Imagine for a moment that there is someone struggling to swim. They have fallen into the sea and they are just about managing to stay above water. This person is panicking, this person needs help. Imagine that you are on the waters edge watching all of this. You have a life ring, a life jacket, a rescue boat, and even a warm towel to wrap this person in. You are fully equipped to help this person out of the water to dry, safe land.
Like any good citizen, you get into your life boat, you throw this drowning person a life ring and you lean over, offering your hand to help lift this person out of the water. You are ready for your rescue mission!
But to your surprise, this person does not receive your help. They continues to struggle, half drowning, gasping for breath and occasionally yelling for help. So you start to coach this person from your lifeboat. “Grab hold of the life ring, take my hand!”. This person continues to struggle and does not reach for help. You think to yourself that this person must be hard of hearing or even short sighted, so you flap your arms about to make sure they can see you and you start to yell. This time they look at you, they see you but instead of reaching for your help, they move away from you. They continue struggling but with their back to you this time.
What on earth is happening here? This can’t continue like this. This is an emergency! So you jump into the water to complete your rescue mission. The person drowning suddenly grabs hold of you. This person is now pushing you down beneath the surface. They are panicking. Now you are struggling, you are panicking, you are drowning, and no one is being rescued.
One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my personal life is that I can’t help everyone. When I see someone close to me struggling or suffering unnecessarily my whole being wants to find ways to help them. I have a lot of tools that can help people dramatically change their life. These are the tools that I have gathered over my life which have helped me and many of my clients over the years. I am sitting on a gold mine of information that can take people from survive to thrive.
But here is the really important thing, just because someone is struggling, suffering or complaining does not mean that they are ready to change their situation. I know! It’s crazy! Why people do not want to receive help can be a great mystery, but the main thing is that THEY ARE NOT READY TO DO WHAT IT TAKES TO CHANGE THEIR SITUATION.
Watching someone struggle in a way that I know is changeable is a very painful and uncomfortable thing for me. I know it’s hard for you too. But if you go in trying to help someone that does not really want to be helped, guess who suffers. YOU! When you try to help someone who does not want to be helped, these are some of the symptoms you can experience:
Worry, anxiety, sleepless nights, obsessive thinking, anger, frustration, resentment, emotional burnout or exhaustion.
Is suffering along with the person you care about a kindness to you? Does this actually help anyone or anything? Sorry my friend, it does not.
So, would you be willing to step back and ask a few questions before diving into rescue mode?
-Has this person asked for my help?
-Is this person able to receive my help?
-Is this person ready to do what it takes to change their situation?
These questions will help you gain some more perspective. A great question you can ask the person you want to help is: “How best can I support you with this?” They may not know, but asking this question is more empowering to them and also takes your ego out of it. After all – you may not even know what is best for them.
What I have learned in my professional and personal life is that I can’t heal everyone. If someone does not want to change, there is a limit to what I can do to help them. What I can do is facilitate the change that the person is asking for and ready to make.
So what changes are you ready to make? What are you looking for help with? What choices can you make to take your life to the next level?
If you are looking for any support, please contact me.
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