As a writer, lady and certified busybody, my life is all about advice. I write a weekly column designed to give advice to people in relationships, I have lots of lady (and gentleman) friends and we spend a lot of our time, drinks in hand, talking about our problems and honestly, I’ve just always been the person that people go to for advice. But, I sit here single, many times anxious and with little idea about what I’m going to do in the future. Why can’t I seem to take my own advice?
It’s a widely-known fact that the way we see ourselves and the way that we see others is much different. Simply point to those (terrible) Dove commercials, where they show how much nicer women are about other people’s appearances than their own. For proof simply listen to yourself talk about yourself. If anyone ever said half the crap I say about myself to me, I would crack them so hard in the mouth they wouldn’t know what was coming.
But, the way we relate to ourselves goes much further than that. We can spend all day giving someone what we think is amazing advice and most of us will never follow it ourselves. For example: If my friend is feeling like she has feelings for a guy and they seem to be mutual, I will without a doubt tell her, “Go for it! What is the worst thing that could happen? Life is too short, a ‘no’ lasts a second, but not knowing lasts much longer,” etc. etc. But, if I were in the same situation, it would take me much longer to reach that conclusion if at all.
Now, I do have a few theories about this, but lord only knows why. A lot of it, I think, is seeing other people as more qualified or worthy of positive things than we are. I know a lot of times I am deterred from making bold steps in my life because I think deep down that good things don’t happen to me or that it will go better for my friend because they are smarter/prettier/more successful/whatever. Heavy. I know. But don’t act like you don’t got there too.
Another thing I think drives our inability to take our own advice is just a little more selfish: It’s not our life. Of course we would never intentionally lead our loved ones down the hard or wrong path, but ultimately, I’m not the one who has to go talk to that cute guy/ask my boss for a raise/confront my rude neighbor. It all sounds good on paper, but I would never advise it for myself, because– anxiety.
I definitely have to wonder if I should stop spouting this crap that I know I’ll never apply to myself anyway. But, in reality, I don’t think any of us will. Giving people advice and talking through problems is a seriously important social skill and somehow makes a lot of people feel better. Is it dangerous? Mostly not. But, what can we do to start talking our own advice?
Well, first we should probably determine if it’s even good advice. How is one to know? I’m not sure. I’m a writer, not a policewoman. Be bold, realize that you’re worth it and that you can do it and damnit, realize that you don’t want to be a hypocrite. If that doesn’t kick your butt into gear, then I’m not sure what will.
See what I did there? Advice about taking advice. Boom.
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