Rohit Kumar

A piece of advice on how to give and receive advice

My father died last month. Now it’s only me and my mother in the family.

Since the day of my father’s last ritual, every third person has suggested that I should get married. They say my wife will bring happiness to my family.

I have been getting this advice for the past many years. Earlier, I used to get mad at this advice. These days, I don’t.

My 50-year-old aunt got married at age 15. She has spent all of her adult life as a married person that's surrounded by family members. She can’t fathom an adult bachelor's life. Men in her family never gave her the respect she deserved. In contrast, her daughters-in-law gave her some respect. Her core values are family and tradition.

I, the receiver of the advice, have an equally complex but different past. I’ve seen too many sad children born out of broken arranged marriages. My core value is freedom.

People give advice that either satisfies their core values or fulfills their desires.

A poor person gives advice to get money, while a rich person gives advice to ignore money and chase happiness.

My aunt wants a happy family; I want a happy self. My aunt advices to get married; I advice to stay single. Neither is right or wrong. But you might choose one advice over the other, depending on your unique life experiences and core values.