I was having lunch with a friend this week. He was giving me the run down on all the struggles and frustrations of his life in the present moment. He asked me for my advice since he knew I had faced similar challenges.
What I found myself doing was not just telling him how I had overcome the challenges, but how to do even more than what I had done before.
Halfway through the conversation, a strange, surreal lightness came over me.
I realized I wasn’t just telling him what HE should do.
I was telling MYSELF what I should do.
Many lessons came flooding back to me in that moment and my friend had to jar me into finishing the conversation. It wasn’t until after our lunch that I explained why I had paused.
The thing is, we all tell others what THEY should do, and not follow our own advice.
The ‘flooding’ that came across me was a multitude of things. I’ll list a few here and see if you don’t recognize your own actions in the same light.
- I had told someone they should make their own web site to promote their photography, yet…I had not done one to promote my writing (I have now!!!)
- I had told someone with money issues to review their accounts every day, yet when times came about when I was forgetting to pay bills on time, I wasn’t reviewing my own accounts.
- I had told another person to stop putting off taking a trip to Europe in some far off ambiguous day in the future and start planning it now, yet I had a dream of going to Europe and had done nothing about it. Not even a passport!
- I had told a friend who was lamenting the fact they never met anyone of the opposite sex to date but never went anywhere or did anything, yet I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have business opportunities that I used to have but I wasn’t getting out either!
I could go on and on, but I think you probably have found yourself in the same situation.
Additionally, there are many schools of thought about the people we bring into our existence: friends, family, business associates, lovers, etc. That the people we like reflect qualities we like about ourselves. And the people that irritate us the most, remind of us the traits in ourselves we despise.
Don Miguel Ruiz, in the Four Agreements, one of the agreements explains that we…
“‘Don’t Take Anything Personally,’ because nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering”
If this is true, then our own projections that we put out to people are simply what we wish for ourselves. Although we may truly wish for others to have good experiences and not suffer the same mistakes we made ourselves, what we speak is ultimately because of our own reality and experiences.
In Loving What Is, by Byron Katie, she takes you through “the work” to make sure that things you feel that are being done to you actually need to go through a “turn around” and see what is within yourself. You can experience “the work” at http://www.thework.com/thework.asp, but I highly recommend you get the book.
All the above was simply to say, “I’m taking my own advice.”
I am careful in my advice and add the disclaimer, “This is from my experience and you need to see what feels best for you in your situation.”
I am also careful to listen to others when they give advice to see what it is they really want. It becomes an interesting game when you begin to see that what you say is for you and what others say is for them. Even giving someone a compliment is given so YOU can make someone ELSE feel good, which in turn makes YOU feel good.
So, the next time you find yourself giving advice, see if you’re Taking Your Own Advice as well.
When I read this I’m reminded of a line in “Alice in Wonderland”:
I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.
Good column and important, dare I say it, advice. Keep on trucking. 🙂