As my niece sulked beside me I told her “well you can’t do anything about it now, so there’s no point having a face on.”
And that’s when it hit me. I was a hypocrite.
Here I was, rummaging through the biscuit tin (the New Year health-kick is going well, obviously) telling her not to worry about things that had already happened and that couldn’t be changed. I’d spouted this wisdom in such a nonchalant way, as if it was common sense. Yet it was a piece of advice that I never follow. It was just one of many. Give me your problem and I will come up with a sound piece of advice (even if it is just a Cosmopolitan feature reworded) yet through me up against an obstacle of my own and it all goes to pieces. I’ll happily tell you not to mull over things, then spend the night trying to analyse what somebody meant when they uttered a sentence three months ago.
The always amazing Oscar Wilde famously noted that “the only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on”
This quote has stood the test of time, mainly because it applies to everyone. Everyone, which includes me, probably you, and especially that one friend who can sort out your life in one swift text, yet is constantly dating losers.
So why is it we can never follow our own advice?
Some people claim it’s because we are all secretly gluttons for punishments. We all like having something to moan about. Especially her, with the whingey Facebook statuses, you know the one.
Others argue that it’s all down to fear. We’re good at passing on advice because it is all well and good telling a friend to dump a lover or quit a job. Willingly throwing yourself into singledom or unemployment, however, is a whole different ball game.
Another group of people push forward the theory of self-doubt. When you pass on words of wisdom, you place yourself in the role of advisor. Which is a nice role to be in, it’s a lot better than being the person with a problem; so when we offer advise we feel confident in ourselves, and therefore in our opinions. When you’re faced with a problem yourself though, you allow a bit of self-doubt to seep in, causing you to question what you would otherwise believe to be sound advice.
Now I don’t think any of these theories are spot on. But I do know that I should probably try to follow my own advice more. So, nearly half way through February, I’ve found myself with another new year’s resolution to add to the list. If by some miracle, I do follow my own advice, I might find solutions to problems sooner. At any rate, I’ll be less of a hypocrite. So, how’s that for a win-win situation.
*Just in case the arrow wasn’t clear in the photo, I’m the hypocrite in the image, not Rachel. Rachel’s ace.