Contributor’s Website – Soul Blazing
Everyone gives opinions and guidance to their friends and family, but you probably know someone who goes a bit overboard. This person gives unwanted advice in a very professional manner, even though they lack the proper credentials to do so. This person may mean well, but their efforts to help are stymied by their clinical and emotionless approach. That’s because they’re letting their “Counselor Impostor”—one of the eight “Impostors” that derail people’s lives—run the show.
As a life coach, I know that counseling from trained professionals can be essential to healing and growth. But I’ve also seen well-meaning friends and family hinder someone’s process with misguided attempts to help. This“Impostor” takes on an instructional role in order to come to terms with its own pain indirectly. Unfortunately, this ends up causing the recipient of “help” more harm than good.
· The “Counselor” results from an emotional pain someone has masked for a long time.
· They pretend hurt doesn’t exist in their own lives. Instead, they try to study their own troubles objectively in order to help others deal with it.
· They’re great at telling everyone else what to do, but they can’t seem to get their own lives together.
· “Counselors” often approach love and life as a clinical experience and not as a real and emotionally driven journey. They tend to be emotionally distant and view matters of love and life as puzzles to be solved rather than as experiences of the heart.
Some well-known “Counselors” are Oprah and Dr. Phil McGraw. Oprah built an empire based on her television talk show and became a force synonymous with therapy. What’s interesting is that Oprah had painful experiences and struggles as a child, and is comfortable discussing them with her audience on her show and other people’s shows. She realizes that holding secrets causes illness, which is what makes her powerful and relatable.
Dr. Phil McGraw, a force in his own right, has similar intentions with his programs. He gives advice on a number of subjects, but rarely touches upon his own issues. He believes that his show was an important service and, in his own words, the best of its kind. Now for the past couple of years he has specialized in Domestic Abuse and is bringing that issue to the forefront and into our conversations.
How to Deal with the “Counselor Impostor”
At some point, you’ll likely encounter someone who attempts to resolve your issues, even though they have not resolved their own yet. Or you may even find yourself giving advice when your own house is not in order. Either way, here are some suggestions for dealing with the “Counselor Impostor.”
· Is your friend trying to save you from making your own mistakes? Giving you logical advice you just don’t want to hear yet? Simply tell them that you’re not ready for their suggestions yet and that you’ll call them later.
· If you are actually going to a trained therapist or counselor, stay open and allow them to help you dig through your layers. Sometimes, I’ve had some clients who have come in with their guard up and trying to prove me wrong, wasting their time and mine. When they finally opened up, they allow themselves to start having shifts in their lives, rather than staying stuck with old thinking and patterns. A good therapist/counselor will listen attentively and reflect back to you observations about yourself that you may not have realized.
· Self-reflection is healthy and can help guide certain self-realizations. I’m an advocate for traveling alone and spending time in nature, however, trying to be your own counselor in a hard situation is a different story. Science shows that even particles behave differently when observed, so accept the futility of self-psychoanalysis. Allow yourself to be human and ask for help in times of radical shift in your life.
Leave the Counseling to the Professionals
The “Counselor” is no doubt an intelligent “Impostor.” However, its refusal to properly confront and embrace its pain perpetuates its issues. In a best-case scenario, those who seek out the help of the “Counselor” will find some comfort in its analytical, problem-solving approaches. Unfortunately, those who try and get close to this Impostor find themselves becoming an object of scrutiny rather than a friend or romantic partner. Only by shedding this mask can you begin to live authentically.
EXERCISE: 30-Day Counseling Diet
For those of you who are struggling with your inner “Counselor”, go 30 days keeping your mouth shut! Don’t give your opinions until they’re specifically asked for, and even then simply ask your friends questions so that they can arrive at their own answer.
Here’s an example –
Friend: Counselor, I just don’t know what to do. I’m not happy in my marriage and I don’t know why. I mean, should I tell my husband or get counseling? I don’t know what to do.
Counselor: How long have you been feeling this way? You’re the only one who knows the right answer for you. Maybe go outside in nature and ask yourself the question you know you need the answer to. Put your hand on your heart and be open to discovering and hearing the answer. Just put your hand on your heart. Stay there until you have received that answer. If you have distracting thoughts, put the thought on a leaf and let it fall to the ground, and return to the question: “What’s best for my highest good?”
About the “Impostors”
The “Impostors” are the cast of characters that star in Lisa Haisha’s Soul Blazing. They could be a metaphor for the “masks” that you wear, especially when confronted with something that you fear. Sometimes they’re the voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough, or re-iterating negative conversations or experiences from your past that keep you stuck, like quicksand that keeps you from picking yourself up. These pesky devils are the saboteurs and squatters that live in the temple of your Authentic Soul, and keep you from shining bright!
There are eight Impostors in this cast, and they are:
The Wounded Inner Child
The Over Thinker
The Sex God(dess)
Find out which “Impostor” is residing within you by taking this free quiz!
Images: 1st pic, Getty; 2nd pic. ronaldmohammed