No, I can’t tell you what to do.

Sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do. “I’m confused, I’m lost, I’m struggling, I can’t make this decision, I can’t move forward… tell me what to do!”

red and white stop road signage
Photo by Wendelin Jacober on

I can’t.

I cannot tell you what to do.

When you’re struggling with patterns in your life that lead you to the same place over and over again, the LAST thing you need is for someone to tell you what to do. What might help instead is a place to talk and be heard. A place to work through patterns and recognize how you persistently end up in the same place with the same feelings and frustrations. A person who can just listen and be open to hearing your experiences in their entirety. A place where you’re not rushed to get to the point or can be silent and think. A place where the patterns begin to become clear.

You can recognize old patterns and change them. You can figure out new ways to look at a situation so that your outcomes are better than they have been in the past. But if I just TELL YOU what to do, I am not helping you. I’m assuming that I know better than you and that I have the correct solution. (I don’t). I presume to take your autonomy for my own. That is not helpful – it is controlling. And that’s not why I’m here.

So, no. I can’t tell you what to do. And you don’t need me to.

Published by Joanne Mackie, LMHC, CCTP

Psychotherapist specializing in adults with trauma, anxiety, depression and distress due to difficulty in interpersonal relations.

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