The Yodeler

When will we give ourselves good advice?

She told me she ate rock salt at work so that she would start vomiting and sent home. The moment my friend said this I asked, “why didn’t you just go to the bathroom and pretend to have vomited and just tell them you did? Why eat rock salt and make yourself vomit?” She stared back at me as if I’d discovered something no human would or could ever have.

This friend is the type that could be walking in the desert, fall into a puddle of water, then complain that her shoes and clothes got wet while angrily walking away into the barren heat. She is also the friend that is most likely to get hit by lightning or an asteroid and make contact with an alien race while walking to the store. She’s just wired that way.

I, however, am wired differently. I do things that make no sense to anyone else and give advice that directly contradicts my actions. Then again, aren’t we all that way?

I can give the best relationship advice and am never able to land a third date with anyone. I’ve helped many a friend decide to take the next step, propose, set up a great date, say the perfect thing, etc. However, when it comes to my dating game, I’m abysmal at giving myself good, working advice. What good advice I give, I retract and replace with negative feedback.

It makes me wonder on the phrase “practice what you preach.” I wonder if not following your own advice is along those lines. However, what if you honestly do your best with relationships but find yourself never successfully having a relationship? What if you give excellent family advice and have a horrid relationship with your family? What if you give the best advice on navigating faith yet find yourself mostly an atheist?

I wonder if we give the best advice on something with which we are unfortunate or never truly succeed in ourselves? Being one of these people, I want to know the central question: is it that I know the ins-and-outs of that which I give good advice because I’ve tried and been unsuccessful until now, or am I truly not following my own advice that I easily give to others?

The answer may be neither, either, or a mixture of both, depending on the situation. We advise what we are familiar with; just because some advice didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for a friend. Perhaps that’s the key to this puzzle. Perhaps we give advice that we have tried and not succeeded because we saw that it is good advice but didn’t match with our specific circumstances.

Edison took 1000 times to get the lightbulb to work. Maybe if he gave me advice, I would have been successful the 500th time? Maybe that’s how this works? Maybe not. Any advice on how it does? Don’t worry advice-givers, your life may be shit, but so is mine; don’t worry about it. That’s my advice!

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