There’s no shortage of opinions out there. Just ask the Internet: throw any question into Google, and you’re likely to find dozens of contradicting answers. When everyone has opinions about your life, whose voice should you listen to?
First and foremost, limit the number of people who are allowed to give you input. If someone has taken it upon themself to give you unsolicited advice, you are under no obligation to consider it.
Instead, take time to think who you might trust to give good advice, then go ask them for it. Think about people who have experience with decisions similar to yours, people whom you respect, and people who know you well.
For instance, if you are a young mother thinking of going back to school, find other women who have been in similar situations and ask them what their experience was like.
If you are trying to decide on a career, find someone who has worked in that industry and ask to interview them.
If you are looking for more general life advice, find someone who seems to have lived wisely and happily and in a manner similar to what you would like your life to be like.
Talk to several people. No one person should have the power (or responsibility!) of making all your life choices for you. If you’re worried about being overly swayed by a particularly strong voice in your life, try finding someone who gives alternative advice to balance that other person out. Remember that asking someone for advice does not put you under obligation to follow it. If someone tries to put you under that obligation, walk away: you can get better advice elsewhere.
No matter who you ask, take time to assess their own biases and how that may affect the advice they give you:
Have they lived up to their own advice, and has it made them happy?
Are they (consciously or unconsciously) trying to shelter you?
Are they (consciously or unconsciously) trying to control you?
Are they the sort of person who will be offended if you don’t follow their advice?
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the decision you make is yours. If you are feeling pressured or manipulated into making a decision you are uncomfortable or unhappy with, you will need to take steps to cut that influence out of your life.
Because at the end of the day, this is your decision, your life.
You have to own it.
Is there someone whose voice I depend on too much?
Whose input I am too shy/afraid to solicit?