The problem with other people’s advice is not necessarily that it’s bad. The problem with other people’s advice is that it can cause you to betray the most important relationship of your life.
I was having a zoom chat with a new colleague about a project I was going to focus on in 2022.
He advised that I do something different than what I was planning. His advice sounded similar to lots of advice I have heard from other people in my industry.
The problem is (does this happen to you?) — I think my industry is in need of revolution and I don’t usually want to do what my industry thinks I should do.
The bigger problem is that the decision had already been made — extensive second-guessing would be a betrayal of my own self-trust.
But because inside of me lives an older version of myself who was trained to trust everyone else’s opinion before her own, I spent the next 24 hours re-thinking my decision and trying to figure out how I might be able to fit myself into the idea of what everyone else thinks I should be doing.
Raise your hand if you’ve experienced that moment when you feel caught between what feels right in your bones and what people keep telling you you really should do….
Advice, however well-intentioned, is offered by people who do not know what it is like to live in your body, to live with your life history, and to hear your own life’s path whispering to you.
We do not need more advice. We need space and courage to trust the life that is speaking to us.
In that 24-hours, I had forgotten my critical promise to myself:
Gather perspectives from people you trust. But decisions are INSOURCED. Approval is INSOURCED. You are the authority on what’s best for you.
This time of year can feel like A LOT. If we’re lucky, we have the opportunity to connect with family and loved ones, but it’s also a time for going inward to reflect, recalibrate, and set intentions for our next chapter.
The confluence of these two aspects of this part of the year means that sacred and deep conversation with self can sometimes be muddied by unsolicited advice, opinions, and our very natural desire for approval.
It’s strange that our world inundates us with strategies around relationship-building with others, but our relationship with ourselves — the only relationship that is a guaranteed constant throughout our entire lives — gets much less airtime.
In case this resonates, here are 4 ideas to put a protective boundary around your trust and relationship with yourself at this time of year:
1. Set aside some quiet time, sometime between now and the end of the year, to do some reflection on your year.
2. Give yourself permission to opt-OUT of any “helpful holiday conversation” that begins with you know what you really should do… or ANY conversation or obligation that might come between the trust you are building with yourself.
3. The next time you feel inspired to give advice (which is natural — we all do it) try responding with curiosity instead. Notice how asking questions instead of telling someone what to do affects the sparkle in their eyes, their breathing pattern, the enthusiasm in their voice.
4. Make the radical commitment to INSOURCE decisions and approval. (this might change your life)
And if you’ve been searching for clarity on something and haven’t been able to find it, consider if you’ve really consulted yourself about what you want to do.
Are you trying to outsource your decisions because it’s easier to trust others than yourself? Are you waiting for someone to approve what you already know to be true?
Sometimes clarity is blocked because we are trying to fit ourselves inside of other people’s plans and visions instead of listening to our own.
What happens when we listen to our own voice?