When it comes to our friends, we’re always trying to find ways to help them. We look out for each other, and when someone we’re close with is going through a rough time with a job or a boy, our natural response is to try and help them figure out what to do about it. We spend hours of our weeks giving our best friends advice. Don’t sleep with him, don’t smoke that, don’t go there, be careful, don’t get hurt. We’re so careful with them. We treat their lives like newborn babies – fragile and in need of delicate care. Why do we care so much about others lives, but we’re so reckless with our own?
On occasion, our own lives are a wreck. We slept with a different him, smoked a different that, went there, were careless, got hurt. Our friends gave us the same advice we gave them but we didn’t listen. We give out all this sage advice but we rarely take it ourselves. We expect our friends to value our advice, but we ignore this same advice in regards to our own problems.
Do we think we’re not worth the advice? Or do we simply think we don’t need it? We are, and we do. Sure, we’re adults who can make our own decisions, but sometimes we need a fresh perspective on things, the same kind of fresh perspective we’re trying to give our friends when we hand out advice. When we look at our own life, it’s just as messy as the lives of our friends who we’re trying to help. Why do they need cleaning up, but we can live through the mess? We need to learn to take our own advice, or stop giving it. Why waste our breath if we wouldn’t do the things we’re saying ourselves? We can’t be so hypocritical. If you tell your friend not to do something that you would probably do anyway, what’s the point?
Sometimes we act all high and mighty with our friends, as if we know what they should be doing with their time and decisions. Even if we had our life together we wouldn’t have the right to do that, and what’s worse is we don’t really have anything together. The same decisions they’re struggling with, we struggle with too. None of us know. How do we help each other then? That fresh perspective we’re always trying to give each other? We need to keep giving it – but we need to be re gifting it from our friends to ourselves.
When a friend is stuck and doesn’t know what to do about something, we start brainstorming solutions we can throw at them. The next time your best friend is trying to decide what to do about that guy that isn’t treating her right, as you dole out your advice, think to yourself, “Have I ever needed to hear this advice myself?” We often justify to ourselves why our problems are so much different. “Oh no,” we think, “Her man treats her much worse than mine does….even though he never texts me back….but still, it’s different.”
No, it’s not different. Listen to the advice you’re giving your friend. If she doesn’t take it, that’s fine. You came up with it though. You have no excuse. Take your own advice.
It’s natural to want to help and give advice to our friends. Sometimes we actually do know more on a subject than that do, and so our guidance is well justified. On many occasions though, they’re dealing with the same crazy young 20 something shit we are. When giving advice, we need to start recognizing that this is something we need to try too. It might even feel more collaborative, if two friends together decide we’re going to take the advice we give each other and actually try to make a change. If we start remembering this more often, to take our own advice, we might start being a little less messy ourselves. Maybe. If not, no worries. There’s a lot of advice to go around and a lot of years left to hear it in.