Advice Fatigue: Sorting Good from Bad
Many people want to change aspects of themselves, and it's natural that they seek help to do so. However, when you seek help from a number of different sources, the different suggestions can conflict with each other. How can you avoid advice fatigue and know what to do to sort this out?
A torrent of advice
It's a common problem. When they need help, people consult magazines, television shows, self-help books, friends and family. It is likely that through doing this you get told about a whole range of things you should do, things you should think and things you should feel differently about. Just because people have the best of intentions about helping you, it doesn't mean that what they suggest is actually going to help. When you try some of these things and they don't work then you can sometimes think that must be your fault because you’re not doing it right and get discouraged.
Anger – an example
Take anger. If you seek it out, there is all sorts of advice about what to do with your feelings of anger. You should manage it. Control and repress it. You should vent! Express it! Get it out! You should take it out on something else. Count to ten. Take deep breaths. Meditate. Exercise … and the list goes on. Clearly, many of these pieces of advice will conflict with each other and under these circumstances it is hard to know what to do. It isn't that people don't mean well, it's just because they only know what worked for them – not you.
Getting individual help
I believe that problems like these need someone experienced to take the time to focus on you and your individual situation. The things you feel and the things you are going through depend very much on your circumstances, your history, your relationships and your needs. Any solution that someone suggests that doesn't take this into account is likely to partially or fully miss the mark, and makes it less likely that it will help you through a long period necessary to make changes.
This is one of the reasons that people sometimes seek out professional help like psychotherapy – they’ve tried other things but it just hasn't worked over the long haul. A psychotherapist will take the time to really understand what's going on for you and to stay with you to work through the inevitable setbacks and discouragements. Sometimes you need the committed help of another person to see you through the long process of becoming new.
– Tim Hill
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