My people. Which one? Last Fashi of Twenty Twenty. Just like that.
Isn’t it cool how good and easy your counsel to others can be? Whenever folks have wahala, they come running to you knowing you will drop serious knowledge and heat on them. If it’s comfort they seek, you got it. If it’s tough love they (don’t) want, you got it. If it’s relationship advice, come on now, come to mama. Business issue? Please, when McKinsey or Goldman Sachs dials 911, your phone rings.
Perspective is in abundance when other folks need and seek your counsel. We are killers when it comes to giving others a clear and broader perspective on their situations and helping them handle their stuff.
But when it comes to your own wahala? Fear. Incoherence. Noise. Chaos.
(What is this FINC acronym BS now, Chidi? Ok, sorry…I made that up. Don’t mind me. Please carry on, just pass GO and collect your $200.)
See, the thing—in cahoots with some degree of sympathy or empathy, but not both—that gives us our superpowers when our counsel is applied to others, is distance. Distance—aka cultivated detachment—is the juice when you tell your friend who is getting divorced “It’s all good. You’ll be ok. Think of this as a new beginning.” Or the family member who lost her job, “Woman up. Chin up, soldier. The universe is telling you something here. Pay heed to it, time to make that leap.”
But when YOU are getting divorced—it is scorched earth, win-win be damned…“someone’s going to die, and it ain’t me”. Or you lose your dream job—complete meltdown into vengeance mode and fetal pose in the southeast corner of your bedroom as you poke pins into your ex-boss’s and HR person’s voodoo dolls.
I went through a tough exercise late last year during a really rough and crazy stretch of letdowns and showdowns where I had to give myself counsel every night before bed for one month. The kicker? I had to use the same cultivated step-back that I am so good at with my folks and laser focus it right smack at myself. Essentially, I had to take a second-person perspective when counseling myself instead of the first person.
So, instead of “I am very worried about my income this month, and I don’t know what…”, I had to switch over with “Chidi, you are worried about your income this month, however you should consider…”. And I had to write it down as part of the nightly ritual of closing my books of course.
Dude. I mean, dude.
I had no clue how transformative this jujuristic mental flip would be. As I wrote for five minutes plus every night, using the second-person perspective, gems and heat were being dropped on Oga Chidi like no man’s business. I’m telling you. As I pored recently over the thirty days of advice I gave myself during the exercise, I was ready to call my people (non-existent) and order them to hire whoever this bobo was.
Fact: we are equipped to be the best outside advisor/counsel/sensei for our own wahala. Use that step back, outside viewpoint to write your journal, to suss out your options, to remove the emotional sting from your decision making, to calm yourself down, to amp yourself up. Be lucid and unvarnished. And abeg, don’t berate yourself. The most wicked and most vicious voice can easily be yours, as only you know all your dark secrets and issues…don’t use that against yourself.
Just hire yourself as second-party counsel. It most definitely will be money well spent, walai talai.
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