When you just can’t help someone you love

Love them anyway.

Red rocks

Recently I saw some friends, I had not seen for a while and 2 of them were amazed at how much my body had transformed over the course of the year. ‘What diet did you do?’ I didn’t diet, I exercised I replied. ‘Oh too bad, I can’t exercise’. They might have just as easily answered that they’d rather take a magical pil.

My other friend was amazed too but isn’t trying to lose weight. But life has been hard for her lately. Won’t go into detail… Anyway, I’ve tried to help in the past and all the info I got of her life was how she had just spent another day recovering from a party she had organised. Or that she was heading to another party. Or both.

She came to me to get shaken up a couple times. Apparently she likes the way I shake her up! It motivates her. Realistically it doesn’t because she never did anything, after such pep talks. She just had another party.

It stroke me: My friends do not want to ‘work’ to get to where they want to be. Take a magic pil, yes. To commit to do something that will require consistency, no! They hate their life sucking jobs, at least 2 of them hate their bodies, they only pretty much survive one day after another.

I may seem mean or condescending, by writing these things, but if you’re being honest, you probably know a person who is like that, maybe more. And the thing is that I really wanted to help them at one point. I really, really wanted to.

Instead the reality hit me. They want to complain about everything that is wrong but not do anything to make things better.

I suppose we are actually all like this, at one point or another. There are things in life we need to learn on our own. Things that do not have the same power when we are told and when we experience them first hand.

We all have our own path, our own struggles, and what worked for one person, might not work for the next one.

Red rocks

So what do you do when someone doesn’t want your help?

Here are a couple recommendations.

Stop trying to help

Realistically, this is the most sensible thing to do. To protect yourself & to not alienate them.

Pushing people in a direction they don’t want to go, leads to more resistance and annoyance.

Tell them you’ll be there for them if they change their minds

The other sensible thing to do is to tell them that you’ll be there for them if needed. You can gently say that it doesn’t seem to be in their priorities to do this or that now, but that you could help when they reach this point.

Be understanding

We really all have our own paths, our own struggles. You may know them well but you probably don’t know everything. Be understanding, acknowledge their struggles and resist the urge to fix them. That’s probably not what they want from you anyway.

Understand as well that they probably don’t even know themselves what is holding them back. And their circumstances may be different than the ones you had to overcome.

Accept that they are not your next project

You love them, you want to help them but they are not there for you to fix them! Accept this, resist the urges and move on.

Protect yourself

All of the above comes down to protecting yourself. It’s frustrating to try to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. It’s annoying to have to listen to the same excuses over and over… Just don’t go there and you’ll spare yourself some unnecessary struggles.

And work on yourself!

One of the reasons you want to help someone you love is very selfish. You want to help them, to feel good about yourself. Maybe you want to feel important to them, maybe you want them to stop complaining because it’s tiring and boring! Maybe it’s something else, but there is probably something behind your good Samaritan complex, something that benefits you.

You think I’m being harsh?! Maybe, but do remember the saying: “Even at our best, we are only out for ourselves“.

I’m there with you.

I help my dad and want him to stay healthy because I don’t want to be an adult orphan. Selfish!

Why did I want to help my friends? Not entirely sure but part of me was happy we would have something to share on the regular. We live far apart but that would have gotten us closer. Selfish as well!

So work on yourself, find what triggers you and handle your own issues! Meanwhile I’ll work on mine 😉

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