I’ve always lived with an extraordinary need for advice.
It stems, I think, from a combination of my two most dominant characteristics — extroverted and over-romantic. Something about the blend of these traits always winds up with me in a bar bathroom telling a strange, nice girl all of my secrets. And with that kind of constant honesty comes the inevitable train of solicited, yet still unwelcome, advice.
The issue with my chronic oversharing, though, isn’t the mild annoyance that comes with listening to counsel I don’t intend to take. My problem, actually, is entirely rooted in self-consciousness. Over time, I realized I was completely relying on the tidbits of wisdom I collected to formulate all my big life, love and career decisions. Little by little, all the input I was begging for, intentionally or not, was shaping the kind of woman I was turning out to be.
And I didn’t like her.
I was contradictory, for starters. I’d be the unavailable girl who doesn’t text back one night and lovestruck and desperate the next. My judgement of boys’ intentions would bounce from “they’re all full of sh*t,” to “they’re just humans!!!” depending on, probably, the intricate romantic situation of the girl I was talking to. Too easily swayed and too eager to understand, I turned all of my own problems into theatrics, handing them away for others to interpret so I didn’t have to face them myself.
That all changed one afternoon when I sat down to watch one of the wonderful “Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet” videos on YouTube. If you’ve never explored this channel, do — it’s full of strong, independent thinking women, their candid honesty and, you’d never guess it, their advice. Ironically enough, it was Amanda’s inquiry of life lessons to actress Jaime King (who I love!) that changed my take on the whole ordeal:
Amanda: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Jaime: I think to go inside. Meaning if you have a question, go inside — go into your intuition, go into your heart, go into that place that is, whatever you want to call it, I’ll say your soul, your higher self, and ask yourself the question because all of the answers are inside your own heart. Rather than looking towards the sensation to get what you’re looking for, always go inside. That’s, to me, the key for everything.
Jaime’s answer resounded in me, and I began to think of it everywhere I went. I started making a real effort to “dish” less and go inside more. I don’t mean to get so philosophical on you, I swear, but I really have begun noticed a genuine shift in the way I handle situations of distress.
Now, this isn’t to say I don’t still ask my closest friends for life and love advice constantly — I do. Luckily, though, I have pretty incredible friends. I trust their advice wholeheartedly, even when I don’t want to hear it. The less I “word vomit,” though, and the more I focus on listening to myself, the easier it is to work through things on my own. I feel better, and my decisions feel more honest.
At 21, I’m probably too young to say if this is the best advice I’ve ever been given…but since it’s certainly the best I’ve gotten so far, I’ve decided to give it to you. Go inside. You know yourself better than any person, article or Buzzfeed quiz ever could. There’s nothing wrong with talking to and asking yourself first — in time, you find that pretty much everyone else already does.