I cry a lot. Mostly happy tears; occasionally sad. Sometimes, I start out as sad, and then while I'm working through it, something positive happens, and I cry happy tears.
I'm a very emotional person.
I think the last time I cried, they were sad tears. Sad because I was judged by someone who I respect. The words, while intended as good advice, were harsh and stung of criticism.
A smart person once told me that "unsolicited advice is crticism." That's very true. When you offer someone advice that they didn't request, what you're basically saying is that you identified a need for them to improve. You found something they did wrong, and you're trying to correct them.
That's criticism. Even if you don't intend it that way, that is how it will be received.
I try very, very hard not to offer advice unless I'm asked. You can bet that I always have an opinion. If we've talked about it, I have definitely thought about it, processed it, and come up with what I think is the right answer.
Will I share that answer?
Not unless I'm asked.
Why? Because when I give advice, it comes from a place of genuine concern. I know I'm not better than anyone else. Even if I'm in a better place at the time - I was once right where that person is, and probably will be again. I am in no position to criticize.
But I might have good advice. I might be able to help. If I'm going to offer, that's how I want it be received.
I certainly don't want to make anyone cry.