Take Your Own Advice 0

Giving advice1

What do you think your wife should be doing?  What does your kid need to learn about life?  What should your friend do to help himself?  It seems easy to dole out judgments and advice to others.  This is good news, because we’re usually puzzled about what to do for ourselves.  How do we know what we need to do more of, or what we should do to help ourselves?  Easy.  Just listen to the advice you have for others.

When I first met my wife, she was very spiritually connected.  That fell away for her, and for years I kept buying her spiritual books, wanting to see her return to spirituality.  Finally it occurred to me that what I really wanted was my own connection to spirit.  I was projecting my own need onto her and connecting to spirit through her, and expected her to do the work of reconnection.  But that was my task, not hers.

My seven year old son and I were recently playing the game of Life, and he had a mini tantrum because he kept having to pay out money.  I gave him an unfortunately lengthy lecture about needing to be okay with losing, and about how loss and failure is part of life and necessary to learning.  Afterwards I realized that I had not been dealing well with some recent failures of my own in my accounting practice.  I was administering medicine to him that I needed to take myself.

The other night I was at my men’s group, and I told three different men that they should be more appreciative and compassionate with themselves.  Can you see the pattern yet?  Knowing what we need to do for ourselves is not so hard to figure out if we pay attention to the advice we have for others, both spoken and unspoken.

Sometimes these messages come embedded in a strong emotional reaction.  Let’s say you’re angry because your boss criticized your work.  The thought behind the anger might be, “She should appreciate me more.”  Now turn the thought around to yourself: “I should appreciate me more.”  Next ask, am I appreciating myself enough?  If the answer is no, then the task is to make a practice of appreciating yourself each day.  When you appreciate yourself, it won’t matter so much what your boss says.

Now ask yourself these three questions: What do you think those around you should be doing?  Is that something you should do for yourself?  What action can you take around this issue?

Please post questions and comments, and pass along to your friends.