Learning To Take Advice

chai-tea-latteI don’t want to sit here and toot my own horn or anything…but I’m the friend that friends go to for advice. I am the friend that will give it to you straight. I call it like I see it. When you are being crazy and idiotic and want my advice, well, I’m gonna tell you that you are being crazy. And I’m gonna sit you down and give you the game plan of how to make things better. And I’ll usually do it with two large Chai Tea Lattes in hand and an order of Papa John’s with garlic dipping sauce on the way. What can I say? I’d rather be full of pizza than feelings.

The only person that I can’t give it to straight? Myself. 

I consider myself a pretty emotionally intuitive person. I am usually able to identify how I’m feeling and the cause of my emotions. Because I am the friend that people seek out for help and advice, I feel that I should be responsible for giving myself that same advice. I should be able to help myself better than anyone, right?

When problems/issues/tragedies/*insert melodramatic life event here*, I disappear. I shut myself off from all friends and family. I schedule myself for “me” time, so I can sit down, write a little, and solve all my problems and the rest of the world’s problems single-handedly.

Unknown-2Ya know how many times that has turned out well for me? Zero. The alone time turns into the hours of Taylor Swift and Breaking Bad.

I don’t shower, I don’t eat, and something usually gets reorganized. Clothing usually gets thrown out.

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Dishes actually get washed – which is about the only productive part of my social hiatus. I emerge from my cave five days later with 800 text messages from friends wondering why I’ve dropped off the face of the planet. Texts like “Why do you hate me?” and “Are you sure you don’t want to talk?” Texts like “LetZ go OUT and get WEIRDDDDD! PARTY TYME”

And then the texts from my mother that make be bawl: “Don’t know what is going on. I love you so much. I’m here to listen.”

And then the guilt sets in, and I realize what a royal prick I am being.

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When I do allow myself to have social interaction again, I always start with “I don’t want to talk about it.” I agree to see my friends as long as they don’t force me to spill my feelings. I don’t like taking advice from other people because taking advice means admitting that I need it. Accepting help from others means acknowledging that something is wrong. It means staring at my problems in the face and dealing with them. And well, sometimes I’d just rather not. I just wanna bake a cake full of rainbows and smiles and have everyone be happy. I don’t wanna burden others with my crap. Who wants to spend their Saturday night listening to my problems that aren’t really problems?

I also don’t like being wrong. I don’t like admitting that I’ve messed up. I don’t like finding a new solution to problems because it means I’ve been using the wrong solution. I’d rather just get it right on the first try. When others give me advice, I take it extremely personally. I immediately react on the defense. Full padding, ready to tackle.

“What do you mean I have to just keep trying harder? Do you think I am not trying hard enough? Are you implying I am being inefficient? You think I am lazy? What are you trying to say about me? Why do you think I am stupid and ugly?”

Real life convo right there, folks. You give advice, and all I hear is “YOU SUCK.”

I’m actively working on changing this. I really enjoy the phrase “actively working.” I will probably never be perfect at taking advice (which seems funny to say because I basically just described how perfection is pretty much my ultimate goal all the time…). But I can always actively work on being better at taking advice. It’s not personal, it’s business, right?

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I want to be better at advice and feedback. I want to be able to hear criticism and not retreat to my cave with “White Horse” on cue. I want to hear it and say “Thank you.” You care enough to help me. You care enough to make me better. As I embark on a this thing that people keep calling my “Career Path” I need to get better at this ASAP. But I guess the first step is admitting it. If I am aware of it, I can actively work to change it. So here’s to a new way of looking at advice and feedback. And here is a big virtual hug to my friends and family that are aware of my “royal prick” stage and are willing to put up with it until I come around.

Cheers to growing up, eh?

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About Melissa Faulkner

1. If I blog, someone will eventually discover me. 2. If someone eventually discovers me, I will become rich and famous. 3. If I blog, I will become rich and famous. Follow me for shorter, daily doses! @melisslyss
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