If the problems I am dealing with were someone else’s problems, I would have great advice to give. Intellectually, I know good actions to take. Why don’t I take my own effing advice!?
Apparently, I’m not alone in this struggle. Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist, best-selling author and advice columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He says that it’s all about perspective.
When we are in a particular situation, we take lots of irrelevant factors into account. But when we’re external to it, we sometimes look at things more objectively.
Hal Hershfield is a psychologist at UCLA. He agrees that it’s all about perspective.
When we think about other people, and what might be right for them, it’s a lot easier to see them as the big picture. It’s much harder to apply that big-picture perspective to ourselves.
Essentially, this is a cognitive bias that psychologists call the fundamental attribution error. This is the the idea that people explain their own actions by the circumstances, but judge others’ behavior as clear signals of their glaring character flaws. (Ex. I trip, the floor is uneven. The floor tripped me. You trip, you’re not paying attention. You’re clumsy.)
If you’ll recall, in an earlier post on NLP fundamentals, and in a post on human perception, I mentioned that people judge themselves based on their intentions, and others based on their actions. Fundamental attribution error is a remarkably similar idea that ties back into perceptual cognitive bias.
Yet, in spite of all I’ve learned, and despite writing about emotional self-regulation every friggin day, I feel like I’m struggling.
Coach someone else? Sure!
Dissociation exercises will give the critical distance necessary to examine the situatin effectively. Check out this post on dissociation.
Dissociation involves stepping back from yourself in your mind’s eye, so that you’re watching yourself have the disruptive emotion from a distance, mentally. This mental distance removes some of the immediate pain, and is very useful…
You can dissociate as many times as you need, so that dissociated self can again step back and watch the other dissociated self watch you have your disruptive emotion. The more mental distance you create, the less the emotion troubles you in the moment.
Yep. I know what to do. Why don’t I do what I know?
Truly, I sometimes feel like the more able I am to handle emotional disruption, the more disruption comes my way. I feel like managing my emotional state has become a full time job.
I’m just so tired.
I feel like a hypocrite imposter. I’m still figuring out my own sh*t. Who am I to try to help someone else? Gargh!
So, I’m relearning fundamentals. Over and over.
It’s complicated. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.
I am having trouble taking my own advice because I’m too emotionally entangled with my own issues. There’s just too much crappola floating about in my head. It’s so much easier to give other people advice than to hear it myself.
Sure, it happens to everyone. There are published experts dealing with exactly this: a blindspot wherein one desperately wants and needs to listen to their own advice. However, one cannot get their sh*t together.
I am one such right now. Can you relate?
Today, fellow travellers, I feel powerfully out of sorts. I need to meditate, and be mindful. I’m starting to notice a behaviour loop I’m stuck in.
I need to break free. I’m going to speak up for myself, and it’s scary as hell.
I have avoided confrontation in the past out of fear. Now, I know that does not serve me, and it’s okay to stand up for myself.