We know about relationships, personal politics and friendship. When someone comes to us for advice, we’re ready. We tell the people we care about that they deserve someone who buys them flowers and rubs their feet at the end of the day. We tell them they should quit the job that makes them unhappy, even if it means they’ll barely get by. We tell them to end friendships with people who make them feel ugly. We do this and go home with the hollow feeling that we’ve been giving out truth tea that won’t go down so easily when we try to drink it ourselves. It’s bland, nor does it fit for us; yet we hand out advice to others because subconsciously it’s nice to remind ourselves that we think that we’re wise creatures.
As for love, we raise our fists in outrage when our friends are scorned or sobbing. We’re ready to go to battle for everyone we adore because the scars we carry from fighting for them are easier to wear than the ones from fighting for ourselves. They’re badges of pride that scream to the world, “I love my friends.”
We don’t take the advice we give because that would require proactivity. That would mean rejecting the idea that we’re unworthy of love and happiness. That would mean looking at ourselves in the mirror and saying the words we’re so quick to offer others, “Get your life together.” And maybe we do need to get our lives together, but it’s harder to hear that from ourselves than someone else. When a friend offers us the advice we desperately need to hear, it’s easy to step back and shut down. We tell ourselves, “That isn’t applicable to me,” and the friend’s thoughts are suddenly non-existent. We see what we want to see when we want to see it.
We’d prefer to barrel through life with blinders on and deal with emotional wreckage when the time feels right. Little do we realize when that time comes, we’ll be at wit’s end; grasping for sanity. We see ourselves as punching bags, flexible, and “easy going,” because in a time where it’s chill to be chill and feel like any dissent we cause is wrong, it is smoother to settle for resignation.
We see everything in a colored scope where it’s easier to be the martyr. The fear of being a bitch when we do stand up for ourselves is even easier to succumb to. Maybe we can’t internalize the advice we receive because we don’t really know what would make us happy.
—Follow Shawn Binder on Twitter: @ShawnBinder