Can We Be Too Empathetic

I empathize.  Actually, I am an empathy-aholic.  There I’ve said it.  It’s not that I do it on a conscious level.  It comes automatically from somewhere deep inside my brain, I suppose.  I think I have some idea of where it comes from and how I got trained into being this way but, it hasn’t stopped me from doing it yet.

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Being empathetic is a good way to understand others and what they may be going through.  When we draw on our own experiences with issues or situations that we’ve been through, the idea is that perhaps, we can more fully understand and help in some way, those who are traveling down paths that we’ve been down.  At the least, we can imagine what they must be feeling and offer them some form of help one way or another.

Sadly, that’s not how it always works out and there’s good reason for it not always being the case or a help for that person.

We are not that person and no two people are exactly alike.

No one is you or will experience things the way that you do.  Some will take things harder than you would while others will experience those same experiences to a lighter degree than we do.  A lot will depend upon the person, themselves as well as what other experiences they’ve had in their lives.  We’re all created differently.  What soothes me may make you simply annoyed.  What calms you may make me question other things happening because I’ve had a different set of experiences than you and therefore, see and feel things differently.  What your friend, loved one, partner or spouse might feel, you’re not necessarily going to feel the same way.  Vice versa, you may have had a set of life encounters and dealings or issues that your friend, loved one, partner, neighbour or whomever may not have had and you may react far more towards certain things than they will as a result of those things.

Possibly the best thing one can remember or keep in mind is that what you felt during something you’ve experienced, may or may not be what the other person has or is feeling.  Empathizing internally or externally with that person or group of people might be fruitless for them and you because they’re not feeling or reacting the way that you imagine they would be for all of the above reasons.

Trying to feel what someone else may be feeling won’t necessarily help them but, it can hurt you when done too often and to excess.

Each of us in this life will have our own sets of baggage to carry around or deal with.  No one alive is baggage free.  If we’re metaphysical or spiritual or religious, we can put it down to the fact that each of us has a certain number of lessons to learn.  In other words, we need to go through what we have to go through for some Cosmic reason that we’re unaware of as a “lesson” of sorts.

If we’re not spiritually inclined or religious, we can say that perhaps, what circumstances we’re in, we’re in because of choices that we or others around us have made or are making.  If that’s the case, it’s often up to us to either find a way to cope with it or to make other choices wherever possible.

Whatever the case is, we’re all going to be dealt some good and some crappy hands in this poker game we call, Life.  Some will get more cruddy hands than others will.  Is the luck of the draw or our own personal choices or, is it the choice of something or someone else or higher than us?  Often we’ll never know which but we can decide how we deal with it one way or another.

While we can try to give advice or opinions to others we cannot climb into their skin and brains with them or do it for them.  Not only is that not a healthy way for that person to deal with things but, it’s not healthy for us either.

Simply put, we cannot take on everyone else’s burdens, problems or issues too lest we become over-burdened.  Emotional and mental health is fragile when we take on too much of anything.  Certainly, trying to feel what someone else or even everyone else around us is feeling and trying to take some of the weight off of their shoulders, is unhealthy and unhelpful more often than not.  Do that enough times, with enough people and we’ve got a recipe for disaster for ourselves.

Those we empathize with, often move on and out of situations while we’re left feeling dragged out, worn out and depressed.  

Many times now, I’ve worked hard at trying to help someone out of a jam or situation by empathizing with them so that I can draw on my own feelings and experiences to do so.  Unfortunately, I’ve done it with everyone around me at the same time while trying to deal with my own too.  I can say first-hand that it’s not a good nor, healthy thing to do as I’ve been left feeling overwhelmed, burdened, even ill and it’s not solved the other person’s issues.

Worse than that, I’ve found that once I’m a mess, those people I empathized with so heavily, have found a way to deal with their situations and moved on in their lives while I’m laying in a ball, trying to pick up my own pieces.

Human Nature wants equilibrium and will seek it out.

