Kick the Chronic Helping Habit
We’ve all been there: we have that one friendship or relationship that seems to constantly revolve around us trying to “save” the other person. Maybe you’re trying to get them on their feet, or off drugs, or more spiritually aware. Maybe you’re in a relationship with somebody who keeps acting like an idiot, self-destructive or even abusive towards you—and you keep telling yourself that maybe if you just show that person enough love, they’ll change, and see the light and hope, and have you to thank for it all. Day in, day out, you soon find your time and energy becoming more and more consumed with trying to carry that person, trying to keep their head above water, or with dragging them to where you think they should be. And the more you do this, the less time and energy you have for yourself.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
They’re that way because they’re choosing it.
Yes, their life might have been hard. Yes, their options may have been limited. But at the end of the day, life is just a series of choices and decisions. Sometimes those decisions might be hard, or unclear, or we might not even see them clearly. But we always have a choice.
I’m going to let you in on another little secret:
You can’t make other people’s choices for them.
You can absolutely never, ever, ever in a billion years make somebody else’s choices for them. You might as well be trying to bite through a diamond. You can encourage, you can goad, you can push, you can even manipulate, but at the end of the day, it’s impossible to override the free will of another being. And the more you try, the more damage you do to yourself. You wear yourself out. You lose sight of your own goals. You may even start burning your health.
That’s because you can’t make somebody else’s choices for them. And if they’re choosing to suffer, and you try to override that choice, you’re going to suffer right along with them until you, or they, get tired of the game. Which could be a very, very long time.
Because you know what the hard truth is? Most people don’t want help. They definitely don’t want advice. And the last thing they’d ever, EVER want to do is change. Because that would require honest self-examination, and it would require work. No: What people are usually asking for when they complain, moan and cry about how bad their lives are is company. They want somebody to suffer right alongside them: because that proves that they really are a victim, that the world really is a bad place, and that they don’t have to try, change or make new decisions. They’re sitting pretty in hell. They’ve set up residence. They’ve stretched out—and now, thanks to you, they’ve got company on the sofa. Why mess up a good thing?
So, my friends, what’s one to do? Should you coldly turn your back on the suffering of others and go about your merry way, driving down the freeway of life in your giant SUV of “who-cares-not-me,” ignoring all the homeless suffering bums on the side of the road?
Well, that’s a tough one. Basically, I’ve got a few answers to that:
1. Stake your life on following your own highest good. Positivity and greatness will come out of that, and your natural happiness will be infectious to those around you. And you may end up bringing something far better to the world than just dragging one or two stubborn oxes.
2. Create a supportive and positive environment around yourself for those near you. Just never, ever try and force somebody to be there. If they want to show up to hang out in your positivity zone, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too. Let them make the choice. And never try and stop somebody from leaving, either, or they’re liable to just drag you with them into their world instead. As Blythe ext. 5339 says, “Keep your partner happy by being happy yourself.”
I hope that helps—it’s a tricky issue we all must face in our lives in one way or another. But we truly do live in an infinite, loving universe, one which honors and supports the free will and choices of all its inhabitants—even if they’re choices you don’t like.
“People we attract into our life are reflections of who we are, therefore become first what it is you want to attract.” – Rivers ext. 5273
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