Backing Up

27 Jun

Within our wide circle of acquaintances, friends, family, significant others, co-workers, and others we meet all kinds of people, and personalities. Some are easier for us to relate to than others, but each brings different types of behaviors to interact with. Sometimes we have interactions with people who struggle with various issues. Perhaps they have an anger problem, maybe they are shy, there may be substance abuse issues, or aggressive tendencies. Whatever we run into, when we are with them, we find ways to navigate whatever they’re going through. Because we care for one another, if someone has a particular problem that complicates things, we might feel we can help. It seems like the right thing to do to try to help.

Helping others is always noble. It’s generally a good decision, but some problems cannot be helped by others. We may find ourselves constantly working with someone over an issue, giving advice, trying hard to show them ways to work things out, but nothing changes. When they complain about the situation, we may offer suggestions, or try directing them to sources that may help. Because of our concern, over time we may find that we feel some ownership for their problem. We may get too involved in it, and try again, and again to make them see what we think will work.

True change never happens because someone tells us we need to change. It only happens when we decide we want to change. Nobody can do it for us, and the best advice in the world will go unheeded if we are not ready to receive it. When we are trying to help someone else, we must remember that. We cannot change anyone but ourselves. Despite our best intentions, we cannot make anyone see the light, and turn their lives. Even if the answer is plainly obvious to us, we cannot make anyone else see it. It has to come from them. The best thing we can do is to let them do it their way. If they come to us for advice, we may offer it, and then we need to let it go. Since it’s not our issue, we can’t solve it. We can be supportive, we can be caring and kind, but we cannot make anyone change anything in their lives. When they are ready, they will do it themselves.

Today if there is someone close to you that you’ve been trying so hard to help with an issue, remember all you can do is offer your support, your best advice, and your care. The problem is theirs to solve. You cannot fix it for them. They must work things out themselves. Be there for them. Be a true friend. When they reach for you, offer your hand, but let them make their own choices. You are valiant, and kind, to want to help. Continue to be there, but remember the problem is theirs to solve. They know you’re there. And being there for them is the best you can do.

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