When life throws us challenges (as it so often does), it’s natural to look outside of ourselves to seek the best solutions. Whether it’s a nagging problem, a burning question or just a decision we must make, we turn to external factors to determine next steps... once we’re finished procrastinating, that is!
It might be a friend, a family member or even the Internet we expect to provide us. Advice is dished out left and right these days. There are countless columns, articles and self-help books just waiting to assist you in solving your problems.
On top of those, certain people in your life will contribute their two cents, whether you asked them or not.
But, when we're looking for advice in every external outlet, aren’t we forgetting about the answers we already have?
You know the answer.
I can vouch for the fact that it’s not crazy to look to yourself for advice. It is, however, easy to forget how much experience we have accumulated.
When it comes to writing up a résumé, we aren’t afraid to talk ourselves up and extensively detail all of our achievements within our experiences. So, why do we sometimes feel unqualified to advise ourselves?
We have experienced hardships, tough moments and learning curves first-hand. For every mistake we make, we’re the ones who have to learn. We’re the ones taking notes on how to better ourselves. We’re the ones who have secured jobs, partners, friends, money, possessions and everything else.
Whatever we have, we have experienced We know a hell of a lot about how to get by and all of the decisions we have made have brought us to this point, right here.
So, never underestimate the vast knowledge you have, in fact, gained. You know how to run your own life.
But, it’s important to realize that this knowledge must be consciously applied. It can be gathered continuously over years, but unless you connect to it, it will just sit there and only be of use when you’re distributing it to everyone else.
You have gut instincts for a reason.
It’s up to you to listen to your gut, your feelings and your instincts.
As well as having learned from the past, you will also have some idea about what you want your future to be like. Even if it’s unclear, or if all you know is that it will be a life free of everything you don’t want, you have some inkling of how your own ideal progression looks.
You intuitively hold some form of end goal to whatever is troubling you. You know the kind of people you want in your life. You have a notion of what makes you tick, what or who puts a smile on your face and how you want your life to pan out.
You’ve got to get in touch with those instincts and the feelings deep within the pit of your gut. You need to listen during those moments when your heart sinks or your stomach flips and realize that it means something.
When you smile unwillingly or tears spring to your eyes, you know there’s something real happening, and you need to open your mind to it.
Act as if you’re advising a friend.
If it’s tough to trust your own advice at the moment and understand what your gut aims to say, that’s okay. But, when issues do arise, you can still be your own advisor.
You can try to detach yourself from the problem and look at it as if it belongs to someone else. Identify the problem clearly and ask, 'If my friend came to me with this problem, what would I say?'
Some of us, (myself definitely included) like to give out advice because we have answers, but unfortunately, we struggle to apply them to our own situations. But, this just takes practice.
You need to connect to the words you’re saying and work on allowing yourself to genuinely believe them. Sometimes, it’s more natural to feel that others deserve the best, so advice for them comes easily. But when it comes to ourselves, we act as though we deserve to just "settle" or "get by."
Settling is not okay, however. We need to value ourselves as highly as any other person who comes to us for advice. We need to advise ourselves with the best possible outcome in mind. Most importantly, we need to ensure we take our own advice seriously.
Helping ourselves is one of the best ways to help others.