Between the age of 19 and 21 some very big transformative events happened in my life. When I was 19, I began my spiritual journey as a Christian. When I was 20, I got married to my ex. When I was 21 I had my first child. At the time, I didn’t know how to go about being a Christian or a wife or a mother. What I knew was I didn’t want to raise children exactly the way I was raised and I wanted to do things the way God wanted me to. So I read. I read a lot. I read the bible and I read many self-help books on marriage, being a Christian woman and child-raising. The problem was, I thought that the only authors I could trust were Christian ones. This was a problem because all people are human and not everyone has the right answers. I found this out years too late after acting on the bad advice I got from reading certain books. Don’t get me wrong, some of the advice was good but there were several things I believed were true which ended up being detrimental in some ways to me, my marriage and my children. I went to these books for spiritual guidance and received religious fundamentalism instead.
I also found certain people who I ‘knew’ and admired. These people genuinely wanted to do what is right. The believed in God and felt very strongly that family is important. So I tried to model after them. However, even though they had all the right motives, they didn’t have all the right answers. Also, though some things were right for them, they weren’t right for everybody.
When we choose to walk a spiritual path and we are in earnest and we want to grow and change and do what is right, who can we go to for guidance? How do we choose our mentors?
What I have learned so far is this:
- Don’t trust blindly. Know who you are following.
Just because someone has written a book doesn’t mean the methods are right for everyone or even right in general. Research who this author is and proof of their claims. I find I know intuitively who to trust when I see them in person or on TV. This may sound strange, but it’s the facial expressions, body language, and how they express themselves that can speak volumes. Do they show respect to others? Are they gracious? Do they speak in humbleness or do they seem big-headed? Do they reflect a loving spirit? Are they real (authentic)? If the ‘expert’ is one giving advice on children, it would help to actually see them with their children and read the children’s facial expressions and see how they interact with their parents. For example, I knew I can trust Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan when I saw him sitting nonchalantly with several of his dogs who were looking at him with love and adoration and licking his face even though Cesar wasn’t paying attention to them at the time. Yup! I’d go to him for doggie advice in a heartbeat!
2. Trust your instincts.
If the advice given doesn’t feel right then then don’t follow. Simple as that. Better to trust your gut then make a mistake that leads to sad results.
3. Ask yourself if this person is open and transparent
Do they talk about their failures in life and what they have learned from them? If they are only talking about successes that they have had, watch out! They may not be genuine.
4. Find out who this person’s mentor is.
Just like finding out who your favourite author’s favourite authors are, finding out who a person admires is a great clue as to their values in life.
5. Choose to make God your number one mentor.
Through your quiet meditative/prayer times with God choose to spend some time listening to that inner voice that speaks to you in love. From God we receive the best guidance we can possibly receive because it is Love that is speaking.