Why do we let other people tell us what’s right for us?

We can’t, of course, know everything. And, especially in the early years, we need someone to stop us from, say, eating soap or putting our heads between bars. But then we slide into the habit of feeling that certain people routinely know more/better than we do and we doubt our own understanding. We give them an authority they don’t necessarily possess.

Don’t just take it for granted that other people know better – they will have their own areas of expertise but that doesn’t make them all-knowing. And you are the one who knows you best.

Teachers will often tell us that we’re “good” at this or “not good” at that and it may or may not be true. A far more important question to answer first is how good are they at teaching us? We all have different learning preferences and, if these are missed or ignored, we’ll struggle to learn things that we could absorb more easily with a different approach.

If we’re left to feel that we’ve “failed” at something, it saps our confidence not only in that area but also our belief in our ability to learn anything else and that limits our lives.

It’s not often that someone can give you entirely disinterested advice – their view is too often coloured by what seems acceptable or achievable to them: ask people for their input by all means but bear in mind that they’re usually answering for themselves – not for you.

Tip: Find the confidence to challenge others’ view of the world, see if you can find another way to learn what you want to know and remember that your life is yours to direct as you see fit.

(Next week: Part 2 – how to boost your confidence.)

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