Advice is seldom valued. Usually we do not want advice - we want flattery. And yet
one cannot easily be our flatterer and our friend at the same time. Some people
actually owe more to bitter enemies than to pleasant friends. The former
sometimes speak the truth; the latter seldom do. An enemy is often a friend in
disguise who stings us into action. He tells us the truth about ourselves.
Criticism is the hardest medicine to take, but it keeps us awake, while the
kindness of a courteous friend is an opiate that puts us to sleep. Everyone
ought to have a person who can cut into the tissues of his attitudes and habits
occasionally, not to kill him but to bring him back to life. It’s easy to see
faults from the sidelines, but everyone has a blind spot where he himself is
concerned. If we are so fortunate as to have someone who will occasionally give
us the facts about our problems, we shouldn’t get angry at them. We should
listen and keep our heads out of the sand and our eyes and ears open.