Let’s be honest—there’s a lot of terrible advice out there. The problem is, though, that a lot of it keeps circulating around! Some of these pieces of advice people seem to just assume are true, maybe because they sound good or perhaps because they’ve never taken the time to think about them. Well, in either case, I don’t want anyone to continue following something that is untrue. So here are some of the worst pieces of advice I have come across.
1. You are enough.
The main point that she makes is that if you are a Christian you need to realize that the whole “self love/you are enough” movement is a very worldly movement.
While it might sound nice on the surface, let’s think about what it means to tell yourself that you are enough—essentially you’re saying that you don’t need God.
Allie makes the great point that if the problem is within yourself (self-loathing, low self-esteem, etc.) then how in the world can the solution also be within yourself?
On our own we will never be enough, and that is not a bad thing because we don’t need to be. We have God to be enough for us.
2. Love yourself first.
Have you heard people make the argument that in order to really love others you have to love yourself first? Alright, I’m going to tell you right now that that is hogwash.
People love to use Jesus’s commandment from Mark 12:31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” as proof that the Bible teaches us to love ourselves.
This could not be further from the truth.
The Bible NEVER emphasizes needing to love ourselves because God understands human nature.
Ephesians 5:29 says, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. . .” God knows that no matter how depressed we are, how “self-loathing,” how down in the dumps, no one ever actually hates themselves.
Because, ultimately, no one wants to be in pain.
Even when someone purposefully causes themselves pain, the reasons behind this always point to self love. For instance, the person may be crying out for attention that they aren’t getting. Or perhaps they have a deeper pain that they are trying to distract themselves from.
I don’t say this to be judgmental, but just to point out that yes, a person may be causing themselves a form of pain, but they are doing this because they think that in some way the self-inflicted pain will make them feel better in other ways.
So what I am saying is that you don’t need to focus on self-love. The Bible only describes this as a bad thing (see 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Instead, try to focus on other people and not worry so much about yourself. In doing this you will take the focus off of yourself and stop worrying so much about feeling good about yourself.
For more on the topic of self-esteem, check out my post Why You Should Stop Trying To Have Self-Esteem.
3. Follow your heart.
Can we please just stop taking advice from Disney movies? Seriously, there is no basis for thinking that following your heart is a good thing.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Why in the world would we try to follow something the Bible describes as being “deceitful above all things”? Why would we expect that to lead to anything good?
Not only that, but as the verse also says, who can understand it?? Your heart will tell you some weird things and can lead you down some dark paths. Do not follow your heart; follow God’s Word, which will never lead you astray.
4. Do what you love./Follow your dreams.
Whoever first started the trend of telling high school and college students to focus on doing what they love and following their dreams seriously screwed a lot of kids.
That’s how we’ve ended up with a massive amount of graduates who have social science or psychology degrees, tons of debt, and no job because they have no plans for how to use the degree that they loved getting.
If everyone just “followed their dreams” and did what they loved then society would not be able to function. I mean, do you think all janitors love their jobs?
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some wonderful janitors who do their jobs joyfully, but do you really think they grew dreaming of that career?
You have to learn to sometimes do things that you don’t especially like in order to be productive and contribute to your family and society. We can’t have a world full of starving artists.
As my husband likes to say, “Do what you don’t hate.” Essentially, find something you can tolerate doing on a day to day basis that will sustain you.
Now, that’s not to say that you can’t have goals and things that you’re working towards because you should. But a dream isn’t going to pay the bills.
5. You’re doing your best.
I would say this one is a mix between advice and encouragement.
It feels like I hear this one a lot from the mommy blogger/Instagram crowd. Moms love to throw around the idea that if you are stressed out you just need to remember that you are doing your best! Just like all of us!
Come on now. Do you really think that we are all doing our very best?
This isn’t to say that you should be down on yourself and think you are absolutely terrible. But I can tell you right now that even though I try to be a good mom and try to be productive, there are still things I could improve.
None of us are perfect, which means there is always room for improvement, whether that’s as a wife, mother, employee, Christian, you name it.
So if you are feeling stressed out I would encourage you, rather than trying to tell yourself you are already doing your best, to make a list of actionable things you can do to minimize your stress and try to take the focus off of yourself in general.
6. Be yourself.
Okay, what does this even mean? I mean, really. Does this mean I should say every sarcastic comment that pops into my head in the name of “being myself”?
You could use this piece of advice to justify any number of behaviors, which is part of why I find it so problematic.
That doesn’t mean I think you should be ingenuine, but I find the advice to be yourself rather vague and unhelpful.
7. Don’t change yourself.
This one sort of expands on the advice to “just be yourself” because the natural extension of that advice is to say you shouldn’t change yourself.
To me that sounds like a giant excuse to not have to fix any of your problems.
See, when people follow this advice then they begin to identify their faults as just part of who they are and not as something that needs to be worked on. What a great way to sabotage your relationships!
I’ve seen someone in my own life deal with this when her boyfriend told her that his jealousy was just a part of who he was and that she needed to accept it. Needless to say, they weren’t together much longer after that.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” We shouldn’t want to be the same as we were before, but we should be a new person in Christ. That means that we must change ourselves.
There is a lot of advice out there from people who mean well and think that they can help you live your best life. But ultimately, God is the only one who can provide that kind of advice. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can solve your own problems or that you are perfect just the way you are. Those are some of the worst pieces of advice out there. Trust in God, and He can get you through life’s difficulties.
What is some of the worst advice you have heard?
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