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When Good Advice Goes Bad

I'm listening to an audio book right now that is mostly good and helpful. I’m getting a ton out of it. But tonight, as I was driving around running errands and listening to it, I was reminded that there are times when good advice goes wrong.

The author was sharing a chapter about forgiveness - about letting things go with other people instead of letting anger fester. Yes, I agree, mostly.

From the rest of the book, I get the sense that the author doesn’t hold back her opinions with others. I assume - based on the sassy title of the book and her delightfully sassy attitude throughout - that she has

no trouble bringing definition to relationships, setting boundaries with others, and showing up freely with other people when she has an opinion. Based on some of her personal stories, I draw the conclusion that learning how to not be angry, how to let things go, and how to forgive were big life lessons for her.

For me, however, I have spent a lot of my life avoiding healthy confrontation in relationships and not showing up as my full self. My default mindset is to merge with other people, to soothe their emotions, to stabilize the situation, to say “no problem, that’s okay” even when it is destructive to my well-being and toxic to the relationship.

While there is a time and a place to say “let go of anger”, it’s a little bit like giving out nutrition advice and insisting that everyone needs protein, grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Yes, mostly, except for people who are deathly allergic to dairy or grains or any number of things. Mostly good advice can become very destructive if you are in a situation where it is the opposite of what is healthy for you.

This is why having a coach has been essential to my personal growth journey. Just like having a nutritionist or a doctor help someone navigate food allergies in a healthy way, I have a trained professional who can give me guidance that is tailored to me. It keeps me from taking mostly good advice and applying it to my life in ways that would be harmful. I know, from working with my coach, that what I need to practice when it comes to not letting anger fester looks a lot different than what the author of this book needed. For me, I need to get curious about the anger and have courage to bring my opinions and hurts to my relationships instead of stuffing them inside in an attempt to “just let it go.” Without a coach to give me objective perspectives, I would get lost trying to follow one-size-fits-all advice.

If you are considering coaching and would like to connect with me about an introductory call, I’d love to talk with you and see if I’m a good fit to help you in your growth. A personal coach is one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my relationships, my mental health, and my growth journey. Connect with me today to get started.


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