Most people will have to endure some not so lovely experiences.  We all have to face deaths of loved ones if we live long enough to see it or, we’ll all have money issues at some point or another unless we’re born with a proverbial silver spoon in our mouths and a never-ending stream of funds coming our way.  We’ll all feel the sting of rejection from one source or another, one type or another. We’ll all get sick even with only a cold.  We’re all going to die.  That’s the bottom line to Life here.  We’re all going go through negative spots or many.  The reality is, we will all seek out a more comfortable way of feeling and being.  Unless we have a true mental illness that keeps us in one state of mind, we’re going to automatically seek out feeling better and do whatever it takes to feel that way.  It’s part of Human Nature.  No one wants to feel down or depressed forever and we’ll do whatever it takes to feel better for the most part.  Empathizing with someone only takes the energy out of you in this case because:

  1. You can help but you cannot change someone else’s situation, pain, hurt or whatever they are going through.  That is their path to go down.  You can’t change it by trying to feel what they are feeling.
  2. By the time you’ve worn yourself out empathizing, they’ve likely found other ways to deal with their situations or emotions.  If they haven’t already done that, they eventually will.
  3. Because of the first point and the second, you’re doing no one any good except to weaken yourself to your own challenges in Life.

 

Not many will empathize with you in the same way nor to the same extent so, why not reserve some energy for your own struggles? 

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Have you ever noticed that you’re always there for others during their times of crises but, when you need someone or some help, everyone you’ve turned somersaults for during their bad times, is suddenly “too busy” to be there when you need someone?  I’m sure many of us can relate to this one unless we’ve led a rather selfish existence in not helping other soul.  Not many people can or will say that.

Not that we expect something in return when we try to help other people but, we would hope that the kindnesses that we’ve shown others will be returned to some extent or another should we ever need something.  However, that’s often not the case.  The question always begs, why doesn’t that happen?

“I’ve given and given to this person and that person and the other one down the street but, when I needed one simple favour, there was no one around,” you may be saying right now.  “As a matter of fact, the only time I’ve had someone help me, it’s been only half of the effort that I’ve put into them or less.  I don’t get it!”

You’re not alone in wondering why that is but, there’s often a simple answer.

You’ve been far too kind or generous with your time and emotions and, you’ve thought of others in ways that they don’t think about you or anyone else for that matter most of the time.  

If the truth is told, not many people can or will even attempt to empathize with you the way that you have done with or for them.  That doesn’t necessarily make them selfish but, it does stand as a lesson that putting too much effort into someone else, is not only not necessary but, it doesn’t get you anywhere except a lot of being overwhelmed then, frustrated and disappointed.  It’s time for you to turn down the volume a bit on your pouring out of empathy towards others.  That’s not to say that you don’t care about others but, it’s saying that you have to put yourself up there in the ranking of first place because while others may help you, they’re not going to take your problems over.  You need your emotional strength for your own issues.

Some points to remember:

  • It’s ok to understand what others might be going through on a “cerebral level” but, it’s not healthy for either of you to reach down inside yourself and try to feel what the other person is feeling.
  • If someone is in a hole, jumping into it with them (via empathy) is only trapping both of you.  You’re far more helpful to that person to stay safely on the side, being their for them to throw them down a rope so that they can climb out versus you being in there with them.
  • Expecting others to empathize with you in the same way or to the same extent as you’ve done for them, is not only unhealthy but unreasonable to expect because no one is you or can feel like you do and, not many people will be able to or even want to try.  Most people are in this world to look after themselves first and foremost.  Help but, don’t jump into that pit with them because they likely won’t do the same for you when or if you needed that kind of help.
  • There’s a difference between sympathy and empathy.  Sympathy is the ability to feel sorrow for what one is going through without the extra step of actually trying to put yourself in their shoes and feeling what they may be feeling.  Too much sympathy can be unhealthy too but, it’s easier to recuperate from and less intrusive to your life than full empathy.
  • You don’t need to feel what other people are feeling nor, can you really feel what they may be feeling.  As explained above, no two people are alike and even though they may be going through what you’ve been through, their other experiences in life as well as their personalities are going to shape how they react to a situation.  It’s rather fruitless, unhelpful and unhealthy for you to try to put yourself in their emotional shoes because they likely not only won’t fit but, it doesn’t help them or you.  Throw them a rope and let them climb out of the hole they’re in.
  • Look after your own needs first and think about yourself because not many people in your life will be there for you 24/7, trying to feel what you’re going through.  Those who have been there in their own experiences don’t want to re-visit it and those who haven’t, can’t feel what you’re feeling to help.  More to the point, not many will even try.

