Student or Learner
I came across this expression and I was wondering if it could mean "put one's own interests first" besides "try to change your own faults before pointing out someone else's ones".
I'm sorry but I can't remember: I found it in a book I'm reading, I jot down useful expressions but without always making note of the context.
I'll make a stab at it without context but there is no guarantee that it will be correct. I can see how your suggested definitions would work if a conversation went, for example:
- You look a wreck.
- Your hair's a complete state. Why don't you get it cut?
- Well, that's expensive.
- And your clothes are really old-fashioned and ugly. You should go clothes shopping.
- Really? Well, you know what? I don't think you look too good yourself. Why don't you try tending to your own garden first?!
Admittedly, I have never actually heard that phrase but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If I overheard the conversation above, I would guess that it meant "Sort yourself out first before you start picking on me" even if I'd never heard the phrase before.
Ok thanks, I see your point.
I haven't heard it either, so it may just be the author's phrase. It could work with either meaning.