The struggles of life hit everybody. And usually, to get through our problems we are keen on seeking advice from those around or near to us, or possibly a doctor or therapist. Sharing our struggles is a natural thing to do, especially if you think the person you’re opening up to is going to help or comfort you. Often, you will be the comforter in the situation who will be served the opportunity to share your innate wisdom. So when your troubled friend comes to you discussing their problem and how it’s really affecting or overwhelming them telling you just how much they’re upset, angry or confused, your intelligent self is already one step ahead formulating a rational piece of advice to their seemingly difficult situation. You’ve got this. You’ve done this one too many times, maybe you’re so good at giving advice you’re relied upon by your peers when it comes to life’s hardships. But why oh why is it so difficult for us to take our own self-interest, really good advice when we’re in a rut ourselves?
- You are emotionally attached to the situation
Although you are sharing your problem, it will not be received the same way you are dealing with it. Similarly, when you’re being asked for advice, you might think you know the whole story but that’s not particularly the case. Your advice will come out authentic and rational and sometimes so common sense that you don’t know how they can’t see it for themselves. Yet when it comes to you, it’s not the same. You don’t notice your problem is similar to theirs because the real problem is so internal to you, you have all the details and emotions connected to the situation and the emotions of all the past experiences that were somewhat similar to your current situation. All these emotions and clusters of details lead you to over-think, clouding your judgment. What’s so obvious is now a pile of confusion that you’re stuck in. The advice you’ve given becomes a burden when it comes to you.
- The cliché saying is right – It’s easier said than done
Giving advice is very comfortable. You do it with grace. Really, whether or not your friend should change her major in college or stay on a path she barely enjoys has no direct impact on you. You’ll do your best to understand the situation to properly advise on it but whatever you suggest, the consequences of such decisions will not be yours to carry. If you were in their shoes, you will know just how absurd a simple piece of advice is when it comes to a possible life-changing situation. You don’t take your own advice because you cannot rely on a simplified version of your struggle, to you it’s much more complicated than that.
- The critical second opinion
The same reason it’s best to have a second medical opinion is why we are not usually satisfied with our decisions. You don’t realize that the speculation and doubt are all part of the over-thinking process and that you’re not making life or death decisions- leave those for the specialists. Generally, what we’re doing is quite unnecessary. When we’ve come to a conclusion about what we’re going to do, we ask for a second opinion to confirm our well-thought-out plan even if it means we probably have to sit there and hear everything we’ve already known, things we’ve told ourselves a million times before. If it’s your lucky day, you will not get that confirmation and instead you’ll be thrown off guard with a plan/solution that will nullify your original resolution. Only then will it be worth it to ditch your own advice to chase after a second or third or fourth opinion.
“We all have the tendency to want to take the quickest, easiest path to our goals.” – Robert Greene
- You are stuck on the lazy path
Your rational piece of advice could be too much hard work. The effort involved in doing the “right thing”, making the “best choice” or “taking a leap” is painful. Why bother? It’s much more grandeur to actually pass the advice than put it in action. Laziness often gets the better of us. If it’s a little outside our reach to inquire about a scholarship at our dream university, we will probably let it go or if it’s unseen to confront your boss for giving you a hard time, you probably wouldn’t. We can just live with it, we have been for quite some time…Why stop now?
- An unbreakable cycle
Taking your advice might mean that you have to make some serious changes and that’s not very comfortable for you. You’re not lazy, you’re scared. Often, we are used to living and doing things a certain way that even a slight break in a cycle will spur you in a direction you are not ready to discover. It could mean facing new responsibilities – something you’re not very used to.
- The sabotage hasn’t worn off yet
When you’re in the midst of a life crisis, you cannot really see out of it. The future and sunlight seem too far away. You might not even be ready to feel better yet let alone listen to your own advice, at this point, it’s quite irrelevant. What you’re really feeling is the damage occurred and that can sometimes leave you desperate. Crawling out of the situation is tomorrow’s issue, right now you are practically wearing the damage and you don’t mind whatever dust comes your way. Your good judgment is stuck somewhere in the future.
Did you find yourself in any of the possible scenarios? Whether you are betraying your good instincts knowingly or you do it out of habit, at some point you must figure out that your self-doubt is driving you to different locations. While you are in a constant pursuit of people’s advice, you are slowly withdrawing yourself from making your own decisions. This does not mean it’s particularly a bad thing to share and benefit from advice, only that doing it all the time can cause you to stray from your own intuition.
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