Giving advice, yet not listening to it is natural

Therapy, a woman advicing a worried man

Through life you have surely found people who are “experts” on giving advice on life, advice on socializing, advice on school, etc. Yet they are a complete mess on life, socializing or school. You’d wonder why is that, how can they possibly give advice on something they don’t do right? I’ll explain to you how every one of us act that way, in different degrees…

You see, people act as critics when it comes to give advice. Why as critics? Critics are able to see what’s bad and what’s good with whatever they criticize (being that food, blogs, movies, or music), yet they are not able (or think they’re not, which have the same effect) to make those things, to create; to write a book or compose music. Sure there are people who wrote books and present themselves as critics after that, or who was a great musician and now is a critic. But the point is that now they don’t create, which is why they are critics.

To feel they know about a specific topic makes people like to think about it. We tend to like when people ask us for advice because it feels like they knew or feel we know about the topic, so we then feel comfortable and actually want to give the advice. And it depends on the listener, but generally we like to give it, as they pay attention.

People like to give advice

But when it comes to listening to advice, that’s another story. We like people to ask us for advice in things we know something about, or we think we know. We don’t like giving advice on something we are sure not knowing enough. Yet, when it comes to listening we definitely don’t like people advising us when we didn’t ask for it. And so, we don’t listen to our own advice because we didn’t ask for it. Others are asking you to analyze or rationalize something in order to help them choose the right way to act. We didn’t, and as we try, being humans, to be different from the rest, we won’t listen.

We are able to analyze some actions or behavior in other people easily; we can see them, observe them. We can hear the story from someone else’s lips or feel, instinctively, the behavior or action to analyze. Yet we can’t do that with ourselves that easily. Not only we don’t see ourselves as if there was a mirror in front of us showing us everything we do, but we also shut down our listening systems a bit while hearing to others talking about us.

Yes, we do listen to them, but we don’t analyze; we may remember what they said and that even had some effect on us, but that effect was the literal response to what’s been said: you didn’t think of what was said as why was it said, but just that it objectively has to be truth (it doesn’t always applies, but it does in most cases).

People don’t listen to their own advice as they should

Every person in this world can be like that, because we are all humans. We like to feed our ego (even the most modest person), but needing advice in something means that, obviously depending on your personality, you will or will not listen to it from any other; but you won’t, in any way, listen to it if the person that have to say it is you. You can’t just listen to your own advice because it’s just nonsense: nobody can understand that they may know something in theory, but don’t know how to apply it to the real world. Sheldon may be the best theoretical physicist but I bet he couldn’t fix a car for himself (See TBBT – on IMDb).

But you can, however, ask for advice. You could advice someone on something and then realize you needed that advice, you needed it to be put in practice in yourself. In that case, ask for it: ask a friend or a relative for advice in that matter. If you truly need it, they’ll tell you. Don’t worry, it’s a common practice and as it was said above, most of the time people like to give advice.

Photo by drewleavy

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