I am facing a dilemma. Someone I know once (long time back) helped me get into a good habit, and abandon the accompanying bad habit, and now they have fallen into the same trap as me. I want to let them know of this, but I can't find the proper way to do this. I am looking for a proverb, idiom, phrase, or a historical reference which I could use to subtly remind that person of that fact.

Being direct might get me a quicker response, but I am afraid beginning from that might make the person less receptive to my advice. I am looking for something that I can use to get the other person thinking before I finally approach this topic.

Something suggestive, yet powerful.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Not an answer, not even a comment, just an aside: do not "let them know of this". Certainly not "Something suggestive, yet powerful." You are grateful to one who "helped get into a good habit", period.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 7:00
  • @Kris That is good advice. For the last couple of years I have had the same mindset. But the thing that is pushing me to do something is guilt. Perhaps not the most rational of emotions, but seeing a person who once helped me destroy his potential is just plain painful. Maybe not like this, but this just feels like something I should do. Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


2 sentences that comes to my mind are:

Physician, heal yourself! 1


The shoemaker's children go barefoot 2

Both are referring to people who are able to help others, but have problems help themselves. Although the situation is a bit other, because in your case the person that have helped you got the same problem not in the same time, but afterwards.

Disclaimer while in first case I'm sure it has the same meaning as in my languange, in second case in Polish the saying is referring to the shoemaker going barefoot himself.

  • I like the first one alot. it's facetious but strong.
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 16:03
  • The first one is very good, thank you. Apologies on not upvoting the answer, apparently you need to be of at least of 15 reputation to do that. Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 9:22

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