From my little corner of life, I see helping others as something that should be done when your own needs have been met and you’re able to emotionally be strong.  It does not mean hurling yourself into an emotional tailspin.  No one need do that to help others.  Heaven knows that were doctors, nurses, police officers, first responders, fire fighters etc., were to do that, they’d be crippled and couldn’t do their jobs after one or two incidents.

Do yourself and other people a favour.  Stay healthy by helping others in a healthy way.  Empathy has its place but, it’s limited.

Be well.  Love and Light.

 

 

Why You Can’t Ignore Other People’s Thinking Or Feelings Without Consequence

I recently read what one could call an “inspirational” book that had an entire chapter dedicated towards the idea of speaking one’s mind in a non-confrontational way but, getting what one wants.  Within a few hours of finishing that chapter in the book, I was told about a video that contained a similar type of message but, expanded to include the idea that one should only hang around those who have the same ideals and lifestyle that you have.

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We’ve had a few large snow falls lately and my neighbour across the street whom I will call “Jane” had called me, upset and grumpy because her next-door neighbour has been outside with a loud snow blower at 6:30 a.m., clearing his snow from his property almost every morning.  The noise awoke Jane of course and her late shift working husband.  This happened three days in a row and, she was about to lose her cool with this man’s early morning work habits.

The snow blowing wasn’t the only thing this man had been doing early mornings though to get her to this point of frustration.  Summer or warmer days included 6 and 7 a.m. lawn mowing, electric hedge trimming and, a radio, hung in his garage full volume which acted like a megaphone blaring out onto the entire street from 6 or 7 a.m. until roughly noon when his work day was over and everyone was up.  He’d then, take a nap.

I thought about this scenario carefully and thoroughly.

Jane has a back issue and pain in spite of chiropractic care, heavy medications and physiotherapy, often keeps her awake most of the night.  It is often 4 or 5 a.m. before she can simply fall into a bit of a peaceful sleep.  Her husband tries to sleep during the mornings and into early afternoons.  Jane was not only in pain and getting depressed through lack of sleep but, her husband wasn’t getting his much needed sleep either.  Both of them were upset, angry and frustrated with the situation as well as one another. Even I have to admit that this man’s early electronic work habits were also being heard across the street and upsetting myself as well as other neighbours who also aren’t early risers either.  One neighbour has a baby who wasn’t sleeping through the night and needed her sleep when baby slept.  In short, it has been annoying everyone around the neighbourhood.

The video maker that I watched, had endorsed the idea of speaking one’s mind.  He  advocated that people not care what others thought yet, was “hurt” by someone else who felt that what the video maker was doing, was unfair to him as it disrupted his sleep far too early in the morning.  A commenter on this video, had brought up a few good points.  He/she had asked why the video maker was hurt by the fact that someone else had done exactly what the video maker was advocating people do by speaking their mind.  It hit me that the video maker was being unfair in expecting that there should be allowances for the endeavours they were setting out to do.

