We all know the famous saying "advice I sell, but for me I don't have" and, in this case, popular wisdom hits full, or at least in my case it does. And that phrase could be my mantra of life, the rule based on which I manage my life.
If I had to define myself with a well-known serial character, I would say that I am Lily Aldrin from how I Met Your Mother. And, although sometimes I tried to avoid it, I like to give advice or rather, help other people to be able to get out of a problem. Y Not only do I like it, but I am good at it.
We lose rationality when our emotions come into play
The reality is that I am good at listening and helping those who come to me to find their own solution – that it's always better than telling someone what to do -. In general, who knows me knows that I am good at reading situations, people and social relationships, as well as trying to be objective and empathetic.
With a huge exception: when it comes to my own life. And, when the situation is mine and there are emotions involved, all my objectivity and rationality jump out the window. So, although some people who tell me their problems may believe that I am a very focused and sensible person, the reality is that I do not know how to handle my dramas, worries or stressful situations.
The good news is that it seems that I am not alone in this, and this situation is so common that it has even received a name and has been the subject of several investigations. Habitually it is known as Solomon's paradox.
He receives this name because King Solomon was known for being very wise and having very good judgment. So much so that some people traveled very long distances only to receive advice from Solomon. But nevertheless, his life was full of bad decisions. Does it sound to you?
One of the psychologists who has investigated the most on this matter has been Igor Grossmann who, in his research, finds that Solomon's case – and mine – it was not an isolated case, but it is something that happens to many people.
One of the reasons seems to be the search for additional information. That is, when someone tells us a problem they are living, we tend to be interested in delving a little deeper into the information we have Regarding this situation, beyond what the first person tells us.
In addition, we also try address the situation from multiple and different perspectives and, even, to look for a solution that implies certain compromise also by the one who tells us the problem.
However, when it comes to our own situation, we look for much less additional information, we are less inclined to try to analyze the situation from different perspectives and it costs us much more to take a solution that implies commitment and compromise from our side
How to change our perspective
Luckily, this same author analyzed what can we do who suffer the Solomon's paradox to try to apply the wisdom we show with others, also to our own lives.
One of the strategies that seem to work is trying to think about our story or tell it in the third person. These researchers found that when we speak in the third person, rather than in the singular, we recover to some extent the ability to seek more information, analyze the situation from different perspectives and look for a solution that implies commitment on our part.
That is, the trick could be in eliminate ourselves as the main actors in the situation, so that by verbalizing it in the third person we can analyze it as we would with a friend.
That is, what is really important when it comes to being able to treat our problems as we would treat those of a friend it lies in the situation itself and in the perspective we take before it. Regardless of our age or our intelligence. If we want to be able to apply our own advice, the best solution seems to be to treat our problems as if they were someone else's.
So, from now on, I will try to tell me my problems, doubts, uncertainties or complaints as if he were talking about someone else's foreign to my life. If it works, maybe I can give this advice to others too.
Images | How I Met Your Mother, Giphy