Brilliant. This is brilliant. My friend Danielle did a post a little over a month ago that I just had to share. I can't think of a single thing to add to this post to make it better or more clear. And so, dear readers, I simply copy and paste for your enjoyment. Read, think, and then comment. Feel free to leave your comments here - or at Danielle's blog.
Two days ago I sought the help of a trusted friend as I struggled with a decision to contact my ex. I had a seemingly legitimate reason I swear! Earlier that day I received a stupid chain text message on my phone from a number I didn't recognize. I sent a reply text and asked who it was. Turns out it was my ex's daughter. Great. Not only did the the text inform me that it was national "make out" week, it also warned me that if I did not send it to everyone in my contacts list that I would remain single for four years. I REALLY did not need to receive this message from my ex boyfriend's tween-age daughter. After I realized it was her I froze with uncertainty, not having a clue how to respond. What the heck? Should I text her back? Ignore her? What??? I ended up sending her a message that said "oh hey, didn't recognize the number, hope you are well!" To which she replied, "Ya." I left it at that. Afterwards, I contemplated letting my ex know that the whole exchange took place. I worried that somewhere down the road he'd hear that I texted her, and I really didn't want him to think that I was a crazy stalker trying to get to him through his daughter. As I began drafting the email, I made the call to my friend to get a second opinion about my plans. She emphatically insisted that I not send the email. She reminded me that I did not owe him an explanation and challenged me to think about why I was really contacting him. Her advice was very helpful and right on the money, so I ended up deleting the email, confidently knowing that whatever happens on my ex's end is of no concern to me.
Two days later, that same friend called to tell me that not only had she contacted her lowlife, scum of the earth, loser, two timing, sexist, manipulative, ex lover who she dated while he had a girlfriend, she also went out to lunch with him. This piece of crap literally asked her if she would be okay being the "other woman" again because he missed having her in his life yet did not want to hurt the current girlfriend who he plans on marrying. -Again, pig. My friend, despite being beautiful, kind, thoughtful, funny, and just plain wonderful, sincerely struggles to cut this guy off, because lets face it, being single in this oft cruel world is hard. It is so easy to fall back into the most destructive relationships because the are familiar, and they feel good in some (albeit sick and dysfunctional) ways.
After she told me, I made sure not to judge her because I have been in that boat. We usually judge ourselves harshly enough when we do stupid shit like that. I knew she was sharing her actions with me because she was unhappy about them. She didn't need me telling her how stupid she was being. She was beating herself up enough. I tried my best to encourage her to stay strong and to not get side tracked by this slight digression. But most importantly, I reminded her of the valuable advice she gave me two measely days before!
We both kind of chuckled over the whole thing because in my weak moments of stupidity I too have simultaneously given friends kick ass advice that for some reason or another I could not follow myself. WHY IS THAT? Why do we know what others should do, hell we even know what we should do, yet we can never take our own advice? I know that saying, "It's easier said than done" but that explanation doesn't cut it for me. There has to be something far deeper that is to blame for this phenomenon.
Is it possible that we can't follow our own advice because if we could we would be less inclined to depend on one another (in a good way?) Imagine if everyone followed their own advice all the time. Can you imagine how many cell phone bills would drastically go down, how many "Dear Abby" columns would cease, and how many relationship experts would be out of jobs? It would be mayhem! I think it is possible that our dependence on supportive networks, friends, family, etc is a necessary component of a healthy life, BUT where is the balance? I wonder sometimes what it would take to achieve a healthy balance between knowing when to take the advice of others, when to take our own advice, and realizing we are sabotaging ourselves when we choose "none of the above."
Through this tough love, heart to heart conversation with my friend we realized that in addition to sharing great advice with one another, we have come to understand that we really need to learn how to listen to ourselves more. I asked her last night to tell herself what to do as if she was talking to me. In other words, I told her to think of herself as her own best friend. You wouldn't make excuses for your best friend, you wouldn't overlook or minimize your best friends ignoramus of an ex, so why would you when it comes to yourself? If I could be my own BFF I would probably take much better care of myself, and I'd probably make much wiser decisions especially in regards to relationships. Just a thought.