In my neighbour’s case, the man who was out there making loud noises at 6 and 7 a.m., that was a normal time for him to be out there, working.  He goes to bed at 9:30 or 10 p.m. and he rises at 5 a.m..  For him, 6 or 7 a.m. wasn’t early and he’s retired so, his time is his time.  He can do what he wants, when he wants for the most part.  Like the video maker had pointed out to him by his neighbour, the neighbour in my area didn’t take into consideration that he was not only breaking noise by-laws but, he didn’t take into consideration what everyone else living around him might think or feel.  He was doing as he pleased, as was the video maker in this case.  Truth was, by someone ignoring other people’s possible situations and doing what they wanted, when they wanted, these people were opening themselves up to other individual’s potential anger and the likely hurtful words and actions or reactions that will most likely ensue.

While in theory, it’s all well and good to say “do your own thing, how you want, when you want and not worry about other people or what they have to say,” unless you are living in a cave in the desert with no one else around you, you have to take other people and their circumstances into consideration as well, not just your own.  Not only had the video maker not taken this into consideration but, the neighbour in my case wasn’t doing that either.  As a matter of fact, the video maker had advocated standing his ground and continuing to do what he was doing at 7 and 8 a.m. no matter what effect it was having on his neighbour. Yet, he was talking about feeling hurt by his neighbour’s words while telling viewers to rise above someone else’s circumstances by changing how to think about it all and continuing to do it as wanted.  Wrong idea because I know what happened when the person on my street continued to ignore other people’s feelings, doing what he wanted, when he wanted.  It wasn’t pretty, kind or nice.

First of all, no…you don’t need to bow down to everyone and take their flack or put up with everything that they do and, yes…it is more desirable to just stay out of their way and be with people who don’t annoy you but, that’s not always possible to do.  We have to live next to these people and we have to sometimes, work with these people.  Most of us aren’t retired or living isolated from others.  Nor, is that desirable to do.  We need other people and we do live (most of us) in communities where we will have others to consider in a reasonable manner as to what we do, how we do it and when.  As a matter of fact, the video maker, contradicted themselves in several parts by saying the exact opposites of what was being preached in that video then, telling viewers how to mentally get out of that situation.  How about just stop doing it your way and compromising?  Did that not cross the video maker’s mind?  Apparently not.  It seems that the video maker wanted to do things his way and convert other people to his lifestyle or way of doing things.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, (not literally a ranch) it took a group of us to go and speak to this early bird neighbour and let him know that others are not as early a riser as he is and his work habits were ignoring everyone else’s rights to sleep later than him and that we all had reasons why we weren’t up at 5 a.m., ready to hear his snow blower, lawn mower, hedge trimmer or radio blaring by 6 or 7 a.m..  Since he was retired, we asked, could he not do this type of work and leave the radio off until at least 9 or 10 a.m., a more reasonable time for loud equipment, doing something else quiet, instead?  We met with resistance when he declared that it was his wish to get that done when he wanted to do it.  We tried citing the by-laws on the noise factor but that we didn’t wish to call city officials or police but, if he persisted, we’d have no choice but to do so.  What became clear was that he really and truly didn’t care.  He wanted it his way, on his time frame and nothing we said, no explanation was going to change that with him.  This is exactly what the video maker was saying as well about their own choices and yet, couldn’t understand why he had “hurt feelings”.

We still haven’t solved our own issue but, one thing does stand out.  When others don’t care about anyone else but themselves, their own wants and needs and, doesn’t take others into consideration, that’s a recipe for not only disaster but, likely hurt feelings as others shun and get angry.  It’s akin to the 2 year old who is told over and over again to stop jumping on the couch and getting a smack on the bottom or time out because the child persists in doing what he/she wants.  It’s going to happen.  One cannot simply change their thinking to suit what they want to do.  We have to take other’s feelings into consideration to some degree or another in a lot of instances.

One need not become a doormat, always thinking about what others will think or do if we do what we wish to do but, we also can’t simply ignore other’s rights by changing our thinking so that we can continue upsetting others and do what we want.  There’s got to be a balance somewhere and, unless we’re dealing with a difficult person who simply wants to control everything and everyone, we owe it to both ourselves and others to think twice about what we’re doing and how we can change that somehow to compromise to a suitable degree.  One cannot be selfish and expect not to have hurt feelings nor, can one always move away from those who bug us or don’t live as we do as the video maker would have us believe.  That’s narcissism from my perspective in my little corner of life.

