Whom to listen to, and whom to avoid?

Acharya Prashant
9 min readJul 29, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): Pranaam sir, my question is- I have this very low self-image of myself in my mind, and I have this need to seek validation from others all the time and this has been for a long time for almost till whenever I can remember. But, just recently I have been understanding the intensity of the problem and all my actions and all my goals are coming out of that self-image that I have. So, I have always heard you talk about this inner sureness and I have also seen it in a lot of people like when I read some books, the characters and all. I have always wanted that inner sureness, so my question is- how do I make that journey towards that inner sureness?

Acharya Prashant (AP): First of all, stop seeking validation from invalid sources. It’s not so much of a problem to ask for validation or sureness. The question is, to whom are you going to seek it? Are you getting it?

It’s alright to get oneself tested or examined, but not from a quack. Go to a doctor. Would you say that it’s a mark of self-doubt and low self-esteem to go to a doctor? Do you say that?

Q: No.

AP: So it’s alright to go to someone and ask for an opinion. The problem is elsewhere. The problem is when you go to the wrong person.

When you go to the wrong person, the advice you will get would be such that your need to go to the wrong person would not only remain but actually deepen. So, your dependence would continue.

You would become more and more unsure of yourself by following the person’s advice, opinions. And the more unsure you become the more will be the need to keep depending on somebody.

So ask yourself- Have the advice really benefited you so far? If they have, then continue taking them, If they haven’t, then stop.

Kindly get rid of the notion that any of us is self-sufficient and does not need external guidance. I am being very unequivocal on this. I know it’s a fad currently, the in thing to say, be your own light, don’t depend on anyone, decide for yourself, whatever. It’s a very ignorant thing to say with all due respect to the Buddha.