Have you had the experience of being so uncertain about what to do or think or feel about a particular subject that you go around to key people in your inner circle to ask for advice? My sense is that most people do this at times in relation to something really important or charged. It can be a validating or reassuring experience getting this kind of feedback: (What do others think? What would reasonable people do in this situation)?
There’s something quite different I see some people do with frequency. I call it “polling the peanut gallery,” or gathering opinions whenever there’s a feeling of self doubt or anxiety about a situation. Their fantasy is that there’s a “right” way to operate, and that other people know better what that is. In my experience professionally and personally, I see women more often doing this, maybe because the culture trains women to value connection, and isn’t so great at training women to value their own voices, or internal truths.
If you’re someone who routinely polls your own peanut gallery, chances are it doesn’t help you to develop more trust in your own feelings or perceptions. If the net effect of your polling is to create more confusion as you gather more opinions, than take some time to check in with yourself about what seems right for you, and leave the polling for the upcoming election instead!
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