remotely close to the struggle someone else is emotionally, financially or professionally facing, keep your advice to yourself. Unless you know the battle that person is experiencing, don’t preach as if you do. Because that, too, is very easy to do as an outsider. Just lend them your hand and LISTEN.

When I decided to file for divorce, I hated when people would tell me, “you have to be strong now. Forget about him! Live life, be happy!”  As if it’s so easy. Don’t you think I want to be happy? That’s everyone’s ultimate goal in life, right? It came from a good place, but after over 8 years of loving someone more than words could ever express and placing him before myself, how did everyone just expect me to be strong, be happy, live life as if nothing happened and simply erase him? Especially that it was an unexpected occurrence in my life. It was a decision I HAD to make (my brain), but didn’t WANT to make (my heart). How could I not mourn losing my husband, marriage and the future I had envisioned with that individual? I couldn’t just click a "reset" button. I needed to heal, I needed to face my new reality. I needed to fight each day until I was able to find my true strength - once I accepted the 180 turn my life had taken. And I needed to slowly fall out of love with him, not erase him. He was my partner, the person I envisioned growing old with and who almost became the father of my child in 2018. The man I called for years "a lion with a heart of gold, my soulmate" will soon no longer carry a title in my life - how is that just easy to accept and forget? Being able to finally get a full night's sleep without waking up, and have semi-productive days were my short-term goals. No one saw the times I cried alone, what constantly replayed in my head and the times I literally fell to the ground in tears - pleading for god's mercy while my heart was aching. I faked it until I made it (and truthfully, I still haven't crossed the finish line). I prayed for the day I would be able to look at pictures and videos of us without breaking down. Prayed for the day my heart wouldn't hurt when someone mentioned his name. I prayed for the day I could look at my wedding dress and wedding ring without feeling sorrow. For the day my divorce would no longer be the reason my soul felt in pieces. I refused to fall into the trap of denial and disconnect from what was occurring in my life. I wanted to face it, hurt and go through it so one day it can be in the past. There were nights I looked in the mirror and asked, "why me? What is it about me or what did I do to deserve this?" I pointed at my outer appearance, my personality, my heart and continued to pick out flaws about myself. To simply make sense of everything that had happened. I was fighting another battle internally, and those emotions needed support - not advice. That is what you need to offer the ones you love who are going through something. And I was beyond lucky to have the support of my close friends and family in the meantime. All that hurt people need is love and support. And the only advice they're searching for is from people who've experienced, or are experiencing, what they are going through - whether it be with love, finances or career.

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