Love, Light and Blessings.

 

 

Helping Can Become An Addiction Or An Escape

Helping others is a noble cause and more often than not, people need and want help to some extent or another but, when it becomes a habit within oneself it’s no longer about helping but, rather an outward expression of how one is feeling about themselves internally.

There’s a pay-off for chronic helpers in many ways but, there are two main reasons why people can get caught up in a vicious help cycle and it can become an addiction.  For some people, helping is like needing a “fix”.

Help Addictions can become an escape method.

Help Addictions can become an escape method.

 First, chronic helping can help us divert our attention away from dealing with something within either ourselves or our lives.  In other words, instead of working on what ails us and our own lives, we have the excuse, “I never get around to taking care of that because I am so busy helping (fill in the blanks here).  It can become an escape or an excuse or both and, that stops us from having to deal with our own issues.

Secondly, it can become a method by which we try to feel loved, wanted and, or needed by others.  If we are helping others, they will like us, thank us and want us around them type thinking.

In either case above, the chronic helper is not quite as healthy or altruistic as one might believe.  Even on a subconscious level, possibly totally unbeknownst to us, there’s something in it for those of us who do it.

It took a long time for me to get the idea that helping others is no guarantee of being loved, liked or wanted nor, is it truly an escape from having to fix what is going wrong within ourselves or our own lives.

I endured a lot of hurt, rejection and internal feelings of inadequacy, driving me even more towards more helping…until I realized that the source of my pain was actually coming from my chronic feeling the need to help.  I wasn’t feeling good anymore about it but rather, it was bringing me more pain.

Why?  That was the question I had to ask myself and I went in search of answers with a shocking set of revelations.

Helping Too Much Can Cause Rejection From Others 

Contrary to popular belief, what is called “Karma” doesn’t exactly work the way that one would think or hope that it should.  Doing good doesn’t alway bring good into your life.

Helping others can actually drive people away from you.  Here are several different reasons how and why.

  • People like what you DO for them, not necessarily, you.
  • The people that you help on a regular basis will eventually get used to you doing for them and therefore, come to see your help as your “job”. At that point, your help is no longer truly appreciated but, they become complacent and expect that type of behaviour from you.
  • Those you have helped often enough, will eventually show a vulnerability within  themselves to you and the last person that they want around them are those who know their weaknesses. They will seek out others who aren’t aware of them being weak in any way especially, during the good times in their lives.
  • Chronic helping can lead others to see you as a doormat.  When you are readily and frequently ready to help them, people can come to feel that you have no life of your own so, they no longer respect your time, energy or effort.  In effect, it’s like they’re doing you a favour by giving you something to do with your days, time and energy.
  • Being available and giving to them on a regular basis, without return expectation or as a constant set of favours, gives the impression that you have no boundaries.  If you have none, why should they respect you.  People like and respect people who like and respect themselves.
  • Your help can be resented because the person tends to feel constantly indebted even if only on a subconscious level and without you having indicated that you expected anything in return.  No one likes feeling continually indebted to someone else.

Ways To Deal With The Need To Chronic Help

  • Ask yourself what you are getting out of helping others.  You’re getting something out of doing this. Is it that “feel good feeling”?  If so, you might need to break that feeling down a bit further.
  • Helping others makes us all feel good but, doing it on a regular or chronic basis, may be becoming a a “drug” of sorts to numb or squash what ails you and your life.
  • Ask yourself what it is that is going on within yourself or your life that gives you the longing for this “drug”.  Is it approval, love, companionship, being needed, wanted, or even wanting people to feel indebted to you to in order to keep their loyalty.
  • Are you avoiding fixing issues within your own life and using helping others as an excuse as to why you can’t get to repairing what is wrong?
  • Could you be feeling guilty that someone else is in trouble of some kind and you’re soothing your own feelings of guilt for being ok in your own life in some way?
  • Are you too empathetic and over-identifying with other people?
  • Once you’ve weeded through the possible causes that keep you hooked on being a Chronic Helper, you can take action towards halting your need for over-helping.

