Taking advice from yourself

Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You might find it very easy to give good advice to your friends and family.  Can you give good advice to yourself?  More difficult, can you take advice from yourself?  How might you do that?

The best person to give you advice is you, because you will always know yourself best.  However, it is often very difficult to take a step back from the problem you have to get the objective view you need.  You might be overwhelmed with emotions, or exhausted.  You might feel like your mind is swirling round and round until to can’t imagine being able to think straight.  How useful it would be to have a Pensieve from Harry Potter, to tease out individual thoughts and memories and patterns!

However, unless and until a Pensieve is invented, there are other things you can do.  Mindfulness techniques can help you calm the storm enough to allow yourself to let go and step back to an “observer position”.  This is the same, more objective, viewpoint you have when you feel able to advise someone else.  As ever, take care of yourself and don’t force yourself to persist if you become too stressed or upset.

You might like this visualisation exercise from Active Listener.

Finally, and perhaps most simply, you can imagine what you might say if it were someone else.  Imagine your friend, spouse, sibling, child were in your situation.  What would you advise them to do?  If you think that advice wouldn’t work for you, why not?  What needs to be done differently?  What is holding back?  Are your fears or anxieties getting in the way?  What practical issues are giving you trouble and how might you overcome them?  If you are worrying about aspects out of your control, you might find it helpful to do the Circles of Influence and Concern exercise.

What do you want to do?