Have a problem with love or life in general? Send Ogonna your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and get them answered here in her column. You can also tweet her at @askogonna.
Reader: Why is it that we give the advice we’re not willing to take ourselves?”
Ogonna: Wow. That is a great question.
I don’t know about you, but I think advice is a lot easier to give than to take, especially the advice we don’t want to give ourselves.
I think there are a number of reasons why we don’t take our own advice. Perhaps we’re suffering from crippling indecisiveness, and we simply cannot function without affirmation from another person. Sometimes, we honestly don’t know the answer and need multiple perspectives to choose from. Or, perhaps we are admittedly fragile human beings who have flaws, make mistakes, and sometimes get so caught up in the moment that we don’t believe in ourselves enough to follow our own valid thoughts and opinions.
That last one was pretty harsh, right? But there’s more to the story.
Truth be told, we can all subscribe to being called accidental hypocrites, to doing things and saying words we genuinely believe for others, yet don’t act out in our own lives. Being an unauthorized self-proclaimed advice columnist myself, I fall short of taking my own advice daily.
In order to give advice, there must be a problem you are addressing. To give ourselves advice, that means we’d have to focus on our own struggles instead of dealing with someone else’s. Nobody wants to do that.
It is so much easier to build up our friends and those close to our hearts when they have been hurt, to comfort them and reaffirm their strengths, talents, and overall awesomeness. It’s easy to see why we love them and we’d stop at nothing to make sure they understand how much they have to offer the world. When it comes to ourselves, we can’t help but self-critique because we know our insecurities, doubts, and vulnerability. It’s harder to listen to our own words because it’s easier to think we’re wrong.
We tell our friends, “Just call him! Why wouldn’t he like you? You’re beautiful, talented, and smart,” or we advise them to “stay in and study this weekend” or “push yourself for that job, you know you have the skills.” Yet, when we find ourselves in the same situation, we doubt our own abilities.
This may come across as disheartening, but the intention is the opposite. Ultimately, I think we don’t want to listen to our own advice because it means there is no longer an excuse for avoiding the truth we knew was there all along.
That’s why we listen to others, those who want to bring out the best in us. When we’re struggling, we’re clouded by our insecurities and forget. Our friends, family, and self-proclaimed advice columnists help us rediscover our strength, to remember everything we forget about ourselves when we’re down.
It takes a lot of courage to apply for your dream job, because you might get rejected and it’ll be that much harder to see your strengths. It takes a lot to share your feelings with others, because they might react negatively and make you feel like your emotions aren’t valid. It takes a lot to tell your crush how you feel because what if they don’t see what other’s say you have to offer? Regardless of the outcome, if we believe in our friends who believe in us, then we should believe in ourselves to start with.