How many of you are great at giving advice and horrible about taking your own advice? I know I fall in that category way too often. Whether it’s in relationships or escalating problems at work, I can usually help people to calm down and make better decisions but applying it to my own life is not the easiest task for me.
I have a really good friend who has been going through emotional upheaval roller coasters for a while now. She’ll call me and ask me what I think a lot. Sometimes it’s draining. But because I care about her, I try to listen and help her sort out her emotions. Many of the issues that she’s dealing with are on a higher scale than what I’ve had to contend with, but the comparisons are similar. When she gets her anxiety in a tizzy, she makes bad judgment calls, and utilizes actions that have severe consequences. Over time, she’s started taking a step back after our conversations but it’s taken her a long time to understand if you are emotionally charged in a scenario, step back and look at the big picture. She used to call me in tears almost every day. Now she’s gaining back the control in her life and is doing well. The ironic thing is that she’s given me excellent advice over the years. She just hasn’t applied it to her own. When I’ve been going through turbulent times she’s helped me figure out which direction to go. She didn’t just tell me what she thought, she asked questions to help me feel like I was the one who was deciding for myself. Sometimes we don’t even have to spell it out for someone. We just need to make sure that person knows that we care and in turn, they help us understand we matter.
Isn’t that the way it goes? When our friends and loved ones are hurting, we dole out advice like it’s simple. When it comes to applying that advice, well, that’s much more difficult. Recently, I’ve been struggling with decisions that affect my personal and professional lives. I enjoy my job and it can be a very rewarding position but yet I’m longing to reach for more. I’m the type of person who enjoys being challenged. Personally, I’ve cut back on my social circles and kept myself involved with folks who are doing more. That’s not to say that I don’t care about those that I’m walking away from but sometimes we have to walk away from those who may be holding us back. It took me a long time to adhere to that advice. I’ve always been a loyal friend so the thought of leaving folks behind has always been a sticky point for me. But in the same breath, I’ve also learned that in order to grow, I have to surround myself with folks who aren’t so opinionated that there is no communicating with them without arguments.
I wouldn’t recommend giving advice unless you were asked for it. Offering advice when it isn’t wanted can be extremely detrimental in the long run. For example, if you know someone who is going through a difficult time, don’t just blurt out what they need to do. People can get resentful over good intentions. You rob them of the ability to make decisions for themselves because if you give your opinion without being asked, it goes into their subconscious. I learned a while back to zip it with advice when I’m not asked. It’s hard especially when you know you can help but you may be hindering someone else with your unwanted wisdom. Sometimes it’s best to let a professional help us to sort out what we’re feeling but whatever any of us do, bottling up emotions is never a good answer.
I hope each of you is able to take your own advice when it helps you in the long run. I never want to see or hear of someone that takes their own advice and does something toxic to themselves or others. Sometimes we have to learn that when we are helping others, if we allow ourselves to heed our own advice, we might save some heartache in the long run.