Why is it so hard to follow your own advice?

Do you ever feel bad that you can’t seem to follow your own advice? Then you’re not alone! I’ve blogged about several different topics and given advice that I sometimes struggle to follow myself. I might know what I need to do, but the problem is getting started, or even completely forgetting things when I’m in the moment!

Pesky emotions

One reason I think it’s so difficult, is that we’re often too close to our own problems. After all, we aren’t completely rational creatures – we experience emotions that can be overwhelming. Take fear, for example. It keeps you alive by alerting you to danger, so it makes sense that it would get in the way of your problem solving! It takes an iron will to push through fear, even if your rational mind knows that there’s no real threat.

Perhaps you feel guilty when you need to prioritise yourself in certain situations. If you’re a people-pleaser, then looking after number one can feel strange, or even selfish.

And it’s not even just ‘negative’ emotions. For me personally it can be hard to pass up the instant gratification of avoiding things, even though I know they might be good for me in the future. I have been known to avoid a social gathering in order to go shopping by myself!

Driven to distraction

Sometimes life just gets in the way. There’s a whole list of essential things to think about. Work, family life, education, and household chores can take up a lot of time and energy, so it’s understandable that our problems can end up on the back burner. We can be so busy that it’s not always clear what our problems are, let alone how to fix them.

You’re not in the right place yet

It’s easy to judge yourself harshly, but the truth is you may not be in a position to follow your own advice. Perhaps you’re ill, busy or you don’t feel strong enough to deal with things right now. Whatever the reason, try to be kind to yourself, with help you can get there.

So, when you think about it, it’s easy to see the basics of someone else’s life and give them advice. The hard bit is navigating it all by yourself and turning advice into action. This is where I think a therapist, mental health professional, or even a trusted friend can guide you. It’s great to listen to your inner wisdom, but don’t feel bad if you need help, you’re only human.

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