Many of my decisions in life stem from the impulse to help people, or to fix their problems for them. Helping people is great, directing them is great. Fixing their problems for them? Not so great. That’s called enabling.
There’s this weird dissonance to wanting to help people and knowing that enabling – in most cases – isn’t good. It’s hard to watch people make mistakes you’re not sure they can fix, or to watch them try and solve an issue you’re selfishly sure you have the solution to. Of course, offer your advice when asked for it. Be there with an open ear to listen when people need that. But know that you can’t fix everyone’s problems.
A ton of people in my life have this impulse to SAVE. We feel like it’s our responsibility. Because we’re empathetic and it hurts us to see people we love do things that we don’t believe is in their best interest. And maybe this is a side-effect of being people pleasers. We want people to like us and depend on us because it feels good (co-dependency is real and I’ll be upfront about that).
Sometimes, people need to learn to take care of their own issues. Resist the kneejerk impulse to SAVE. You aren’t special, you don’t have superpowers, and you can’t save anyone. You can be supportive and open and receptive. But you can’t save anyone.
It’s also important to recognize when people are using you as a crutch. Or as a pity-center. They know that you feel deeply and strongly and will take advantage of that. A lot of the time, this is hard for us to recognize, mostly because we can’t imagine that a person would use us for that. Because we never would, right?
Stop serial-helping (aka serial-enabling). Help where you can, but try to evaluate if it actually helps the person you think it does. Will it make them a more able human being? Or will it make them a more reliant human being? Namely, more reliant on you.
This post is more for me than for you guys. But if it can, dare I say it, help somebody else, then that works too.
Quit trying to save people! You are only one person.