Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t ~ Erica Jong
Isn’t this usually the truth? There are times we actually do need help solving a personal problem, but most of the time I suspect we seek advice not because we don’t actually know what we should do, but because we’re procrastinating making an extremely difficult choice. It’s possible, in those situations, we feel the need for consensus and support before we pull the trigger. Or maybe, like this Mimi & Eunice cartoon suggests, we want someone to blame if it ends badly!
But sometimes seeking advice can actually ratchet up anxiety and pressure, because then more people know your private thoughts and feelings, and those same people are waiting and watching to see what you will do next. In most cases, those facts probably make it harder to act, not easier.
Also, when we indulge in too many protracted discussions about negative aspects of our lives, we invite depression, irritation, and tension to come and take a front row seat. Those influences never improve any circumstance, nor do they make us feel better.
I’m not advocating for people to absolutely avoid opening up to friends and family, or to refuse to ever discuss the different ways a problem can be solved. But I am suggesting maybe we’d be better off at times to just trust our gut instead of seeking input from others, and to face down our demons sooner than later. Like ripping off a Band-Aid – when you do it quickly, you’ll probably experience less pain, and then you’ll be free to start filling your time with more enjoyable and rewarding thoughts and activities.
We’ve all experienced the rush of relief that immediately follows making a hard call. So, if the little voice in your head is telling you to act, go ahead and do it without considering what others might think or do…because ultimately you, and you alone, must live with the consequences anyway.