Growing up, I tended to mistrust authority figures. This hasn’t changed much since I’ve become a so-called authority figure.
Just because someone has a counseling degree on his wall doesn’t make him wise. Just because someone wears a white coat doesn’t make her healthy. Just because someone wears a badge doesn’t make him just. We are taught to trust individuals with academic accomplishments, social prestige or financial success. The problem is, the vast majority of people are not trustworthy, regardless of their credentials. Even people who sincerely mean well don’t necessarily have the answers. How can you distinguish someone who really knows from someone whop pretends to know? It’s an essential question, because bad advice–even when it comes from a highly respected authority–is still bad advice.
Rather than assuming someone with seeming expertise can help you, pay very close attention to your interaction with this person. Does this person give you his or her undivided attention? Does this person seem emotionally grounded and “centered?” Does this person seem genuine, open and honest? Does this person seem happy?
If you want to learn how to do 100 pushups, you can talk to the person who wrote a book about pushups. Or you can talk to the person who can do 100 pushups.