Breaking The Cycle And Why You Should

The “warm and fuzzys” that we all feel when we get “thank you’s” from others is a great feeling.  We all love to feel good about ourselves, appreciated, needed and wanted.  It’s part of human nature and helping others is a good thing but, only when done in moderation and for the right reasons.  When we do it to garner love, attention, affection, being needed, wanted, liked or to avoid facing our own demons/quelling them, we are putting ourselves into a position to be used, abused, hurt and rejected.  Here are some points to help.

  1. Once you have identified the reason that you feel the need to chronically help.  STOP and listen to yourself and your inner voice.
  2. People like and respect people who like and respect themselves. We teach others how to treat us.  If you’re not respecting yourself, your time or your energy, they won’t either.  Put up boundaries and conditions for yourself and others.  Stop yourself before you try to help and place a value upon your help for them and yourself.
  3. Limit the amount of time that you’re going to help and what you will do to help.  Remember, their lives are NOT your responsibility (unless you’re a caregiver for a child, infirm or elderly person/pet.  Even then, give yourself time for yourself and respect your own needs too).
  4. If you’re doing it because you want to be liked, loved, appreciated, wanted, needed, are lonely or anything along those lines, this isn’t the way to get any of that for more than a couple of times.  Remember, people start loving what you can do for them, not you, after awhile. You’re working against getting those needs met by attempting to achieve it via chronic helping.
  5. Ask for something in return for your help if it’s more than once or twice. People respect help more when it’s being paid for in some way or another and they’ll respect you for it too.
  6. If you love that warm and fuzzy feeling helping gives you, volunteer!  There are charities all over the world and all sorts of opportunities to help others in organized, time-limited ways where you can get that feeling but be cut off in appropriate and healthy amounts.  Don’t volunteer more than what is being asked for either.
  7. Remember that sometimes, chronic helpers actually push their help on others..even when it’s not wanted.  When someone says, “it’s ok”…trust them.  It’s ok.  They don’t want or need your help.  Save yourself some heartache and possibly nasty feelings from others.  Back off and let them do it themselves.
  8. WAIT to be asked for help then, ask yourself what it will cost you to help them.  If it’s only once in a long while that you’re being asked and it’s not taking away from you, do it but, don’t anticipate everyone’s possible needs and offer it up on a silver platter.
  9. Remember that some people like being in certain predicaments and don’t want to get out of them.  When you recognize that in someone, back off. Let them be where they are.  They are getting something out of being there. Let them have it and figure it out for themselves.
  10. You’re not the only fish in the sea who can help.  Realize that and recognize that everyone has lessons to learn in one way or another.  Some people need to learn how to help themselves and others need to learn how to help others.  Let people learn what they need to learn.  You’re not a deity nor, omnipotent. Everyone needs to learn something, somehow.  Even children need to fall, get burned, hurt, lost etc., to learn what NOT to do and what to do.  Don’t take away their learning curves from them.

The Meddler, The Dupe And The Martyr

Lastly, think to yourself as having been labelled for helping others too much.  A lot of people will look at those who are chronic helpers as either “The Meddler”, “The Dupe” or “The Martyr”.

When people help too much, they often know a lot about the person’s personal life and, when not wanted, it turns you into a meddling position in their minds.  They can see you as someone who wants into their minds and lives especially, if you’re pushing your help onto them.

The Dupe is the one that people often think of as “good ole so-and-so” and often follow that with an “I’ll get her/him to do it!”  That’s when you’ve become nothing more than a doormat for them.  You don’t mean anything to them other than as a vehicle to get their needs met.  They’ll be off with other friends or family for lunch, dinner and shows who have done little, if anything for them while you’re left scratching your head, wondering why.  You’ve been “duped”.

