I rarely ever make decisions without sampling opinions. I want to know what everyone thinks, but I often receive conflicting opinions and get torn in different directions. I’ve realised that this slows me down, but I really don’t know how best to make decisions on my own. Besides, everyone wants their opinion to prevail and I end up offending a lot of people. I’m tired of the drama and confusion. I really want to be able to make my own decisions.



Dearest T.O.,

The advice seeking syndrome is often a telltale sign of being a people pleaser. It could be that you are so concerned about what others think about you and what you do. You don’t want to rock the boat or get out of their good books. It’s ok to care for people, but it’s dangerous to be a people pleaser; you are stuck in a rut and can’t rise beyond what others think you are capable of or the level they perceive as suitable for you. They define your limit, capability, and invariably, your future. I’m sure you don’t want anyone wielding such far reaching influence on you.

To escape the confines of pleasing people, you need to know who you are, love and validate yourself. Don’t let your validation come from others advice alone, do validate yourself. Take stock of your strengths, abilities and even weaknesses, with the consciousness that nobody is perfect. Identify areas you need to improve and what you can do. Be your own person, the right people will love you for who you are.

Till you value who you are, it will be difficult for you to trust your judgment. It’s not wrong to get advice from people, but it shouldn’t be the driving force of your decisions.

For wise decision making, you need to develop a relationship with God and regularly commune with him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” So make God your first point of call, he is more than willing to guide you in the right path.

It would also help to examine the pros and cons of the decisions you want to make from advice gotten, in order to decide on the most suitable action. Don’t seek for the easy way out; take time to investigate, pray and observe. It might be convenient to simply ask for others’ opinion, instead of doing the ‘thinking work’ needed to examine your choices yourself. Don’t be lazy; pay the sacrifice needed. However, this is not to totally rule out asking for counsel, you might need the experience and insights of others to guide you when necessary.

In conclusion, believe in God, believe in yourself and set your heart on being the best you can be, not because you want to please people, but because you desire to honour God. More so, you owe yourself the responsibility of living life to the full, without being restricted by the limited opinions of others.

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