Do you recognise this?
You see someone close to you going through a hard time. You want to step in. You want to take away their pain and carry their burden. You are desperate to help. You give them advice. You encourage them. But nothing changes. You try again and again. And again.
Because of the caring, loving person you are, you are involved now too. Without the other person asking for it. You’ve already taken on their troubles and made them your own. But nothing changes.
You want the best for this person. You could see their potential. You can see them feeling better and happy. It is all within reach. Why doesn’t she see what you see? (I’m using she here for simplicity)
This is something that keeps coming up not only with my lovely clients but also in my circle of friends. It makes me smile that the people around me care so much about others that they’re literally willing to put their life on the line for someone else.
However it does make me wonder, is it healthy?
And so it continues…
You get frustrated.
Why is she not listening to me?
Why doesn’t she take my advice?
You feel let down.
You start to question yourself, did I say something wrong? What else can I try?
You might leave it for a while and gently approach the subject again a few weeks later if things haven’t improved. But still nothing. It’s going round in circles.
You’re trying to be a fixer. A rescuer. And if you are honest with yourself, it is draining you from energy along the way.
I have been there too.
And it’s a shitty place to be in. On the one hand you just want her to feel better, you want to lift her spirits. But on the other hand you’re running out of things to say. And patience.
When I went to see Mastin Kipp in February something came up during the workshop I will never forget: there is a difference between caring for someone and caring about someone.
The clue is in the words, really. Caring for means you’re literally caring for her. You are carrying the weight for her. You can’t distance yourself from it because something in you decided that this as much your problem as it is hers and you want to fix it.
Caring about simply means that you care. You care about this person and their situation. You want the best for her. You listen to her woes and worries however you’re not letting the weight lift on your shoulders.
Because let me tell you something lovely, a lesson I learned the hard way: people cannot be fixed, they can only fix themselves. Someone can only be helped if they want to be helped. They need to take the first step and all you can do is encourage them. You can’t fight this battle for them.
So whenever you find yourself in a similar situation try the following
- Take a step back and look at the it from an outsider’s perspective. Ask yourself; what is really going on here? How involved am I?
- Offer advice but don’t get upset if they don’t take it on board.
- Encourage them to better themselves, in whatever way, but recognise it is their decision to make.
- Try not to judge, this is their unique situation.
- Be there for this person, be a friend, but don’t overstep your own boundaries.
So do you recognise this? Do you go out of your way to help others and have found yourself in a situation like this before? I love for you share it with me.