The Martyr is the person who does so much for everyone else that others are reminded (whether you do it or not) that they’ve done a lot for that person or many.  Guilt sets in that they’ve allowed you to do it all for them and suddenly, they’re feeling inferior or as though you’re superior to them.  No one likes to be around people who make them feel that way whether intentionally or through their own inner thoughts and feelings.  You’re out of any of the good times or any lasting, healthy, fun and good relationship with them if you continue on with it.

Learn to love yourself.  Help yourself first.  Put your own oxygen mask on first.  To thine own self be true.  Charity begins at home.  Old but, wise pieces of advice to take. Take care of you first and others will follow suit with you.

I’m not a trained professional of any kind so, this is just how I’m seeing things from my little corner of life through experience and learning.

Knowing When To Hold Or Fold Them When It Comes To Friend’s Problems

There are times when we all will have to choose between keeping a friendship and letting it go.  It shouldn’t be this way and normally, it isn’t but there are times when a friend gives you no choice but to accept that there is no choice and either way, can lead to an issue. The only question that remains is which one will leave your self-respect intact?

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I am far more emotionally sensitive and have tried to be more helpful than I should be or is healthy for me to be. I’ve had more than enough experience in “people pleasing” and I’ve often been left hurt because of it.  It’s left me thinking about the lines between being helpful to someone else and being destructive to self.  Where is that line?

I’m no saint and I don’t pretend to be one. My halo is not a glowing gold and I certainly don’t have the wings of an angel but, I have prided myself on my ability to recognize a friend in need, doing everything that I can to help them out of any and all pain, if humanly possible.  I cannot stand to see people in pain.  I therefore, empathize myself into and out of a lot of energy loss and heartbreak because of it.

I recently had an issue with a long time, net friend.  She’s been in and out of personal troubles, more often than not, as a result of her own poor choices.  In spite of that, I have always tried to step in and help when she wants me to do so.  I have rarely ever refused her any help that I could possibly give her, even if it could only be a shoulder and an ear for hours on end, day after day.

However, this time came to a point where I could clearly see that her current trouble was multi-faceted and clearly due to her own mistakes as well as control issues that she has had in her own life.  It was at that point that I recognized that no good could come from me wading into this mess to bail her out as I would usually have done with her.  The price tag would have been far too great a drain on my own self-respect, energy and time.  Not only that but, my efforts wouldn’t have worked in this scenario because the issues involved were created by her own poor choices, needs and internal predicaments that she’s kept herself under.

As hard as it is to do, we sometimes need to let others fall and not feel the need to dust off their behinds for them.  Sometimes, people need that bruising with which to learn what is needed to be learned. By constantly stepping into it all, it would be akin to depriving them of perhaps, a learning experience.  This is where I decided to step aside this time.

Was I right?  I’m not sure yet.  I do know that by not leaping in to the murky waters this time to save her, I angered her.  Yet this time, I also recognized that had I continued on with trying to help her, I also would have stepped into a role that was not mine to step into nor, one that was helpful to her or me.

While I have incurred the wrath of her upset at my lack of being The Calvary this time, I somehow, deep down inside, knew that standing back was the right thing for me to do, for her sake and mine, whether she sees it that way or not and in a way, it felt relieving to have done so this time.  Her current predicament is one that she has created, expecting others to help her.  This is the one time that I stood back and saw that either way, helping or not helping, it wasn’t healthy for either one of us and would have led to the end of our friendship anyway. Either way, I was going to lose something.

I have no clue where this is all going to end up but, I do know that for at least this time, I grew a thicker skin and didn’t let my usual patterns rule my actions. I refused to allow a friend’s poor choices affect my life this time and that felt good.

As they say, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.  It’s hard to please others but, really easy to tick them off. I may have lost a friend today but, I have gained something in return…the ability to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.

At least, that’s the way that I’m seeing things from My Little Corner of Life at this moment.