The Internet is a wonderful tool, when used properly. This is more true for medical quandaries than almost any other aspect, in my opinion. You get a weird rash – you can Google it, and even see photos of potentially similar rashes, to help you decide whether or not a visit to the doctor’s office is imminent or if you can try a home remedy or something over-the-counter first.
This is both pretty freaking cool and can be incredibly challenging.
There are numerous challenges, and even risks, to using the Internet to self-diagnose a medical concern. Today, we’re going to talk about the challenge of listening to others.
Our site, and our forums, never are intended as medical advice. I think this is also true for 99% off websites out there. Obviously, only a trained medical professional who has physically examined you can make a final determination on your condition and a proper course of treatment.
However, as I mentioned in the intro, the Internet can help you determine the severity of your possible condition. Is it likely something that you can self-treat? Is it likely something that is temporary? Or is it something you need to get to the ER right now?
Yet, despite this plethora of information, and personal accounts of similar situations and what the general public has been through when they had similar situations and symptoms, it never fails to surprise me that so many people refuse to listen to what others are saying.
This is true not only for physical concerns, but for non-physical concerns where advice is requested – including relationship concerns.
Yes, it’s natural to have a situation present itself and for a person to have a preconceived notion about what the issue is and what the best course of action is. However, if you then present this situation to a group of your peers and ask for advice — LISTEN.
Listen to what others say, even if their advice is diametrically-opposed to what your initial thoughts were. Listen even if what they’re saying isn’t what you want to hear.
Now, I’m not saying you need to accept what others give as advice as the truth of your situation. In fact, I STRONGLY suggest you take everything you read on the Internet with a heaping tablespoon of salt. And, in the end, you have to make your decision based on what YOU feel is best – because even though you’ve given details to the situation, you likely have more information than what you shared.
However, consider what others are saying and the advice they are giving. Especially if more than one person is expressing the same thought. Even if these people aren’t 100% right, they can help open your mind to new possibilities about what the correct action is for you and your unique situation.
Otherwise – what was the point of asking for advice? If you simply wanted people to reaffirm your preconceived notion – well, that might not always happen. And, the reason for that is twofold:
- You didn’t give all of the pertinent details that would change the general populace’s opinion on the best course of action, or
- You’re wrong in your preconceived notion.
So, before you ask for advice, whether that be here on the PEGym forums, or even in person to family and friends, ask yourself —
- Am I only wanting to hear opinions that agree with what I already think?
- Will I ignore advice that is contrary to my preconceived notion?
- Have I left out details to the situation that possibly have had an effect on the situation (such as events leading up to symptoms of a physical problem or events that have impacted an emotional relationship)?
If you’ve answered YES to any of these questions, chances are you’re not in a position to really accept advice from others.
Again – as always – in instances of physical problems – talk to a medical professional. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and have an issue be nothing serious than have it be serious and become worse because you didn’t receive timely care.