The advice we give others, is the advice that we ourselves need

“The advice we give others, is the advice that we ourselves need.” – Gian-Carlo Rota

There are times when it is extremely easy to pick out the faults or issues of another person.  We look at their decisions in life and we go straight to their core to figure out why they do it.  I think this is probably because we can relate to the person in that area, which makes it easy to identify their faults.  We naturally look for similarities. We quickly identify ourselves in others.

I once heard this same idea described in terms of frustrations.  The things that frustrate us about others are the things that we often don’t like about ourselves.  We struggle with correcting the issue ourselves so it is reassuring to see the same fault in someone else.  The funny thing is that we don’t use this as a way to connect with others.  We rarely bond with another over the qualities that we don’t like about ourselves.  Instead, like the quote says, we give them the advice that we wish we could follow ourselves.  We allow ourselves to feel better about the issue by recognizing it in another.

I used to think that the source of all the major issues in the world came back to insecurities.  I essentially thought that all the worlds problems were created because certain individuals had allowed their insecurities to lead them into bad decisions that affected others.  I think there is some truth to this, but the reason I had come to this conclusion was because all the issues in my life at the time were due to my own insecurities.  I was projecting them on others.  How insecure of me to project my insecurities…

I guess my question is, should we give advice that we need ourselves or are we better off remaining quiet?  I don’t really know.  There is value in both.  However, when you do give advice, be humble, because you probably need to hear it yourself.

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