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November 25, 2021

What we are Actually Looking for When we Ask for Advice.


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How often have you asked for advice from different people and gotten opposite opinions in your life?

When we feel lost and alone, all we want is to be encouraged or for someone to show us the way. We become masters of asking as many opinions as possible only to feel more confused.

We might be lucky enough to have family and friends willing to listen to us when we need to be heard.

However, it might not always be the best solution—not for us, not for them. Because at the end of the day, we are all interacting with each other from our own personal perspective.

Expecting them to have the correct answer is a misunderstanding on our behalf. 

Imagine those times waiting impatiently for a person to call or a TV program to start (you know, back in the day when we couldn’t choose what time a program came on), then when it happens we urgently needed to go to the bathroom—well, all of a sudden, our priorities changed.

And this is the case every day for everyone. No matter how much our friend wants to support us, if their priorities are different that day, they might not be there.

We come to know that from this person we’ll probably get this kind of reply. So now, we choose who we ask so that the answer will be in accordance with what we hope. 

And this is the key to the puzzle.

What we are indeed seeking is to find clarity in our own opinion.

Without knowing it, we have the answer deep down. We could call this “our truth” or instinct, but because we have come so far from listening to our inner voice, we keep looking for love in all the wrong places.

We keep asking for others to tell us what to do and what to think.

Since we are all walking around in our own little universe, other people will gladly tell us what they think. And this is the reason they are not willing to do so for eternity.

Because if we don’t take their advice (agree with their opinion), soon they will feel misunderstood in return and exhausted by trying to help.

The relationship loses its balance; we can’t keep asking and not giving, and we feel more lost and alone.

People have asked for advice on their life choices since the beginning of time. The oracle in Delphi would answer in riddles though, and the inquirer had to interpret for themselves.

If we have to make sense of the answer ourselves, we will naturally find the solution that corresponds to where we are in that moment. So the divination strategy is not to personalize the reply.

But that only worked because people expected the oracle to answer that way. It was the oracle’s role. It would not work as well if our friend or brother did the same.

Two things are important to remember:

1. As my toilet example earlier suggests, we need to set off a time for being heard because things come in the way otherwise.

2. The person listening needs to be aware of their own filters, coloring their opinions when giving advice.

There is a time and a place for everything. And when we seek help from someone, we often don’t consider if it’s the right time for them. Even the person we’re asking is not always aware if it’s the right time and place. And that first point goes hand in hand with the second because only a person aware of their filters will be capable of seeing that maybe today isn’t the right moment.

After the ancient Greeks and the mystics, we confessed to the priest when religion became the order of the world. The answers weren’t riddles anymore but opinions from a book that was subject to interpretation.

It wasn’t until we took an interest in the hidden parts of our consciousness that psychology became a thing. When we realized that what we think and say might not be the depth of our being, we also understood that we need a mirror that reflects the image to us instead of new information.

This is what the therapeutic process offers. It’s a sounding board that allows us to see what comes bouncing back when we verbalize our inner world.


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Charlotte Skogsberg  |  Contribution: 1,985

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