Saturday, June 6, 2015

WHO KNOWS YOU THE BEST? YOU DO!

by Mary Kennedy                                       
 
Who knows you better than anyone in the world? Well, you do, of course! Does this sound strange, coming from a psychologist? After years of being in private practice, I've learned that most people really do have the answer to their problems, the key to their hopes, wishes and fears. But...sometimes the truth is buried deep inside. Below the level of consciousness, as Freud would say. (And don't worry, I don't usually quote Freud on this blog!)
 
Most of us are surrounded by friends and family, a network of people who love us, want what's best for us and have our best interests at heart. But is it always wise to take their advice? Are they seeing the situation through a different lens than you are? No matter how kind and well-meaning they are, they haven't "walked a mile in you shoes," and they don't have the insight and awareness that you do.                                        
                                                            
When a client is facing a dilemma, whether it's a career issue or a relationship problem, here's what I tell them to do.  Write down the answers to these two questions. 1) What do I really want? and 2) What am I willing to do to get it?                                
The first one is easy but the second one is the tough one. Every choice has pros and cons, every choice has consequences. There is something powerful about writing it out.
 
Many times, your friends and family will align themselves on one side of an issue and you may lean strongly toward the other side. Here's what I advise.
 
* Take in all opinions from all sides. You don't have to agree. Just listen thoughtfully. Some of it may resonate with you, and some will be totally off base.
 
* Talk to someone neutral, a counselor, a spiritual advisor, a psychologist. Someone who can help you filter out all the distractions and get to the heart of the problem.
                                                      
                            
*Do an instant "gut check." How do you do that? Let's say you're thinking of changing jobs. Take out a coin and say, "If I flip it and it says heads, then I'll stay where I am. If it's tails, then I'll start job-hunting." Then flip the coin.  And immediately ask yourself what you're feeling. The beauty of this experiment is that you can instantly access your feelings on the issue.
 
* When in doubt, gather more information.  Very few decisions have to made instantly. Maybe there's another way of looking at the problem? Maybe there's a third choice and things aren't as black-and-white as they seem. Is there some avenue you haven't explored, someone who can help you see more clearly?
                                                     
In the end, of course, it's your life and your decision. When you make the decision, move ahead with confidence and don't look back! Good luck and here's an interesting quote from Goethe that gave me a chuckle.  
                 
                 
I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you make decisions, please chime in, if you can.  
 
Mary Kennedy

14 comments:

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

Since becoming a reviewer/blogger, I 99% of the time go with my own ideas. But there is that 1% of the time that I feel I need to ask someone what they think. If I ask someone in my family or among my friends who aren't into my reviewing or blogging, I normally don't do what they say. To be fair most of the time they say "I don't know" or "Yeah, that's fine", so I figure I just need to go with my gut. When I ask friends, authors, or other reviews what they think, I 9 times out of 10 go with what they think.

As for my personal life? That's more of a mixed bag. It depends on what's going on as to rather or not I'll ask for advice in the first place. But I do often like to run things past someone first. But like you said, Mary, I mostly go with my gut. LOL Sometimes that serves me well and sometimes it has gotten me into a jam.

Great post today!

Kate Collins said...

This is great advice, Mary. I've had well-meaning friends try to give me advice that I knew was contrary to what my gut was telling me. As my character Abby Knight says, my gut feelings are never wrong. It's learning to trust them that's hard.

mary kennedy said...

Those are good points, Lisa. Thanks for stopping by and have a good week-end!

mary kennedy said...

I remember that quote from your books! Love Abby. And you are right about the challenge of learning to trust our own feelings. It's so easy to be swayed by others. And they always seem to "mean well," which makes it even harder. Thanks for stopping by!

L J Dogsmom said...

I do like to look at as many options as I can, which often makes me procrastinate. I need to trust my gut more, as I did when I was younger. Recently, NOT following my gut TWICE has led to very bad results. You think I would learn,

mary kennedy said...

We've all been in that position! I hear ya...thanks so much for stopping by, LJ. And don't beat yourself up, we've all done the same thing.

Anonymous said...

What I've come to realize more often than not is that most advice is what someone else would do in the situation as they see it through their eyes, not mine. When I gently state my decision, the result is often met with mutual respect if I too accept that there are different choices possible. Trusting myself has been a challenging part of my life. As I "follow my heart" more often, life feels brighter and lighter even when the situation is sad, disturbing, and/or heavy. Zena

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Wonderful post, Mary! I will be copying to print it out. Thanks for your generous, kind and heartfelt advice. XO MJ

mary kennedy said...

Very good philosophy, Zena! I totally agree, thank you for stopping by

mary kennedy said...

Thank you so much, MJ!!

Lynda Turpin said...

Great blog Mary. I often ask for advice on issues that I'm struggling with. I don't always agree with their advice, but it often gives me a different perspective that I might not have seen otherwise. So, even if I don't take their advice, it is often helpful in making the right decision by giving me more info to work with and helping me to break out of the single mindset I was working with.

Linda Rima said...

I'm definitely going to use this post to help me focus on a work-relatd issue. I have a gut feeling about but do want analyze it carefully as it could have a major impact.

mary kennedy said...

I'm so glad you found it helpful, Linda. Another thing to do in these situations is to ask yourself a few hard-hitting questions. When facing an uncertain path, ask, "Will this get me closer to where I want to be? Will this benefit the health and well-being of my family? Of myself? If this choice turns out be a disaster, can I take the hit? (whether the hit be financial or emotional, etc.) Thanks for stopping by!

mary kennedy said...

That's a good way to look at it, Linda, thanks for stopping by!