Follow Your Own Advice

I know some pretty smart people. I mean genuinely intelligent, knowledgable people. I’m not saying this group of folks will be starting their own chapter of MENSA, but they’re some bright individuals. Except when it comes to day-to-day living.

It would seem, at times, that some of life’s most basic decisions leave them baffled as to what course to take, or what choice to make. I think most of us agree that one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with others, is the Golden Rule…

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s so simple, and just makes good sense.

But that’s when dealing with others. What about when it comes to looking out for our own well being? I propose a new axiom…

“Follow your own advice.”

It is important to make note this is not said in a snide way, nor with sarcasm. Simply, it is said with the intention to get the listener to think it through. To look at the situation from the perspective of a third party. It is especially helpful if they have kids. For example…

Not long ago, a friend was experiencing some serious health issues. In talking with her about these issues, I asked how soon she could get in to see a doctor. She said she couldn’t see a doctor. This was before the ACA went into effect, and at the time she had a job which did not include medical insurance, therefor she could not afford a trip to the doctor. To be clear, we’re not talking about cold symptoms, or a twisted ankle. We are talking about potentially life-threatening symptoms, bad enough they made her (and me) fearful for her life.

“What would you do,” I asked, “if it were one of your sons who had these symptoms? Damn the cost, you’d have had them at the doctor yesterday. Because you are a good mother, and you would do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Right now, that means doing what it takes to make sure they still have a mother tomorrow.”

Another example…

A woman I know was dating a man who, it was clear to me, was far from worthy of her time. In her heart, she knew it, too. But, she suffered through all the verbal abuse, the condescension, and heartaches for this reason, and that reason. One day she mused out loud that she just wasn’t sure what to do. I posed the question, “What would you say to your daughter if she were dating a man like him?” That was followed by a long, oh so very long pause, and quiet contemplation.

As always, I don’t want you to think I’m of the opinion that I am perfect, and always do this myself. Because, as always, I’ll be the first to admit I am FAR from perfect, and would do well to take my own advice on a daily basis. Over the past year, I’ve made more of an effort to do so, and am getting a bit better at it.

My hope is that this way of thinking might be of help to any who are going through some trial, looking for a nudge in the right direction. Take a moment. Think it through. Ask yourself ” What would I say to my best friend if they were in this situation? What would I do if it were one of my kids going through this?” Often, taking this point of view helps make the decision a bit easier.

I hope this helps. Be well, my friends.

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