I love learning things on the internet. Not only can I access resources to find something to learn about, but I can also learn from other people’s experiences. There are so many self-help gurus out there, always full of sage and wisdom. Even if someone is not a self-help guru, people love to give advice.
However, people on the internet can’t always be trusted. In fact, there’s some horrible self-help advice that I have seen online that can actually be quite toxic. Here are a few things that I think people should stop following.
Always trust your feelings
This one’s quite common on the internet and there are many variations of this advice. “Always do what your heart tells you to do.” “Do what you feel is right.”
Our feelings can’t always be trusted. Sometimes we feel angry or hurt in the moment and make rash decisions. It’s always better to use both our brains and our hearts before making an informed choice. Following what our hearts say without actually thinking about the consequences may make our problems worse.
Sometimes we have to go through unpleasant experiences in the short term to get worthwhile benefits in the long term. The other day, my application got rejected for a job that I had applied for. I was sad at the moment but later found out that the salary for the job was a pittance and the work environment absolutely horrible. So, even though I felt sad that evening, looking back I am glad that I didn’t get the job.
Whenever I get a rejection, I think of never applying for another opportunity ever again so that I can avoid disappointment. But I realize that by doing this, I am stunting my own growth. We can’t simply stop doing everything that makes us uncomfortable.
Most of the personal development I’ve achieved in the past couple of years was found by doing things that made me uncomfortable. The things that make me uncomfortable are actually what helps me become a better person.
Many people continue to stay in abusive relationships for years because they keep trusting their feelings even when they shouldn’t. Sometimes love can be toxic, and maybe the correct decision is painful. Maybe it pains you to leave someone but it is the right thing to do.
Your heart shouldn’t rule you. Yes, we should listen to our hearts but we can’t always trust it without listening to our brains too.
Be who you are and ignore the haters
Many people take this advice to their hearts and don’t make any effort to improve themselves. They basically consider their behavior above criticism.
Now, I can see how this advice can both be helpful and unhelpful at the same time. Yes, you should ignore the trolls online who are being mean to you for no reason.
But people take it to an extreme extent. They do horrible things and start telling themselves they should ignore the haters when it’s time for accountability.
We should consider if the criticism is coming from a person who genuinely wants the better for us. I think it’s important to hear what our loved ones are telling us. Sometimes what our loved ones are telling us isn’t “hate”, it’s genuine criticism that can help us become a better person.
That being said, if someone is constantly being negative towards you for no reason at all, you should definitely ignore such people.
Find out who is really there for you
The other day I saw an Instagram influencer telling her 500K strong audience that people should stop texting their friends for a while to see who their friends really are. I rolled my eyes and blocked that influencer.
Any kind of advice that tells you to test friendships by withholding contact to see if they’ll notice or straight up tells you to drop friends that don’t reach out to you regularly is horrible advice.
Any form of testing your relationships is abusive. Imagine if your mother decided to stop texting you to check if you still love her.
This is a very selfish and passive-aggressive thing to do. If you miss your friend then call them up, don’t play silly games. Maybe they have something going on in their lives and what they really need during this time is help, not a friend who is testing their friendship.
There are some people who go a step further and tell people to cut off someone after a minor convenience. Obviously, this applies to people who are constantly, deliberately making you miserable. But that doesn’t mean you don’t try to talk to your friend whenever there is a misunderstanding.
Try to find happiness even when you’re upset
This is something people love telling other people who are going through a difficult time. “Think of positive things in your life.” “But look at the bright side.” “Don’t let yourself act like the victim.”
Even if there are a few happy things in your life, you don’t need to be ashamed to feel sad or depressed. One of the most toxic mindsets is “You can’t have [insert mental illness here] because you’re in a good situation.” Even if someone has everything they need in their lives, it’s completely human for someone to get upset.
When a person is upset, they are allowed to grieve. They are allowed to feel bad about themselves without any guilt. That’s one of the ways how we can truly begin recovery. People need time to process things. It’s not a step someone can skip in the healing process by pretending it didn’t happen.
(Also read: 10 Simple Steps To Become 'That Girl')
Something that has worked out for someone else may not work for you. This is why I advise against following everything you read online. Life is complicated and we can’t stick adamantly to rules and hope everything works out in our favor.
And this is why we should think twice before following any advice.
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If you have any questions or feedback or would like to tell me what piece of advice you ignore, I’d love to hear from you. Just drop me a message!